What the San Antonio Spurs did Sunday afternoon in game one of the Western Conference Finals should not be a huge surprise to anyone……well maybe the play of the Memphis Grizzlies.
San Antonio knows that the Memphis team they saw on Sunday night, surely won’t be the team they will see in game two. They will make the much needed adjustments to put up more of a fight. In watching this game, what caught me by surprise is the defense they played on the three ball.
Memo to the Grizzlies, the Spurs have shooters. If they did not know, now they know. San Antonio nailed 14 three pointers in game one. All of which made way by the play of Tony Parker and his penetration to the lane. There was one point in the game when on Parker’s penetration, all five Grizzlies players collapsed on him and left three wide open shooters on the outside. Illustration below, credit to Dan McCarney of San Antonio Express-News.
If you remember this play, you will know that Leonard ended up hitting the three in the corner but you can also see that Parkers other options were pretty good, Manu Ginobili and Matt Bonner.
The Spurs exploited the area that the Grizzlies are going to have a rough time in defending this series, pick-and-roll defense. Zach Randolph is a huge liability when it comes to the pick-and-roll defense. With his slow moving feet, it makes it impossible for him to recover at all on defense.
If Memphis can’t find a way to stop the penetration of Parker and closing out better on the shooters, it will rain, rain, rain (sorry had to get my Bruno Mars song on, no? Okay.)
Kawhi Leonard was 4-of-5, Matt Bonner 4-of-6, Danny Green 3-of-6.
One last thing, Welcome to the Western Conference Finals Memphis.