I believe the Grizz have figured out the way to get back into this series. More offense, which means more QP and Bayless, and less TA and Prince. So far Prince has been a disappointment this entire post season. I now think we were expecting too much from a players who's so long in the tooth.
Defense alone isn't going to win this series. SA players are too intelligent, too unselfish, Parker's too good, and Popovich too good a coach to be shut down offensively. Every time the Grizz have been bounced from the playoffs it's been because of lack of scoring, especially outside shooting. Griz will have to start scoring in the mid nineties to have a real chance to defeat the Spurs.
I'm sure the TA fans will pull out the daggers if their boy isn't in the game for big minutes, but I trust Lionel will do what he has to do to get back in the series. Mainly, bench Prince. The extras defense he provides doesn't make up for having two non-scorers on the floor at the same time.
It's really sad to see the delusions from Grizzlies fans. I mean, if you can find any positives from this than more power to you. I'm not so sure it's about Lionel Hollins figuring the match ups finally, but more about the Spurs simply went cold as the second half went along. There were a few good defensive stops by the Grizzlies, but for the most part, the Spurs looked as if they ran out of gas. Tony Parker had lost his legs in the 4th and could hardly even spit.
Grizzlies fans should also caution that the Spurs were in this situation last year only to lose the next 4 games in the Conference Finals. This might not be a good thing for the Grizzlies as I'm sure the Spurs know this and will be even more apt to not let this happen. These observations are coming from someone who dislikes both teams so good luck!
The Spurs do cut a decent amount, but in large part, they punish you with Parker on the pick and roll hitting shooters that like to lurk at the 3 point line.
That makes it a lot easier for the Grizzlies to play Bayless. Against the Clippers, you couldn't play Bayless, because he would end up on Jamal Crawford, Chauncey Billups, or some larger guard that would break him down off the dribble. When he was in, he got in trouble. The same was the case with the Thunder. Martin, Jackson, or anyone really he guarded could take him off the bounce.
Against the Spurs, his defense is less of a liability.
That's big, because clearly we need at least one shooter on the floor at all times to open up the paint for our bigs. When Tay and Tony are on the floor together, the Spurs just pack it in and play 5 on 1 or 2 when we get it to the post. When our shooters are out there, just having a threat to hit a shot gives the bigs the space they need. If we can keep that spacing the rest of the series AND continue to play solid pick and roll defense, I will be curious to see what adjustments Popovich can find. If he can't find any adjustments, we stand a great chance to come back from down 0-2 for the second time.
Media has the Tony thing all wrong. He was thrown to the ground as Manu meant to do. He didn't hack him, he grabbed hold and followed through. And TA's little manimal brain bounced against his skull. Resulting in the head grabbing agony we witnessed.
As Herrington pointed out, TA did flop AND that was a correct flagrant foul call. Both things can be true in the universe.
Hollins hasn't played the Grizz small for any extended period so I doubt he starts now. They key for MEM is to play a better brand of pick and roll defense which it looks like they figured out in the second half. Also, taking Prince out of the game improves the spacing enough on offense so that Zbo can punish Bonner in the post.
Very encouraging just like Game 2 against the Clippers.
Lionel has definitely figured out the key for the Grizz in this match up on both ends of the floor. Now the question is how Pop and the Spurs respond. They're a great team, but they're going to have to make sure they have the answers to win 2 more. After last night, I expect this to go 7 and come down to the final minutes in Game 7.
As an aside, after all these years of Ginobli flopping more than anyone in the NBA, there was some poetic justice in Tony Allen pulling the old soccer sell on a Ginobli foul. I figured the officials would drop the flagrant on review, but my only guess is they told Pop that they deserved the call after all these years.
I still hate that soccer flop business, but I can live with it from Allen solely because it worked against Ginobli.
Prince and Arthur have been disastrous in this series. Start Qpon. And give Davis Arthur's second-half minutes if he has another bad first-half in game 3. And no more Tony Wroten.
Oh, and Lionel has to get on the refs (in the press, not just during games) about how Diaw and Bonner "set" screens. I know the league has let this go, but Diaw and Bonner just go run into the our guys. It is impossible to play D on Parker if they don't get called for any illegal screens. A couple of whistles here and there would really change how these games go.
I keep coming back to this idea that the Grizz should go ultra small when Bonner is on the court. Like either QPon or TA at the the 4 small. Tying in to Lowe's great article on the Bonner factor, DA cannot make them pay on D for playing Bonner so the other option is try to make him guard on the perimeter and blow by him. On D, just switch everything. Thoughts?
Seems weird to write this, but Grizz in 7. SAS can play at a higher level than Grizz, but I dont think they can sustain it. Grit and grind has a chance to win the series.
Tough game. This will be a heck of a series. I like Randolph. It's unfair to expect him to carry the offense. If you ever want to trade him....
So the Spurs got here by beating the Lakers without Kobe and the Warriors without David Lee, and this guy wants to discount our route to the conference finals. Love it.
By the way, I do have tons of respect for the way the Spurs play between whistles. However, after the whistle, they're the biggest bunch of whiny crybabies in the league. No team even comes close to matching them.
To Grove: I can't deny that the Grizz play well against crippled playoff teams. The Spurs don't exactly have anything to whine about. They play clean, exciting basketball. And mostly win. It's almost showtime. Break a leg.
Ha. Yep. 56 wins and the Conference Finals means you can't win in the NBA without shooters and above the rim players.
Do you not remember that this team knocked yours out of the playoffs with the exact same style two years ago?
It is definitely nice to have a bunch of shooters and dunkers, but all that really matters is stopping your opponent and being efficient on offense. Also getting extra possessions, via turnovers and rebounds is key.
One thing I do know is that whining isn't a part of American basketball.
GroveReb84: The Spurs can very well play contact and physical ball, and they can also run the court and play long ball. That's American basketball. What it is that a one-dimensional teams plays, I don't know, perhaps Russian ball. But it's no recipe for success in the NBA. Frankly, basketball is a game for super players, and your team is lacking. Spurs in six.
@Wolfgang, I don't know that I agree with that as a rule.
For one thing, people in Memphis don't like European style basketball, which basically plays more like soccer (lots of flopping and complaining to refs). We prefer American basketball, which plays more like football (playing through contact and playing physical).
The only major contributor we have that's foreign born is Marc Gasol, and he played his prep ball in Memphis. He's not your typical Euro basketball player.
As far as what the Grizz have to do in this series, it's simply make defensive adjustments and move the ball better offensively.
This team has looked bad in each Game 1 so far in this year's playoffs, but once they start making adjustments, they've been able to clamp down on opponents. The Spurs are a different animal, but I think you'll see a tight series all the way through.
I do have a lot of respect for how smart the Spurs play basketball. That's why I've expected this series to be a hard fought series, but I do think whoever wins it will have been extended to the max to pull out the series.
As a Spurs fan, I will be watching to see how closely the Griz stick to their game plan. The Spurs know that they have the game in hand when teams, when frustrated, try to intimidate the Spurs--and thus abandon their game plan. The Griz are like the Spurs in many ways, and have a great future. One tip: look for more help from foreign teams--Parker, Genobili, Splitter, even Duncan (Virgin Islands) did not develop here.
@J-Val, I agree on Tony, which Chris said as well.
Especially against a team like this who has so many shooters and moves the ball so well, he needs to be on the ball.
I do see where his minutes may need to be limited in this match up moreso than usual, but when he is in the game, I think his value is in guarding Parker. I will be interested to see Lionel's adjustments. He's shown so far that he and his staff are good with adjustments, and once they make them, it's tough for the other team to readjust and do enough to win.
San Antonio is a great team because they play as a team, but they are not unbeatable, and I think they know they're going to have to scrape and claw to get 4 wins out of this series.
As Chris said before the series, Game 1 was way more important for San Antonio than Memphis due to our penchant for getting stronger defensively as the series progresses and we diagnose what it is the opponent does well offensively.
I warned people that there was no way the Grizzlies should be favored over the Spurs, despite the national media jumping on the bandwagon. Here are the reasons I listed:
1. The Spurs have home court. I expect the Spurs to win in 7.
2. The Spurs have great outside shooters, especially from the 3-point range. The Grizz do not. Every time they've been bounced from the playoffs it's been because of their
lack of outside shooting.
3. The Spurs have the most motivation. Every since the Grizz bounced them from the playoffs as an eighth seed, SA has been on a mission of payback.
4. Much as I hate to admit it, POP is the best coach in the league. Lionel isn't chopped liver but he'll have to at least coach Popovich to a draw for the Grizz to advance.
5. SA has the experience in these kind of series and the Grizz do not. Winning championships is a progression. Going from never having advanced past the second round to champions may be too much of a stretch.
In my opinion, the key to this series is Tony Parker. Someone will have to be able to stay in front of him and at least slow him down. If he continues to get into the paint at will, we're through. I say Put Tony on him, plead with him not to make foolish fouls, live with Parker's forays into the lane, and not leave their three-point shooters.
Also, Grizz fans, don't worry, be happy. The team has accomplished a lot. Root for them but don't get all bent out of shape if they lose. I framed the stories of the Grizz clinching against the Clips and OKC. I'm good for this year as long as the Grizz play hard and put up a fight.
By Hannah Sayle, Chris Herrington, Chris Shaw, Louis Goggans, Greg Akers, Bruce VanWyngarden, Jackson Baker and John Branston
download this issue
click here to see more »