Spurs fan here. I keep on reading Jazz fans compare their team to the Grizz who beat the Spurs last year, many people don't realize just how they beat the Spurs though. The reason the Spurs lost was because:
1. Randolph was playing out of his mind, knocking down all his jumpers, making extremely difficult shots etc. he abused the Spurs' front line and abused OKC's as well who probably has the best defensive front line in the NBA.
2. They out rebounded the Spurs and posted up the Spurs ALL series long, this was a HUGE weakness for the Spurs. They had a 6'2 SG in Hill, 6'4 Neal, and RJ who is soft as hell getting posted up on by guys like Battier, Allen, Vasquez, and others constantly posting our guys up and scoring at will. They also rebounded over our guys at will, it looked like adults playing monkey in the middle with a bunch of kids (the Spurs).
3. The big 3 were burned out and Manu wasn't 100%. Manu played well but he could've played MUCH better, he broke his elbow right before the playoffs. Manu and TD actually carried the Spurs last year, Parker was struggling with injuries all year dealing with Plantar fasciitis as well as a calf bruise which kept him out for a while. Parker continued his very mediocre play in the playoffs, and Duncan was a shell of his former self. Dice was also burned out as he was relied on heavily.
4. Pop started Blair. Blair got DESTROYED by Z-Bo and everybody else he tried to guard, the Spurs were down 2-1 until he benched him and unleashed Splitter. The Spurs then made a push to 7 games.
Splitter made a really big impact replacing Blair. Since the first LA game Pop has sat Blair against the Lakers after Bynum went for 30 boards over him. He finally inserted Diaw into the starting lineup instead of Blair and gave Splitter his mins as well. Blair is literally the worst defender in the NBA, players put up ridiculous stats, there is a stat that showed when Blair is guarding an opponent their efficiency is on par with that of a superstar in the NBA.
The Spurs' rotation this year is actually a lot different than last year's.
They got rid of RJ and Hill and added 4 new guys. Leonard who is 6'7 230, Green who is 6'6 210, and Jackson 6'8 230, ALL very good wing defenders, if these guys were playing against Memphis they wouldn't be able to post these guys up nor would they be able to rebound on them at will. Insert those guys into last year's series minus RJ and the Spurs win it in 5. Diaw is also a massive upgrade over Blair at PF, his passing and D has made a big difference. Since adding him and Jackson the Spurs went from scoring 104 PPG to a whopping 114 PPG and in the past 10 games they have the 4th best defense.
The Grizz also weren't your typical 8th seed. This team got WAY better once they acquired Battier, he turned the Grizz into a defensive juggernaut, and Z-Bo also played extremely well. If they had played like that all season they would've won around 60 games.