No. 2 seed San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 5 seed Memphis Grizzlies
As much as I like to (badly) make predictions, sometimes I come to a game or series where I just have nowhere to begin in picking a winner. This is the case in the Spurs-Grizzlies series. I have a sort of special affinity towards the Grizzlies, as it seems most of America does. The pro-Grizzlies sentiment is a result of a great number of factors; they were so atrocious not that long ago, they hail from a small market, they have a lovable and well spoken head coach, and their roster features its fair share of characters from defensive wizard Tony Allen (who maintains the greatest Twitter account ever) to the charming teddy bear of a man that is Zach Randolph. They even seem to have a touch of destiny about them. Two rounds down, they’ve played two teams who have seen their stars get injured. Heck, they traded their star player, Rudy Gay, mid-season and haven’t missed a beat. The elderly Spurs certainly are as at risk to lose a player to injury as any team in the league too. But let’s not think that way. The Patriots of the NBA, the Spurs, have been absolutely tremendous in the playoffs thus far. They clobbered the Lakers four straight times in the first round and then went on to weather the storm of Steph Curry and the Warriors’ hot shooting to beat GS–one of the most captivating pro sports teams since….ummm….ever–in six games. Now comes the real test for San Antonio. The Spurs are offensively excellent and defend like a typical Spurs team. At age 37, Tim Duncan continues to be a force and will need to be good against Memphis’ front line of Randolph and Marc Gasol. Tony Parker has also been playing at an MVP level and Kawhi Leonard has been a force so far in the postseason. I have criticized the Grizzlies’ Rudy Gay trade on the assumption that Memphis, whose offense was suspect this season, would miss his offense going forward in the playoffs. (I should note that I do think the Grizzlies are a much tougher team defensively sans Rudy.) Now, can the Grizzlies muster enough offense on one of the Association’s most smothering defenses to keep up with San Antonio’s offensive output? The Grizzlies are absolutely on fire, and I am really not so much predicting a winner as picking a team out of a hat, but I have a sense that the NBA Finals will be played between the Spurs and Miami for some reason. We all sometimes just make a picks based on feelings, ya know? Whatever happens, I think this will be a really entertaining series.
Pick: Spurs in 7