After their dominant performance in game one of the Western Conference Finals, the San Antonio Spurs knew they would not see that same Memphis Grizzlies team in game two. Though, through the first three and a half quarters it sure did seem like the Grizzlies from the first game did start off in the second until they started playing their style of ball, grit-n-grind.
The old school style of play that many remember back in the old NBA days, is the style these Grizzlies love playing. They want the slow paced game. Tony Parker stated it himself after last nights overtime win. When they bring the ball up the floor, the Grizzlies are deadly on defense because they can do so many things. Front post players, play passing lanes, on the run, like many teams, you have to react quick and what Parker was doing during this game sums up that these Grizzlies can’t play this style.
San Antonio though can play any style of game as they have proven. Against the Golden State Warriors we played a high-tempo style game. If they need to sit back and slow the tempo down, helping them in moving the ball around the perimeter to come up with a good shot, they will do so. The Grizzlies should know by now that San Antonio will body up with the best. They have shown that they are willing to throw any pressure on Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Though Randolph finished with 15 points in game two, they were not easy to come by.
All night long, Randolph had a body on him fronting in the post, with someone lurking behind him incase the Grizzlies tried to pass over the top of the defender. Someone was always there and it clearly was frustrating Randolph all game long. Most looks he was giving was deemed for the referees as to stating he was getting held, pushed, bumped, etc. Spurs are doing their job, making him uncomfortable.
They did make a game of it though the Memphis Grizzlies. The Spurs offense seemed to have taken a quick vacation with just under eight minutes to go in the game. They [Grizzlies] went on a 15-2 run to shock not only the Spurs but the fans. The game went into overtime and San Antonio saw what was a 20 point lead, diminished. How did the Grizzlies get to that point, you got it, grit-n-grind. They stepped up their defense by pressuring on the pick and rolls, seeming double-teaming the guards for San Antonio forcing them to throw in-advertant passes.
In the overtime period, Tim Duncan stole the show as he came up big with defense as well as scoring two big buckets. The Spurs escaped overtime with a win and take a commanding two games to zero lead in the best of seven. It may look good on paper now, but the Memphis Grizzlies have proven they can come back and they will scratch, claw, kick, even fake head injuries (yes you Tony Allen) to find a way to win.
Buckle up folks because the Fed Ex Forum will be rocking on Saturday when Games three and four commence in Memphis.