Spurs-Grizzlies: Memphis left struggling with lost opportunity

SAN ANTONIO -- The Memphis Grizzlies were not celebrating a moral victory after their Game 2 loss to the San Antonio Spurs to go down 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals. There was little to no "Hey, we played better," no "wev'e got some momentum." There was only the shaking of heads and the grit of teeth as the team tried to answer how they felt after their miraculous comeback effort fell short. 

After getting blown out in Game 1, Memhis came out flat again to start Game 2, and it wound up costing them the game, arguably. That was the refrain from Memphis. 

"Once gain, we didn't get out to the start we wanted," Grizzlies PG Mike Conley said after the game.

But the Grizzlies climbed out of an 18-point hole. They dragged the game down into the 80's at the end of regulation, where they want it. They were in the mud. Grit and grinding. They forced overtime on the road, in San Antonio. They played better, right?

"Towards the end, sure!" Zach Randolph exlaimed sarcastically. "But we gotta play like that from the beginning. We gotta come out and just play." 

Both Randolph and Tony Allen had a lot of head shaking going on. There was a nearly palpable frustration and internal irritation in the Grizzlies locker room after Game 2. 

"We had better focus in the second half, Tony Allen said. "We started off not too good but we stood in there. No such thing as moral victories. We gotta go back to the grindouse and get two." 

Marc Gasol was upbeat as always, because no player on the Grizzlies hides his emotions better than Gasol publicly. On the court when things came unglued in the first half, Gasol was the one rolling his eyes and punching the ball in frustration at defense lapses. But after the game, cool as a cucumber. 

"Well, we played better than we played teh first game, even though we lost, and we were more Memphis Grizzlies." 

What Gasol touched on there was what his coach said after the game, as surprisingly, the normally dour Lionel Hollins was pleasantly laid back after his team blew a chance to split the series in overtime. 

"Well, I can be comfortable with the loss," Hollins said. We lost, we're down 02, but we payed like us again. We just have to find a way to score earlier so they don't get back out on us as far as they did and we have to battle back."

The Grizzlies have come back from this deficit in these playoffs, vs. the Clippers in the first round. They were down 0-2 then, as well. They lost a close game late on a Chris Paul runner, vs. losing to Tim Duncan post shots in overtime. So does this feel familiar?

"It's a lot similar. We've been down 0-2 before and look what happened." - Quincy Pondexter

"There' a little comparison, I guess." -Mike Conley

"They're a different team. There's a comparison but we can't go into it thinking like that." -Zach Randolph

Conley said that after the Game 2 loss to the Clippers, who had plagued the Grizzlies for a year, the Grizzlies were "upbeat and confident" in the locker room. It wasn't the same in San Antonio Tuesday night.

"We're frustrated, because we know we can play better more than anything," Conley said. 

Getting dressed to get out of town and back to the Grindhouse, Tony Allen kept muttering to himself "Gotta get better. We just... man.... we just gotta get better." 

He's right, there are no moral victories. And the Grizzlies find themselves against the most talented, toughest opponent they've faced, in a 2-0 hole, headed back to Memphis to try and wrestle their way from the edge of their season's oblivion. 

They've been here before but this time feels much, much different.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Moore's colleagues have been known to describe him as a "maniac" in terms of his approach to covering the NBA, which he has done for CBS Sports since 2010. Moore prides himself on melding reporting,... Full Bio

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