About Last Night: Memphis Goes Into Hibernation

In case you were out grillaxing (grilling while attempting to fend off an ax-wielding dwarf) here’s what you missed in sports on Monday:

  • Tony Parker had 37 points as the San Antonio Spurs completed a four-game sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies with a 93-86 win. Despite having only two first-half dunks, the Spurs outscored Memphis 52-32 in the paint, as they once again reinforced the old Popovichian adage, “Dunk for show, make relatively uncontested layups and midrange jumpers for dough.”
  • We’re heading back to Chicago as the Blackhawks overcame a second-period deficit to beat the Detroit Red Wings, 4-3, to force a Game 7 in their Western Conference semifinal. The decisive goal was scored on a penalty shot by Michael Frolik, despite Red Wings coach Mike Babcock distinctly warning his goalkeeper Jimmy Howard: “I know his move, triple deke, hit the brakes, pause, glove side.” Howard asked, “What if he goes stick side?” but Babcock insisted that Frolik was fancy and would go glove side. Unfortunately for the Red Wings, while Frolik did go glove side, he did not stop his action to grin at the opposing goalkeeper, keeping the entire audience in suspense before firing off his shot, instead taking it as part of a single fluid motion.
  • Rafael Nadal faced an unexpectedly challenging first-round match at the French Open, but prevailed in four sets, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-3, over Daniel Brands. Nadal’s dropped set, only his 15th in 54 matches at Roland Garros, is a classic French reminder that we all are mortal, and that time ticks unceasingly forward, moving us all inexorably toward our graves. Yet his recovery in the second-set tiebreaker was a classic French reminder that mortality itself is just an illusion, as is time, and that we move inexorably toward a spiritual singularity. However, this year smoking has been forbidden at Roland Garros, meaning there will be no Gauloise-puffing Frenchmen to clear up this contradictory evidence.
  • The New York Mets, powered by a David Wright home run, edged the Yankees, 2-1, in the first game of their so-called Subway Series. The crosstown rivalry between the Mets and Yankees has long been dubbed the Subway Series because the press boxes at both the old Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium smelled eerily similar to a Subway sandwich shop. Though initially the incredibly specific odor did not move with the teams to their new homes, traditionalists demanded that it be replicated, which is why there is a Subway-brand bread oven located in the press boxes at both Citi Field and new Yankee Stadium.
  • Despite a golden sombrero from Matt Kemp, the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied to take the first game of their Freeway Series with the Los Angeles Angels, 8-7, at Dodgers Stadium. The crosstown rivalry between the Dodgers and Angels has long been dubbed the Freeway Series as a result of Los Angeles’s notoriously expensive roadways. Back in the late ’70s, when fuel prices were at their apex and stagflation gripped Jimmy Carter’s America, it was difficult for middle-class Angelenos to get to Orange County without quite literally bankrupting their families. However, the annual preseason series between the Angels and Dodgers provided an opportunity for enterprising commuters to pose as members of the team and hitch a ride on the Dodgers’ team bus to Anaheim. This so-called “free way” eventually became too popular, leading to numerous bus breakdowns due to weight, and team bus security eventually increased during the Reagan Administration as fuel prices fell, but the moniker for the series stuck.
  • Joey Votto hit a tiebreaking home run as the Cincinnati Reds rallied to beat the Cleveland Indians, 4-2, in the first game of their We’re Still in Fucking Ohio Series. The intrastate rivalry was only recently dubbed the We’re Still in Fucking Ohio Series when current Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, whose thoughts on Cleveland are well known, found out from former teammate Ken Griffey Jr. that Cincinnati is also in Ohio, leading Suzuki to say, “So if you two play each other you are on a road trip but still in fucking Ohio? Fuck.”
  • Brazilian superstar Neymar has signed a five-year contract with Barcelona, bolstering the team’s attack as it attempts to rebound from a somewhat disappointing one-trophy campaign. When asked about where he planned to slot his new Brazilian weapon, Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova said, “What? Oh no. I meant sign any defender. Um, defense? Can he play defense? Oh this is not good. Not good at all.”
  • In an opening-day battle of top draft picks, Elena Delle Donne outplayed Brittney Griner as the Chicago Sky beat the Phoenix Mercury, 102-80. This despite Griner’s two dunks, reinforcing the old WNBA adage, “Dunk for show, make relatively uncontested layups and midrange jumpers for dough.” Hey, wait a minute …

Filed Under: About Last Night, Barcelona, Chicago Blackhawks, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Red Wings, French Open, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Rafael Nadal, San Antonio Spurs, Tony Parker

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Spike Friedman is a contributing writer for Grantland and makes theater with the Satori Group in Seattle, Washington.

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