With just under four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Game 4 on Monday, Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins and guard Jerryd Bayless had a brief, somewhat heated exchange that ended with Hollins pushing Bayless to a seat on the Memphis bench.
Hollins appeared to be upset that Bayless failed to provide help defense on San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker, who had just come off a curl and a Tim Duncan screen on the right wing. The screen delayed Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley enough to give Parker an opening at the right elbow, and Bayless — who was defending Manu Ginobili a few feet away — didn't quickly slide over to contest the shot, making only a too-little-too-late effort as Parker was already in his shooting motion. The 18-foot jumper splashed through, pushing the Spurs' lead back to eight at 89-81.
When Grizzlies wing Quincy Pondexter was fouled on the ensuing possession, Hollins quickly yanked Bayless in favor of Tony Allen and began talking about what had just transpired; as Bayless went to his seat on the bench, Hollins gave him a little shove that sent him there more quickly. Assistant coach Dave Joerger stepped between Hollins and Bayless for a moment, and after things cooled down, player and coach continued their discussion. Hollins put Bayless back into the game a minute and a half later with the Grizzlies down six.
There's a lot we don't know about the context surrounding this odd moment, but we do know that it was odd ... and that if the roles were reversed, this would probably be viewed as a waaaaaay bigger deal.
San Antonio held on late for a 93-86 win that finished off a four-game sweep and sends the Spurs back to the NBA finals for the first time since the 2006-07 season. Parker was sensational regardless of which Grizzly attempted to defend him, finishing with 37 points on 15 for 21 shooting, with 11 points coming in the deciding fourth quarter and stemming several Grizzlies runs.
Hollins' contract with the Grizzlies ends on June 30. As Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Marc J. Spears wrote Monday night, several teams — including the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks — are believed to be interested in pursuing the 59-year-old coach, who has led the Grizzlies to the playoffs in each of the last three years.
Video via Beyond the Buzzer.