Note: The Spike Files is a series capturing some of the, um, less-wildly successful pitches as yours truly makes a "real" attempt at freelancing. The names and dates have not been changed because that would be too much work.
Forget the records. The Spurs' best is flat-out better than anyone else's.
Actually, don't forget the records. The Spurs' 14-5 mark may not be the best in the conference, but it's indicative of something better. Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili have all rested. Kawhi Leonard is scoring as inefficiently as he ever has. And yet, for as little as the Spurs care about the regular season, they're capable of putting together the kind of complete game that turns the Grizzlies' 22-straight home win streak into a speed bump.
Marc Gasol (28pts, 12reb, 4blk) was brilliant in the Grizzlies 2nd-straight loss, and the effects of his knee bone bruise were marginal at most. But the Spurs were happy to let Big Spain launch from the elbow as long as Memphis' long range game reverted to its 2014 form (five 3PTM on just 12ATT).
San Antonio lost Tony Parker midway through the 4th, but Manu Ginobili's shooting exhibition (5-5, 5-10) kept Memphis pinned down. A hallmark of, ahem, teams of advanced age, the Spurs handed out high ball screens like Werther's Originals and obliterated the Grizzlies' 4th-best defense.
Any team can have a bad night, and you might argue the Grizzlies were due at home. But what should be scary to everyone else in the Western Conference is the number 33. That's the number of minutes Tayshaun Prince played last night, a number basically equaling his last 6 games combined. True to form, the Spurs punished Zach Randolph all night with Bonner's range (3-6t 3PT) and Biaw's absurd mass, forcing the Grizzlies' offensive cog into a -10 for the evening. With the low post game suffering and Gasol's passing lanes clogged, the Grizzlies were forced to turn to Prince, who despite a perfectly cromulent shooting effort, did his work with Chaos Element Tony Allen on the bench.
This is what should scare the Warriors, Rockets, et al: the Grizzlies thought they were getting what they wanted — this whole year has been about emphasizing Gasol and Conley over Randolph — but they were running on a treadmill. It's a sleight of hand trick. Can Memphis win a Spurs series without any contributions from Allen and Z-bo? What does Houston look like with a healthy and dominant Howard but no shooting whatsoever? How long can Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry stay on the floor together (in GSW's most-used lineup by far) if Greg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard conspire to take them away? Speights has been great, but....yeesh.
This is what should scare the Warriors, Rockets, et al (any Eastern Conference contender should be scared of basically anything, up to and including the sea mercifully rising up and swallowing them whole): the San Antonio Spurs are winning the title. Again. The old bastards.