The historic run by the Memphis Grizzlies came to end after the San Antonio Spurs swept the Grizzlies 4 games to none. Some people will make jokes about how the Grizzlies got swept, but that is not how most of the Grizzlies players and fans are looking at it.
When Lionel Hollins arrived as the head coach, he had to change the attitude and chemistry of the team. This off season will dictate the immediate future of the franchise. The two building blocks of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol will be back on the team next season. However, there are still questions about Tony Allen and Zack Randolph.
Here are the Grizzlies in their own words:
Tony Allen: “I BLEED BLUE”
- If you are not back here next year, how do you see the transition for next year?
“It is all in God’s hands, I bleed blue. One thing I have done is, I’ve made a name for myself a lot of teams around the league know who I am. I am focused on being here. I have built relationships with the guys. I mean real bond with the guys. I’ve showed the guys what that grit and grind is all about. It will be hard to leave the city, where they have shown me so much love.”
- How special has this year been for you?
“It has been great one. We lost “Double D” (Dana Davis) and I know he was looking down on us. I think everything that took off for us. I am happy with the season we had. There is no reason to hold our heads down. We fought hard. We showed the city what winning is all about. It is just unfortunate to lose four in a row.”
- On the Grizzlies fans:
“They are the best sixth man of the year. They have been with us from day one every since I got here. The fans have always shown us love and we would not have been here without them. Salute to the fans.”
- Did you get a cut from all of the growl towel slogans you suggested?
“I really did not care about money or nothing like that. I just felt like my presence and laying down the foundation on how to win games on the defensive end. The Grit and Grind should forever live forward in the Grindhouse aka the FedExForum. I’ve got to thank Chris Wallace in showing to give me that vision.”
Mike Conley: “WE WILL BE BACK!!!”
- Describe the love that this city gave you and you give them.
“This city has been great. They have to endure the good and the bad and they have stuck with us. They are loyal. They have been there for us. It means the world to us. I am proud of them for being there to push us through and supporting us when we were not good. It is tough on us on letting them down. We will be back.”
- This team is known for their defense, why were you not able to contain Tony Parker?
“He was in a zone they play so well together. Any adjustment we made they made another one. We played well for 18 seconds on the shot clock and he would make a play. That is why he is one of the best and they are heading to the finals.”
Zack Randolph, “I WANT TO RETIRE A GRIZZLY”
- How does it feel to know that it is over?
“It is difficult. I don’t know what to say they beat us. The two overtime games could have went either way. It could have easily being tied up. We gave it 110 percent. You have got to take your hats off to the Spurs they have a great team from their bench to their starting five.”
“The city has been great. This ride has been great I hate that it ended like this, but we got to keep our heads up for the things we accomplished for the city and the organization. Hopefully this core will stay in place and we are able to add a few more pieces some shooters and some depth.”
Marc Gasol: “TOMORROW WILL BE A BETTER DAY!”
- What were the Spurs doing to keep you from cutting their lead?
“They were getting stops and they were executing well offensively. They made some tough stops and ran when they had to.”
- What can you take from this series?
“Tomorrow will be a better than it is right now. We wanted to win and play another game. We were not able to put it out. We played and hustled, but we did not have enough to get over the hump. They taught us a lesson on how to execute. We are going to create habits that will work for us”
Coach Lionel Hollins
- Question: When you came here came here you were able to put your stamp on this team?
“Every coach tries to establish an identity with a team and try to get a team to buy into it. What I am proud of is I was blessed to have a group that wanted to win. They did not know how, because they were young. They did not know how to work hard, because they have never had to. I tried to show them the way and to put them in an environment that they could be successful. They did not come smiling saying that great, this is great they came they were kicking and scratching not to do it, because it is easier to do it in a manner which is easier. They could have chosen to quit and rebel as well, but they choose to fight and they are reaping the rewards for us right now.”
Terry Davis is a regular contributor for MemphiSport. Follow him @terryd515.