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Spurs complete sweep of Grizzlies, become first team to advance


Frederick Breedon

All the power outage did was delay the Memphis Grizzlies’ demise by about 15 minutes.

With a 116-95 win on Sunday, the San Antonio Spurs ended this first-round series exactly the way everybody expected, completing a four-game sweep and becoming the first team to advance past the first round of the playoffs. Their second-round opponent will very likely be the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have taken a 3-1 series lead over the Dallas Mavericks after a win Saturday night. Game 5 of that series is scheduled for Monday in Oklahoma City.

This series was never in much doubt—the talent gap between the Spurs and the injury-ravaged Grizzlies was always going to be too large to overcome. The fact that Jordan Farmar and Vince Carter were starters in a playoff series in 2016 says it all.

This playoff exit likely signals the end of the grit-and-grind era in Memphis, an entertaining run that included six straight playoff appearances, a stunning first-round upset of the top-seeded Spurs in 2011, and a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2013. Mike Conley is set to hit free agency this summer and is arguably the top name on the market outside of Kevin Durant. With this Grizzlies core aging and the health of Marc Gasol unknown, there’s a better-than-expected possibility he could leave.

But the last six years are still worth celebrating and remembering.