Western Conference first-round preview: Spurs vs. Grizzlies
These teams approached the playoffs with different aims: The Spurs (61-21) earned the No. 1 seed with the ultimate goal of winning a fifth championship around Tim Duncan. The Grizzlies (46-36), who have never won a game in postseason, simply wanted to make the tournament -- especially after losing star forward Rudy Gay to a season-ending injury in February. The Spurs now look to recover the health of Manu Ginobili, who suffered a hyperextended right elbow in the regular-season finale, and advance strongly toward a potential conference finals against the No. 2 Lakers.
Duncan's Spurs have never lost a first-round series when healthy, and they aren't going to waste the No. 1 seed in the West by taking a win against Memphis for granted. They may lose an early game in the series, but thereafter they'll exhibit a playoff-level discipline and intensity that will provide a good lesson for the promising young Grizzlies.