Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs have moved within two wins of reaching the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. They also have three days to rest before taking their 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals to Memphis for Game 3.
Yet the Spurs weren't too celebratory after their 93-89 overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlieson Tuesday night. And for good reason.
A year ago, they went up 2-0 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the West finals then lost four straight games to have their season end.
"These opportunities are very rare to try to win a championship and go to the Finals," said Parker, who had 15 points and a game-high 18 assists in Game 2 against the Grizzlies. "We were so close being up 2-0 and having home court. It was disappointing to win 20 games in a row and then lose four in a row. It was unreal, hard to understand. Even today I don't even know why. It's hard to explain that. This year we are learning from it and I hope we will handle it better than last year.
"It was very painful. It gave me a lot of motivation all summer long."
Many wondered whether the Spurs' core of stars – Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili – had blown their best chance at another title when they lost to the Thunder. Instead, they're back in the same position as they were a year ago. This time, they hope to finish the series.
"It ain't over till it's over," Ginobili said. "That's the only thing we learned [from last year]. I think last year we took it the right way. We just faced a team that was inspired and beat us fair and square. That's it."
The Grizzlies didn't look too inspired through the first seven quarters against the Spurs in these West finals. Memphis lost Game 1 105-83 and trailed by as many as 18 points in Game 2.