For the first seven quarters of this year’s Western Conference Finals, it looked like the Grizzlies didn’t even belong in the same arena as the Spurs. For much of the 4th quarter in Game 2, the Grizzlies weren’t faring much better, but they hung around and went on a 7-0 run at the end to force overtime. Tony Allen did his best to sell a fast break foul (see above) by Manu Ginobili and turn it into a flagrant (2 free throws plus the next possession). Mike Conley’s off-hand floater tied the game and gave the Grizzlies a chance to take Game 2 in overtime. The Spurs, mostly led by Tim Duncan, put the Grizzlies back in their place in the extra period; the Spurs would win by 4.
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Russell Westbrook’s injury has left the Oklahoma City Thunder weakened and the Western Conference playing field leveled. Traditional thinking would conclude that the San Antonio Spurs are good and ready to emerge out of the West if the Thunder can’t learn to adjust to Westbrook’s absence.