May 19, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guards Tony Parker (9) and Danny Green (4) react against the Memphis Grizzlies in game one of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT
Plain and simple, repeat the performance that happened in game one. Yeah, don’t we wish it were that easy. The San Antonio Spurs completely exploited every asset of the game during their demolishing of the Memphis Grizzlies. Did anyone, and I mean anyone, feel that the Spurs were going to put on a clinic as they did? Of course you did. Why would you think otherwise.
Anyone that follows basketball will know that the adjustments will be talked about and made for the Memphis Grizzlies. For the Spurs to have their way in the paint and shoot 48% from beyond the arc nailing 14 threes, surely the Grizzlies will close-out better on the shooters as well as do what they can to stop Parker’s penetration. The gameplan for the Grizzlies will come and the Spurs themselves know this. So, the question is, what are the keys to victory for San Antonio.
May 19, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; Memphis Grizzlies point guard Jerryd Bayless (7) attempts to score during the fourth quarter as San Antonio Spurs point guard Cory Joseph (5) defends in game one of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT
Push The Ball. What the Spurs did in game one was get the Memphis Grizzlies out of their “Grind-N-Grit” game as they would turn a slow paced game into a fast paced game. Once the Spurs got control and kept their foot on the pedal the Grizzlies seemed to be fading, and fading fast they did. Tony Parker and the rest of the guards did a fantastic job in getting the ball up the floor. This all starts by the outlet passes from the bigs. Duncan, Splitter and Company did not hesitate to pass the ball up the floor and keep the tempo going, this needs to continue in game two.
Ride Kawhi and Green. I was happy to see how well Kawhi played with his knee being a big concern to everyone. He played 29 minutes on his way to 18 points and 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. When he is hitting his jumpers he will be hard to stop with his slashing ability to the rim. He will though be more contested in game two you have to believe. Along with Leonard, Green was involved as he scored 16 points and 3 of 6 from three-land. Combined for 7 of 11 from three and 34 points, if these two can continue this play…..this series will be great for San Antonio.
Make the Grizzlies Play Defense. As we saw, the Spurs had their way running the pick-n-roll against the bigs of the Grizzlies. With the defensive player of the year down on the block, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph could not stop Tony Parker from getting out of the lane. Randolph has slow feet, once Parker blows by, he cannot cover ground. Spurs need to continue to attack them.
Keep Bigs Out Of Paint. Zach Randolph, 1-for-9, 2 points, 28 minutes. The kind of stat line that I sure was surprised in seeing from Randolph in the teams first Western Conference Finals appearance. In game two, he is going to come out and become more aggressive, possibly trying to get the Spurs bigs into foul trouble so he can have his way. What San Antonio did so well was push him and Gasol away from the basket. That takes away from what they want to do in establishing a post game.
Keep Pressure On Ball Handlers. The Spurs forced 12 turnovers. What they did was pressured the Grizzlies guards and all ball handlers to make a decision when they need to. Making them make a rash decision caused the turnovers as well as making them rush into taking bad shots. San Antonio as they did verse Golden State, once they feel you are being taken out of the game, they will continue to make your life a living hell when you have the ball. This was the case in game one and needs to be in game two.