Even a couple of months after the upset occurred, Memphis forward Shane Battier remains a little suprised the Grizzlies stunned the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs.
The Grizzlies’ six-game series victory over the Spurs was only the second time since the NBA went to a best-of-seven series for all rounds of the playoffs that a No. 8 seed toppled a No. 1 seed.
And it still is a, he said in an interview with radio station WFAN in New York City earlier this week. (Hat tip to Sports Radio Interviews.com)
“We knew that we had a favorable matchup in the Spurs,” Battier said. “Did we think we could beat them and take the Thunder in second round to seven games? I’d be lying to say I knew that was going to happen.”
The Grizzlies had never won a playoff game, much less a series before their matchup with the Spurs this year. But after splitting four games with San Antonio earlier in the regular season, Memphis has confidence coming into the playoffs, Battier said.
“We knew we had a chance against the Spurs. We felt that we matched up great against them,” Battier said. “We were younger and we were more athletic.
“After we won that first game in San Antonio, we all looked at each other and said ‘hey guys we can do this.’ We went on a magical run, the city was behind us, it was simply electric, and it was a fantastic lightning in a bottle run for us.”
It also didn’t hurt them that Manu Ginobili missed the first game of the series with what turned out to be a broken arm. But the Grizzlies took advantage of his absence in that game and held serve by winning the rest of their home games to claim the upset.
Battier said he hopes that the labor impasse between owners and players will be short. And he made an interesting comment that the NBA can’t go through an extended lockout like the NFL has endured.
“I’m cautiously optimistic that we will get something done before missing any games. We all know what’s at stake,” Battier said. “We can’t afford to go through what the NFL is going through and we can’t afford to lose the fans. I just think we have a perspective after going through this in ’99 that it’s in the best interest of everybody to hammer out a fair deal.”