Spurs, up 2-0 against Memphis, know series is still up for grabs

San Antonio was up 2-0 against Oklahoma City in 2012 conference finals before the Thunder swept the next four games. Series goes to Memphis, where Grizzlies have won 19 of last 20.

May 22, 2013|By Ben Bolch

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Uh-oh, 2-0?

The San Antonio Spurs find themselves in a familiar place, having won the first two games of the Western Conference finals for a second consecutive season.

This is where their season unraveled in stunning fashion last year amid a barrage of baskets by Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. The Spurs lost four consecutive games, a season-ending slide that seemed all the more improbable considering they had won their previous 20 games.

So they are painfully aware of what could happen as their series against the Memphis Grizzlies shifts to FedEx Forum in Memphis for Game 3 on Saturday.

"We've been here and we know that it's not over until you win the fourth," San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili told reporters Wednesday, "so we have to stay humble, keep working hard and definitely try to get one in Memphis."

That's something the Clippers and Oklahoma City were unable to do in the first two rounds of the playoffs, going a combined 0-5 on the Grizzlies' home court. Memphis has won 19 of 20 games at FedEx Forum since Feb. 8.

Resting up

The three-day break between Games 2 and 3 is probably a greater benefit to the aging Spurs, who acknowledged experiencing fatigue in the latter portion of their 93-89 overtime victory in Game 2 on Tuesday.

San Antonio's Tony Parker finished with 18 assists but had none in the fourth quarter and two in overtime.

"In the fourth quarter, the last six minutes, I was definitely tired," Parker said. "Pop [Coach Gregg Popovich] knew it. I think all the minutes against Golden State and then the first two games [against Memphis] was wearing down on me because I have to play defense on [Mike] Conley, chasing him on the pick-and-rolls, and then be the generator on offense for everybody, so I was a little tired."

Parker said he would get a precautionary MRI exam on his left calf Thursday but expected to play Saturday.

"It definitely limited me the last two games against Golden State and those two games" against the Grizzlies, he said, "but slowly I'm turning the corner, so hopefully I'll be fine."

Spurs curse?

San Antonio is in the midst of its longest title drought in the Tim Duncan era, having last won a championship in 2007.

There is no shortage of theories: the advancing age of the team's core, the improvement of the rest of the league, the curse of the local sports talk radio host …

Wait, the what?

That's right, broadcaster Mike Taylor has spawned an urban legend by supposedly desecrating San Antonio's Mission Espada shortly after he moved to the area in October 2007. A brass door knob fell apart in Taylor's hands during a visit to the mission, which might not have been a big deal had he not shared the story on his radio show.

"People said, 'Oh my God, you've desecrated a monument of San Antonio,' " Taylor told the San Antonio Express-News. " 'You just cursed yourself forever.' "

Or maybe just the Spurs, who haven't been back to the NBA Finals since their last title. Taylor told the Express-News he wants them to win, "for no other reason than people can leave me alone."

Twitter: @latbbolch

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