What happens when you stand up for your own people

The Memphis Grizzlies were blown out of game 1 of the opening round of the NBA playoffs vs. the San Antonio Spurs. And the Spurs fought off a late surge by Memphis in game 2 to ultimately win by 14. It looked like a repeat of last year’s sweep by the Spurs over an injury-riddled Grizzlies team. Like last year, the Grizzlies are the 7th seed in the West and the Spurs are 2nd. Memphis was never expected to win, but we were manhandled those first two games in San Antonio.

And then this happened…

Starting at about the 1:24 mark, Memphis coach David Fizdale unloaded on the officiating crew for their one-sided effort. (The Spurs attempted 32 free throws to the Grizzlies’ 15, even though Memphis took far more shots in the paint.)

He was ultimately fined $30K — the players say they are picking up the tab — but in just over 60 seconds, David Fizdale lit a fire under the city of Memphis. The Grizzlies won the next two games at home, including a thriller Saturday night that wasn’t decided until Marc Gasol’s runner with 0.7 seconds left in overtime.

I’m not going to claim victim status because that’s just not me, but I can say that the Grizzlies are perpetual underdogs and routinely disrespected by the NBA and sports media (with the exception of Charles Barkley). Say what you will about Memphis, but we do rally around our people when they are disrespected. I know it’s just sports, but sports is perhaps the only thing that unites the people of Memphis, so let’s hear it for Memphis sports.

So now the series heads back to San Antonio for game 5 tonight, then game 6 in Memphis on Thursday. I know we’re still longshots to win the series, but it’s best 2-out-of-3 now, and if the Grizzlies can somehow win 1 game in San Antonio…

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