May 21, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (center) and forward Tim Duncan (21) react against the Memphis Grizzlies in game two of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT
Ok, so that game was, ugh. A game that saw the Spurs up 18 points near the end of the third quarter, up 7 with under a minute to go. The Spurs due to exhaustion, stopping what worked, and the Memphis defense forced an unlikely overtime. In overtime Tim Duncan showed why he is by far and away the greatest power forward ever to grace a basketball court in scoring 6 of the Spurs 8 points in OT and helping the Spurs prevail and take a 2-0 series lead.
Tony Parker had a career high 18 assist night by cutting and slicing up the Memphis defense until forced to play the final 18:30 due to the offense sputtering when he would sit. However, he was masterful and a huge reason the Spurs are where they are now. Zach Randolph looking to bounce back from an atrocious game 1 did, kind of, going 6 of 18 pulling down 18 rebounds and having 15 points. Another game where Zach Randolph against the Spurs this year has shot below 40%. Mike Conley lead the scoring for the grizzlies with 18 points, and was pretty much the reason the Grizzlies weren’t totally run out of the building through the first 3 quarters. The Spurs were lead in scoring by Tim Duncan who had 17.
The Spurs are in a solid position, but as has been pointed out adnauseaum, they had a similar lead against the Oklahoma City Thunder until losing 4 straight. The series shifts to Memphis and the Fed Ex forum, considered one of the rowdiest places in the league. The Spurs look to steal 1 and put the series in a headlock. The Spurs will have to literally play their best ball of the year to get this done.
Whos hot: Good lord, how can one call anyone from that game “hot”. That said, I’ll have to go with Tim Duncan and his overtime performance. Sitting on the bench for 17 of 24 minutes of the second half, he stepped up like the Tim Duncan we know and pushed the Spurs to victory.
Who’s not: In what was forced by Spurs design, Tony Allen shot 11, yes 11 times in game 2. Making 2. Allen is especially NOT known for his offense, and him taking 11 shots away from their two big men hurt Memphis. The highlight play of the night easily was the three point attempt where he lined up the seams took his time while the Spurs stood and watched and he easily airballed the shot into Kawhi Leonard’s waiting hands. Couldn’t help but laugh at that shot.
What’s Next: Game 3. It will be a huge game, if the Spurs can pull it off, the series would be in all sense over. If Memphis prevails then the series gets interesting and maybe the demons of last season creep a tiny bit up. That said, this is a totally different series, different teams than 2011, and 2012’s WCF. With the three days off in between, reason would say both teams would be well rested and ready to go for the game.
Kawhi Leonard 12 points 5 of 9, 9 rebounds, 1 block
Kawhi played a fantastic 3 quarters of offense. Made his shots, was aggressive and even made a few tough fall away jump shots. In the fourth and overtime however he didn’t get many offensive opportunities and one has to think his knee really flared up and bothered him, along with the Grizzlies defending him even closer. His defense and rebounding was much better in game 2 than 1, making Tayshaun Prince and Quincy Pondexter virtually invisible. These three days off one would think will be a godsend for the ailing Leonard, and hopefully gives his knee enough of a break so that he can recharge and finish the series as close to 100% as possible.
Tim Duncan 17 points 6 of 14, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists, 2 steals
An interesting night to say the least for the Spurs HOF power forward. Duncan, who in game 1 was passive, not very good, but gave good effort defensively. This game however, he was much better offensively, being aggressive and going right at Marc Gasol when matched up with him. Defensively he was fantastic as he has been these entire playoffs, patrolling the paint and really turning back the clock in that the Grizzlies were forced to the basket and Duncan deterred a lot of shots and blocked or influenced others. These three days off are more than welcomed by Duncan, who after having 3 days off or more usually plays his best basketball.
Tiago Splitter 14 points 6 of 8, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks
Tiago rebounded offensively quite well in this one. The benefit of many nice passes from Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, he cut and dived to the basket for layups and dunks galore. Also what was a quietly done BIG improvement, making 2 free throws in a late game situation. Tiago’s rebounding left something to be desired, but to be fair alot of his work was blocking out not only Gasol but also usually Prince or Pondexter on the defensive end allowing Duncan or others to get the rebound. His defense on Randolph and Gasol was fantastic as he bodied up was not bullied around by either one. While in slight foul trouble, that didn’t deter him in hs aggression defensively. If Tiago can keep up the defensive intensity and convert when given opportunities on the offensive end, the Spurs chances of winning the series become even bigger.
Danny Green 11 points 4 of 8, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 blocks
A very well played game tonight and IMO overall was one of the best players on the court. Green’s defense was great as when he was in the PNR he never got too far away from the ball handler he was guarding. On offense he again made the threes when he was wide open 3 of 4 on the night. His one notable miscue driving to the basket against two players then thinking “Ill pass out” into the hands of the two defenders. In my opinion he didn’t get ENOUGH minutes. He really played sparingly in the second half for some reason, at the expense of Gary Neal, why I’ll never know. Green is an important cog in this team and for him to only get 27 minutes when he played a game that well, is just inexcusable.
Tony Parker 15 points 6 of 20, 5 rebounds, 18 assists, 3 steals
As you look at his stat line you almost are tempted to say “and a partridge in a pear tree”. Just an amazingly great night from the Frenchman. His passing early on was a giant reason the Spurs got out to the comfortable lead finding bigmen down low, to the wings left open again at the three point line. Parker also had the mid range jump shot going in the great third quarter by him as he scored on the pick and roll when left open by the Grizzlie switch man. However, due to the offense stagnating when he went out Parker came back in and played the final 18 mins of play. Near the end of the 4th it was beyond obvious he was fatigued and it showed in his shots being short, however he also forced things to the point of detriment many times. These three days off will allow him to heal, catch his breath, and hopefully look at the tape and realize when to push better and when to move the ball against the good Grizzlies’ defense.
Bench 24 points 9 of 24, 15 rebounds, 2 blocks, 5 assists
The bench had a ragged evening to say the least. Boris Diaw, so effective in game 1 not only defensively but offensively was extremely passive (stop me if this isn’t a broken record) and really hurt the Spurs when he was left open and missed shots. Matt Bonner returned to earth when he was left in to play way too many minutes and his shot was way off the mark in the second half. First half though he was fantastic. Again, way too many minutes, and he and the team suffered in the fourth quarter. Corey Joseph while he continues to struggle offensively, defensively was very solid and rebounded the ball quite quite well. Especially in the overtime when he was brought in for defense on the Grizzlies next to last possession grabbing a huge rebound in traffic and nailing 1 of 2 free throws to ice the game. Manu Ginobili I thought had a very good game, to the point where he should’ve played more minutes, however, he was shockingly passive. A more aggressive Ginobili perhaps changing the dynamic in the horrible fourth quarter. Gary Neal was Gary Neal. Terrible defensively, poor shot selection. He is what he is, he’s been the same player for all season and IMO has got to have mins minutes cut.