Recently Air Alamo Lead Editor, Michael Rehome, had a chance to interview co-founder Jeff Garcia of Project Spurs. We asked him some tough questions about the upcoming Spurs/Grizzlies series. Here’s what he had to say.
Michael Rehome: First off, tell us a little bit about yourself for fans that do not know whom Jeff Garcia is?
Jeff Garcia: I am the co-founder and Content Manager at Project Spurs.com. I am also the host of the Project Spurs-News 4 San Antonio Spurs Roundtable TV Show and having been covering the Spurs for way too long. Ha.
MR: The San Antonio Spurs/Memphis Grizzlies will be a great one we all know. Who do you feel has to be that player for both teams to carry them to a series victory and onto the NBA Finals?
JG: For Memphis, Mike Conley. He has been a thorn in the Spurs’ side for seasons and will once again have to cause problems for the Spurs. In the post season he has been stepping up in his stats across the board and if he gets going, he can be a handful for Tony Parker and the Spurs’ defense. If he starts knocking down shots that will only free up space for Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph to do some serious damage on San Antonio’s frontline. Here is Mike’s line versus the Spurs this season: 18 points, 5.5 assists, 46% shooting from the field, 90% from the free-throw line and snagged 9 boards.
For San Antonio,Tiago Splitter. Tim Duncan, and Tony Parker will have their plate full contending with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley but there is also Zach Randolph who will prove to be an issue. Gasol is playing great this postseason but against the Spurs in the regular season Z-Bo scored 14.3 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and handed out 1.5 assists in four games versus the Spurs.
Now granted, both Duncan and Splitter will more than likely take turns guarding Z-Bo but if Splitter can lighten the load in the paint for TD, get Gasol and Randolph in foul trouble, and make those two bigs work defensively, then the Spurs will have a great shot at winning the battle in the paint and the series.
MR: There are many people to take the Memphis Grizzlies over the San Antonio Spurs because of their bigs. Do you think this is a cause of concern for San Antonio?
JG: Absolutely. The two combined for 28 points, 16 rebounds, 5 blocks, shot 43.5% versus the Spurs in 4 games this regular season. Needless to say they cause issues for the Spurs.
However, the Spurs already dealt with two other solid bigs (Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol) in the postseason, so hopefully this will help them in the WCF.
MR: Mike Conley has stepped up his play in the playoffs, especially during the Thunder series. Do you see him having the same success against Tony Parker?
JG: The series will more than likely come down to these to players.
In six postseason games, head-to-head TP is averaging 19.7 points versus Conley’s 14.3 points. Parker is shooting 46% against Conley’s 39%. And though Parker may have on the individual battle, Conley and Memphis hold a 4-2 postseason record against the Spurs.
MR: Kawhi Leonard is becoming a star before our eyes. How much do you think his nagging knee problems will effect him this series?
JG: It will and it is something to be concerned about for San Antonio. Without him, they lose offense and defense, youthfulness, athleticism, and a reliable three-point shooter.
But he is young, and everyone still playing is banged up. Just fight through it Kawhi!
MR: We all can remember back to 2011 when Memphis eliminated San Antonio from the Playoffs. Do you see this years Grizzlies team better than that team or the same?
JG: A bit better. They got more playoff experience, added veteran leadership with Tayshaun Prince, have rallied without Rudy Gay, and Gasol and Randolph have only gotten better.
MR: Prediction time. I have to put you on the spot. Who wins this series and why?
JG: Spurs in 7. This will be a war. A battle of smash-mouth defense (Memphis) vs. a potent offense (Spurs). Crazy huh? Remember a time the Spurs wanted to keep the score below 100? How times have changed.
Our thanks to Jeff Garcia for taking the time out to interview with us. You can visit Project Spurs anytime here.