With a collection of veterans who were often considered too old to compete for an NBA title, the San Antonio Spurs are back in the Finals, with a series sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Tony Parker scored 37 points off 15-of-21 shooting as the Spurs won Game Four at FedEx Forum on Monday, 93-86. The Spurs reached the title series after an excellent record of 12-2 in the postseason for their first trip back to the Finals since 2007.
San Antonio shot 51.2 percent from the field, compared to 37.2 percent by the Grizzlies. On offense, the Spurs showed excellent ball movement, and on defense the post defense was stifling.
"We're not the best, but we're a whole lot better than last year," said head coach Gregg Popovich, of the team's defense.
The Spurs were able to overcome a difficult performance by Manu Ginobli. The veteran guard converted just one of his six shots, and turned the ball over six times.
It was an impressive overall effort for Popovich's experienced squad in the postseason. The core of Tim Duncan, Parker, and Ginobli have been together for over a decade. They have a combined aged of over 34 years old.
It was a difficult series for the Grizzlies, who reached the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history. When the final buzzer sounded, the home fans cheered for a club that outlasted the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2013 playoffs.
Off the bench, Quincy Pondexter scored 22 points for Memphis off seven-of-11 shooting. The rest of the Grizzlies squad struggled to score, with the starting backcourt of Mike Conley Jr. and Tony Allen combining for just 13 points.
It was a particulary disappointing series for Zach Randolph. The big man, who many regard as among the more under-rated in the game, scored just two points in Game One, and failed to score more than 15 in the next three games following strong efforts in the previous two series.
Game One of the NBA Finals is on June 6. The Spurs will play either the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers. The Heat lead the Eastern Conference finals, 2-1.