Tag:Richard Jefferson
Posted on: January 18, 2012 10:58 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2012 11:01 pm
 

Glen Davis gets technical for taking off shorts

Posted by Ben Golliver

Big Baby took off his pants during an NBA game. Yes, you read that correctly.

Orlando Magic reserve forward Glen Davis was issued a technical foul for stripping off his shorts while protesting a foul call during a Wednesday night game against the San Antonio Spurs

"Glen Davis just got a tech for pulling his shorts down," CBSSports.com's Ken Berger tweeted from the arena. "I'm sorry to have to report this."

With the score tied at 50 with 2:40 to play in the third quarter, Davis was called for a foul while contesting an alley-oop dunk attempt by Spurs forward Richard Jefferson. Davis moved to the corner near the Magic bench to protest the call, tugging on the bottom of his shorts as he bent over at the waist to argue the call. Video replay caught brief glimpses of Davis' shorts falling to the court, revealing black under shorts.

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy also protested the call to no avail. He did not remove any of his clothing.

The Magic went on to lose to the Spurs in overtime, 85-83. Davis finished with 4 points and 7 rebounds on 2-for-8 shooting in 17 minutes.

Here's the video of Glen Davis taking off his shorts during a game via YouTube user EliminatorUnderstand. Hat tip: RantSports.com.



Posted on: December 7, 2011 1:55 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 1:59 pm
 

Spurs to waive Jefferson with amnesty clause

Posted by Ben Golliverrichard-jefferson

We have our first victim of the dreaded amnesty clause.

Yahoo Sports reports that the San Antonio Spurs will waive forward Richard Jefferson with their amnesty, a provision in the new collective bargaining agreement that allows a team to wipe one current contract from its salary cap number (and luxury tax payments, if applicable). The Spurs recently restructured Jefferson's contract, which is worth $30 million over three years (including a player option for 2013-2014), and are now able to wipe his $9.2 million salary from their books.

Jefferson, 31, never delivered up to expectations in San Antonio. Twice a 22 points per game scorer for the New Jersey Nets, his looks and production predictably took a big hit when he transitioned into an auxiliary role for the Spurs and it never seemed like a very good fit. He was able to improve where the Spurs needed him most -- upping his 3-point shooting from 31.6 percent in 2009-2010 to 44.0 percent in 2010-2011 -- but the Spurs traded guard George Hill for the rights to rookie Kawhi Leonard, a multi-talented forward, and are in the hunt for free agent forward Caron Butler according to ESPN.com.  

The move allows the Spurs some cushion between their salary cap position and the luxury tax line, affording them the ability to spend a full Mid-Level Exception on someone like Butler without needing to shed any other contracts to avoid the tax.

Jefferson will certainly have suitors in the bid process set up for amnesty casualties, althoug he must now prepare to play for a significantly worse team, as only teams under the cap can bid for his services. There will be bids. Jefferson is on the decline but not yet washed up, and he's a proven commodity who can likely be had for less than half of his previous salary. 

Why use the clause now? The Spurs simply don't have any other bad contracts on their books. It was always going to be Jefferson if they used it. Using the clause now instead of after the 2011-2012 season provides the maximum benefit in terms of flexibility and potential recouped savings as Spurs owner Peter Holt will recover the bidded portion of Jefferson's contract. San Antonio won 61 games last season and is likely facing one final run for franchise big man Tim Duncan, who is in the final year of his contract. Jefferson was paid as San Antonio's fourth best player; the team has now made it clear that they would prefer to free up their books and spend a portion of his money more wisely elsewhere.
Posted on: December 3, 2011 12:10 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 10:05 pm
 

Free Agency Buzz 12.3.11: Howard eyes L.A.?

 

Posted by Ben Golliver

On a shortened schedule with the conclusion of the NBA lockout, free agency is going to be fast and furious. To keep track of all the wheelings, dealings, rumors, and reports, check Eye on Basketball daily for the Free Agency Buzz. 

Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011

9:51 p.m.
  • DraftExpress.com reports that 19-year-old Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, will not be released by Lithuanian club Lietuvos Rytas so that he can join the Toronto Raptors during the 2011-2012 NBA season. The Raptors selected Valanciunas knowing that they might need to wait a year for contract purposes but a report surfaced earlier Saturday that said Toronto would investigate his potential availability now that the lockout has ended.
6:39 p.m. 
  • The Oregonian reports that Portland Trail Blazers restricted free agent center Greg Oden will undergo a medical evaluation on Thursday that could lead to him being cleared for contact. Oden is expected to return to the court no earlier than January following a Nov. 2011 microfracture surgery. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft hasn't played in an NBA game since Dec. 2009.
2:27 p.m.
  • ESPN.com reports that the Toronto Raptors might hold off on making a free agency splash until next summer because they don't have a chance of landing Memphis Grizzlies restricted free agent center Marc Gasol and because they would need to amnesty someone to be able to make the big-dollar offer. 
  • The New York Post reports that the New Jersey Nets have a "quiet confidence" in their ability to sign Denver Nuggets free agent center Nene Hilario, with the Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets seen as the top competition for his services.
  • HoopsWorld.com reports that he Indiana Pacers would investigate a sign-and-trade for Memphis Grizzlies free agent center Marc Gasol with center Roy Hibbert to dangle as bait. The site also reports the Pacers have interest in free agent guard Jamal Crawford.
11: 50 a.m.
  • SI.com reports that the trio of top-flight big men that are free agents -- Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler and Denver Nuggets center Nene Hilario -- are all looking for the biggest payday possible: "According to sources, Nene, Chandler and Gasol all set their early asking prices in the neighborhood of maximum-contract territory, starting at $14.8 million for Gasol, $17.7 annually for Nene, and $20.7 million for Chandler. There is plenty of crossover in their respective lists of salary-cap-friendly suitors, with the Nets, Rockets and Warriors appearing to be the hungriest shoppers, and the Pacers and Trail Blazers strolling the big man aisles as well."
  • The Boston Herald quotes Billy Duffy, agent for Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, in response to recent trade rumors involving his All-Star client: "It’s just disturbing. It’s disturbing for everybody. It’s disturbing for me. It’s disturbing for him, because it makes one think, ‘Where do I stand in this relationship?’ Particularly because he’s a darn good player, and this is a very successful franchise, and he’s one of the key players on the franchise. When the uncertainty of your situation becomes a prominent topic — not just within your household, but on a national basis — it is a bit challenging."
  • The Boston Globe reports that David Falk, agent for Celtics forward Jeff Green, "hopes" he can reach a new deal with the Celtics and that his client "feels like he has unfinished business in Boston."
Posted on: June 23, 2011 12:10 am
Edited on: June 23, 2011 11:22 am
 

NBA Trade Rumor: Spurs G Tony Parker to Blazers?

The San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers are reportedly discussing a trade involving All-Star guard Tony Parker. Posted by Ben Golliver. tony-parker

There continues to be billowing smoke around San Antonio Spurs All-Star guard Tony Parker. But is all the talk legit?

On Tuesday, we noted a report that Parker was being shopped to the Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings. Earlier Wednesday, we noted that the Spurs denied Parker was being shopped.

Just hours after that denial, though, HoopsWorld.com reported that the Spurs nearly consummated a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers involving Parker.
The San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers nearly completed a blockbuster trade on Wednesday afternoon, but the deal fell apart in the late stages. San Antonio was prepared to ship Tony Parker and the #29 pick to Portland in exchange for Andre Miller, Nicolas Batum and the #21 pick, but the trade died when the Spurs insisted that Richard Jefferson somehow be included in the deal. Other players would have been included in the trade to make salaries work. Talks have quieted for now, but they could pick back up tomorrow if one of the teams has a change of heart.
CBSSports.com's Ken Berger then reported that the ongoing chatter is simply San Antonio attempting to gauge Parker's value on the open market.
Spurs officials continue to do what they're paid to do -- find out what their players are worth on the trade market. That's all the Tony Parker speculation is, several rival execs believe. "You know and I know they're not trading Tony Parker," one GM said. "You can't get anything close to equal value for him."
With Parker on the books for big money and George Hill waiting in the wings, the Spurs are smart to shop Parker. Usually, though, the rumor mill surrounding the Spurs is almost nonexistent. The franchise is known and praised for its secrecy and this week's worth of chatter is certainly out of the ordinary.

One thing is for sure: attempting to include Jefferson radically alters any Parker deal. He's owed roughly $30 million over the next three seasons. To match salaries, a team taking on Jefferson and Parker must be way under the salary cap or able to send out roughly $20 million in salaries that don't include long-term money. Not many teams fit that bill.
Posted on: April 30, 2011 3:12 am
 

San Antonio Spurs: The end of an empire

The Spurs were ousted in the first round and everyone's begun the funeral song. But why does this feel so different than previous Spurs failures? 
Posted by Matt Moore




Maybe they'll come back. After all, they did win the most games in the West this season. They still feature three Hall of Famer players and a Hall of Fame coach. Maybe it was just lightning striking four times out of six in the same place. Maybe it was just Manu's elbow, or Duncan's knee, or fate or the Basketball Gods, or whatever. 

But it doesn't feel like it. 

There will be many, many eulogies for the Duncan-era Spurs in light of the Grizzlies' stunning first-round series win over San Antonio. Spurs fans will balk and guffaw at these claims, because heroes never die to their fans, or because they've already accepted that the championship-era Spurs are over. They'll point to the fact that the Spurs haven't won a title since 2007 as reasons why all this talk of the end of an empire is silly and overdramatic. But that's because they're in it. They're living it, every day, reliving series against the Lakers and Mavericks and Suns while approaching each season with faith. It's different for those of us outside of the palace walls, because this series respresented something different. It wasn't that the Spurs lost. Most expected that in these playoffs. It was the realization they couldn't win. 

The Spurs have lost in previous years but because the other teams had matchup advantages or a few things fell their way or the Spurs couldn't make the necessary adjustments. The losses didn't serve as judgment on the identity of the Spurs. To put it simply, the Spurs failed to win a championship because of other teams' ability to beat them, not fundamental flaws in the city walls that held the kingdom.  This loss?  To an upstart eighth seed without its highest paid player who tanked to play them, then took them out in the first game on their home floor and closed at every opportunity? Yes, the Grizzlies were better, and yes, they had matchup advantages. But there were moments where you expected the Spurs to do what the Spurs do and for that to be the difference. It wasn't. 

Tony Parker struggled with Mike Conley attaching his dribble. Manu Ginobili suffered when the Grizzlies responded to Ginobili's quickness by backing him down in the post. And Tim Duncan just plain struggled. The greatest power forward of all time found himself overwhelmed by a 26-year-old quick-footed center who is most commonly known as "Pau's little brother." Marc Gasol is a really great player, a future star in this league, maybe one now, after this series. But the Duncan that defined those teams would have tore him to pieces from mid-range with the bank-shot-straight-up. The Manu Ginobili who defined the mid-oo's run for the Spurs would have called timeout to reset the offense with the final possession of Game 3. The Tony Parker who won Finals MVP would not have had his play so thoroughly undercut by an attack on his handle. 

But beyond the Big 3? The Spurs of old would never have relied on the 3-pointer this way, would never have had to cover for a gigantic flaming neon defensive red target like Matt Bonner just to space the floor, would never have had to rely on Gary Neal and George Hill's mid-range jumpers to fall. They would have fallen back on clutch plays and defense, always defense. The Spurs' empire isn't over because their players got old, that's been happening for a long time and in reality, the team is pretty young. The Spurs' empire is crumbling because what made them the team you couldn't count out, now has become the very thing that makes you not that shocked at this shocker. A mediocre defensive club falls to a better one, a team that relies on an aging Tim Duncan is toppled by younger, more spritely bigs, the squad that allows Matt Bonner on the floor defensively is beset by easy scores and foul trouble when Matt Bonner can't contain his man in the post. There's nothing shocking here, not if you've been paying attention.

Afterwards, Gregg Popovich was his usual self. Congratulatory to Memphis, classy in defeat, dismissive of dramatics like the question of the end of the Spurs' run. If they go out, they go out on their own terms. The franchise that defined class, humilty, and above all, excellence, would not go out in a pitiful blow-up of egos or blame. They simply hugged their worthy opponent, packed their things, and headed home. 

Spurs fans may have already come to terms with the end of an era, or rationalized that there will be no end, only a transition. But for the rest of us, the Grizzlies' shock of the world serves as a reminder of the mortality of dynasties. It's not just that the Spurs lost a first-round series to an 8th seed. They lost to a team more willing to grind, more willing to defend, more able to close. What is it about these Spurs that make them seem so far removed from what defined those great, inevitable Spurs teams? Just think back to what we saw from the upstarts, the team that simply wanted it more. That's what means the empire has reached its end. 
Posted on: April 30, 2011 2:22 am
 

Grizzlies defeat Spurs: Grading the series

Memphis Grizzlies do the unbelievable, knock off the 1 Seed Spurs in Game 6. Here are grades for the series. 
Posted by Matt Moore




Memphis Grizzlies:
Zach Randolph: Sometimes your guy is just better than the other guys' guy. Zach Randolph has been the model of consistency his entire career in terms of statistical production. But never has the change he underwent when he became part of Memphis been on showcase like it was in Game 6. 17 fourth-quarter points, and clutch basket after clutch basket. His decision making has been phenomenally better in terms of understanding when to take his man off the dribble or in the post and when to reset or repost. He was simply unstoppable when the Grizzlies needed him most. The toughest shots in the biggest moments. That's what you rely on your guy for. And when Memphis needed a hero, it was Zach Randolph who stepped up. 

Grade: A+

Lionel Hollins: Hollins is the ultimate players' coach. He's a guy who's been there, who's tried to get that contract you need so badly, who's tried to fight through adversity in the face of perception, who's dealt with the media's criticism. When he says he knows what they're going through, they can believe him. But Hollins showed in the first-round a stunning understanding of adjustments, counter-adjustments, and rotations. He managed to play Tony Allen in spots and lineups where he could be effective without trying to do too much. He consistently relied on post-play from his two strongest players. He helped turn Mike Conley into a wash vs. Parker. He did things like say "Okay, Manu Ginobili, you're going to do your crazy Euro-step stuff and blow past Shane Battier? That's fine. We're going to post you and see how you like life in the block." He also constantly attacked Matt Bonner as the defensive weakpoint, exposing the soft underbelly of the team's inside play. Hollins out-coached Gregg Popovich. Who saw that coming? Oh, yeah, and a game after they fell in the most gut-wrenching way possible, his team responded in the biggest game in franchise history with confidence and swagger. 

Grade: A+

Mike Conley: Conley was limited by foul trouble in Game 6 and never got in a rhythm. That does not take away from the unbelievable work he did on Parker throughout this series. Conley, who couldn't hang with Parker's penetration, instead attacked his dribble, forcing turnovers. Conley rarely forced his offense too much and trusted his teammates. He was the perfect cog and showed why Chris Wallace looks like a genius all of a sudden for giving him that extension.

Grade: B

Tony Allen: The "Tony Allen ISO Project" is a house band that starts to play when Allen gets the ball on the perimeter, as Allen believes he can create off the dribble. And it often results in terrible shots and wasted possessions. But without that desperate hero-play, you wouldn't get what makes it all worth it, his stellar defense. Allen is the most active defender in the league, and the pressure he applied on the Spurs' passing lanes was a huge part in creating the turnovers the Grizzlies capitalized on in this series. He fell for Manu's pump-fake time and time again, and still made his presence felt.

Grade: B

Bench: Darrell Arthur, Greivis Vasquez, Shane Battier, O.J. Mayo. Where did these guys come from? The bench stepped up in a big way for Memphis and what was their weakest element has become strong. Arthur in particular made a huge difference in this series. 

Grade: A-

Memphis, TN: Once again showing that if you give small-market fans a chance, they'll respond like nothing in sports. 

Grade: A

San Antonio Spurs

Gregg Popovich: Relying on Matt Bonner. Trusting Richard Jefferson early. Not bringing enough help on Marc Gasol or Zach Randolph. Failing to attack players in foul trouble. Seriously, letting Matt Bonner on the floor actually happened a lot. Gregg Poppovich is one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. But he was out-coached in this series. He was partially unable to adjust because of the roster he and R.C. Buford helped put together, but he also couldn't get back to the kind of defense that won them four championships. He was just another coach with a great offense undone by better defense. 

Grade: D

Manu Ginobili: Ginobili hit some good luck shots. He made some big plays. But he didn't have the extra gear he needed, and when it came down to it, twice in four games he made crucial poor decisions which ended his team's comeback chances. His lack of poise in calling a timeout in Game 3 and a panicked cross-court jump-pass turnover in Game 6 sealed Memphis' fate. Whether his elbow injury was legitimate or not, Ginobili was not the Manu of old. Had he been, the Spurs may not be headed home.

Grade: C+

Matt Bonner:  If you have a player on the floor who the offense specifically attacks on nearly every possession and nearly every possession results in either points or a desperation foul to avoid points? Maybe, just maybe, that guy's offense isn't worth keeping him on the floor. Matt Bonner is used to wide-open catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. Instead the Grizzlies constantly ran him off and disrupted the passing lanes to interupt the pass and catch. Then on defense, the Grizzlies posted Bonner every time. Bonner is too much of a defensive liability to remain on the floor. Darrel Arthur's athletic plays? Bonner'd. Arthur's mid-range jumpers? Bonner'd. Randolph with easy slip-ins? Bonner'd. Marc Gasol drawing foul after foul to put Memphis in the bonus early? Bonner'd. The Spurs Bonner'd themselves. The Spurs used to rely on veteran tough guys like Michael Finley, Bruce Bowen, and Robert Horry. Now they rely on Matt Bonner. 

Grade: D

Gary Neal: Showed a lot of promise and huge onions as a rookie, including a game-saving 3 to force it to a sixth game. Neal showed an impressive poise and clutch shooting the Spurs lacked. 

Grade: B

Antonio McDyess: Injured. Overmatched. Desperate. Antonio McDyess kept fighting. The saddest part of the fall of the Spurs is this classy, reliable veteran won't get the ring he's worked so hard for. He did everything he could against Randolph. There wasn't anything anyone could do. 

Grade: A-

Tim Duncan: Let's just ignore what happened so we don't have to deal with our own mortality, shall we?

Grade: Incomplete
Posted on: April 29, 2011 2:54 am
Edited on: April 29, 2011 3:13 am
 

Playoff Fix: Spurs and Grizzlies, do-or-die

Where the series stands before Spurs and Grizzlies Game 6. 
Posted by Matt Moore




One Big Thing: How do you respond after a game like that? How does Memphis possibly pick themselves up off the floor after being a blown goaltending call, a Manu desperation step-back off a broken play, and a Gary Neal leaning, game-tying three away from winning their first playoff series in franchise history? The Grizzlies have handled every charge the Spurs have thrown at them and responded. Their mental toughness, as an 8th seed, has impressed everyone. But how they respond to the suckerpunch they suffered in Game 5 may determine whether the Grizzlies' season ends in a heroic upset or an unbelievable collapse. 

The X-Factor: Sam Young is turning into a pretty good player. When Young is rebounding, attacking the rim, and playing off the catch-and-shoot, he's a major asset. When he's trying to create off the dribble, turning the ball over, and committing unnecessary fouls, he's a considerable liability. So, the question is, which Sam Young will show up?  Young wasn't expected to be a factor this season, or in this series. But, with his size and speed on the wing, he's become a problem for the Spurs. A strong performance from young could turn a close game into a big Grizzlies' lead, as was the case in Game 4. 

The Adjustment: The Spurs are used to having the big advantage with Manu Ginobili and George Hill's speed on the wing. The Grizzlies have flipped that advantage on its head by posting both players when matched up against Shane Battier. Battier's not known for his post-work, but then he's usually not matched up against players as soft as those two. Battier's ability to punish both of the shifty wings physically has worn on the Spurs. Both players have the speed to get around Battier into the soft underbelly of the Grizzlies' help defense. But Battier's post defense forces the double, creates passing lanes and opens the offense for Memphis. It's a rather genius move from Lionel Hollins who continues to look one step ahead of Gregg Popovich. 

The Sticking Point: There have been 20 quarters played in this series. The Spurs have won more in the box score, the Grizzlies have won more in the quality-of-play department. This has been an exceptionally close series, despite the Grizzlies' control in the wins column. The Grizzlies have never won an elimination game. The Spurs haven't won a game in Memphis yet in this series. But a win on Friday puts an enormous amount of pressure on the Grizzlies to win a road Game 7. It's do or die for the Memphis Grizzlies Friday night. 
Posted on: April 28, 2011 12:59 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 1:38 am
 

Grizzlies-Spurs: A question of luck or fate.

There are times in sports when you wonder what the line is between fate and luck. Manu Ginobili's improbable step-back and Gary Neal's desperation 3-pointer make up one of those times. 
Posted by Matt Moore




O-Ren Ishii: "You didn't think it was going to be that easy, did you?"

Beatrix Kiddo: "You know, for a second there, I kinda did." 

- "Kill Bill"



"I don't think we showed the heart of a champion. We got lucky."

-Manu Ginobili via Chris Vernon on Twitter



What's the difference between luck and fate? What separates grit, will, determination, and the ability to make the biggest plays from abject desperation and the right bounce at the right time? How do you define what's true greatness and what's the unpredictable flow of random events? The lens of sports is such an infinitely trivial window trough which to view such things, but after Grizzlies-Spurs 5, the most wild game of the most unpredictable series in the 2011 NBA playoffs, those are questions that have to be running through the mind of everyone who has borne witness to what happened in San Antonio, Texas. 
The scene:

The 4-time champions were up against the ropes, and up against an upstart 8th seed who has dominated what feels like at least 16 of the 20 quarters played. Down three points after a flurry of clutch free throws from Zach Randolph; the redeemed All-Star for a small-market franchise. A tipped ball. Another tipped ball. And then, of course, Ginobili. 




There was an inbounds pass. It was tipped up in the air. It was tipped again. It landed in Ginobili's hands. A desperation heave, good. The tip goes any other direction, the game is over. The ball isn't tipped, the Grizzlies may be in position to defend the shot, and the game may be over. But it winds up there. And Ginobili hits it. Afterwards, after what happened later, he's the deferential. He admits it was luck. But was it? How many times have we seen him hit that kind of shot? I've kept track in this series. Ginobili has hit four 3-pointers off of broken plays. Does that invalidate them? The opposite. How big is it when you can make a non-possession into a 3-pointer? How much can that change a series that has seen three of the five games decided by five points or less (not including the overtime period in Game 5)? You have to believe that, if that shot wasn't due to Ginobili's undeniable focus and concentration, there was some sort of intervention by whatever you choose to reference as the "Basketball Gods". Random chance? Perhaps. But, if so, then the Spurs have a keen way of turning those instances of random chance into points. Maybe that's just "valuing each possession." 

But even then, his foot was on the line. It's just a two. Are you kidding me? The Grizzlies have avoided the dagger? All they have to do is hit free throws, deny the 3-pointer, and it's done? How kind can those Basketball Gods be to a franchise that drafted Hasheem Thabeet? Z-Bo sinks two free throws. Clutch, from the player so often derided for not being "a winner." Just deny the 3-pointer. That's all that separates Memphis and the proverbial "Shock of the World." 

The inbounds, you can deny it to Manu, you can deny it to Parker. But you're going to have to let one of the others get free. Gary Neal? Sure. The undrafted rookie the Spurs picked up in Europe and really decided to keep in Summer League? Sure. He can have it. O.J. Mayo will contest, but from that distance, with the series on the line? There's no way. There's just no way. 


Buckets. Onions. Glory. Pain. The whole thing. Sports. 

In overtime, and the Grizzlies had no legs. There's nothing left. Parker does his damage. The Grizzlies fight back, but not enough defense. The shots fell, and that's what happens. Spurs win. 3-2, going back to Memphis, and all the pressure is on the Grizzlies now. Lose in Game 6, and that feeling, the one where it was so close they could taste it when the ball was tipped on the Ginobili possession? It's going to be the opposite. The knowledge that it's all slipping away. The Grizzlies have fought through being the underdog. They've fought through being without homecourt advantage. They've fought through being down 16 in a desperation elimination game for the opponent, on that team's home floor. 

But can they fight the Basketball Gods? 

At some point you recognize that things fall into place for teams, in part because of those random chances, and in part because of that team's determination to seize the moment provided. It wasn't that Memphis didn't seize them. It's simply that the Spurs were granted them. 

In the larger scheme of things, this was simply a Game 5 between a perennial power and an upstart trying to establish some sense of legitimacy. The veteran team executed down the stretch, by hook or by crook. But you still have to wonder, where is that line between fate and luck, and how, in the name of Naishmith's Nets, did that just happen? 

Game 6 is Friday, in Memphis. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com