Grizzlies – Spurs Couldn’t Be Closer

Photo: REUTERS/Eric Gay/Pool

Last night’s Memphis Grizzlies- San Antonio Spurs NBA playoff game was just another example of how San Antonio still has the magic. Led by Tony Parker’s 18 assists, they outlasted the Grizzlies’ furious comeback from 18 points down to pull it out in overtime, 93-89.

Game three should be a branburner now that the Grizzlies have shown that they can hang with the Spurs. Remember, they were down 2-0 to the Clippers too before winning and taking that series. They had some tough games in the OKC series as well.

I wouldn’t shortchange the Grizzlies. On the comeback, Michael Conley of the Grizzlies said, “We looked at the scoreboard and said, ‘We’ve been here before…We’ve been down 16. If we get a couple of stops … one, two, three stops in a row, we’ll get a chance to win. We started getting stops, we started getting in transition, the pace improved and everybody got a bit of momentum from it.”

A pre-game talk by Grizzlies’ coach Lionel Hollins inspired the team to overcome adversity, and have that Kobe Bryant-like “mamba mentality”. Kobe said, “If you see me in a fight with a bear, prey for the bear”. Ive always loved that quote. Thats “mamba mentality” we don’t quit, we don’t cower, we don’t run. We endure and conquer.” We call it The Kobenator.

But whatever you call it, the Grizzlies had it last night. Despite Tony Allen’s funny flop, it was a clever move that worked, and you have to give him credit for doing anything he could to make a difference for his team.

Looking ahead though, personnel-wise, Memphis is in a bit of quandry with Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince vs. Jerryd Bayless and Quincy Pondexter. The latter pair led the Memphis comeback in the third quarter, but then in overtime, Bayless did his Carmelo Anthony imitation, chucking up shot after shot, missing left and right, and therein lies the issue.

With Allen and Prince, you have much better defense, but less of a threat offensively, letting the Spurs gang up on Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph in the post. With Bayless and Pondexter, you get better outside shooting and a more balanced offense, but lose on the defensive end, and have to deal with Bayless’ chucking. So choose your poison, Grizzlies fans.

The answer obviously, is to use all four players when needed, which is what they do, but it seems that Hollins doesn’t interchange them often enough. Switching it up more often might keep the Spurs on their heels a bit more, but that is micro-managing the situation, and Lionel might not want to do that.

Regardless, this is shaping up to be a great series, and I like the Pacer’s chances to make it a series vs. the Heat. But my pick is the Heat in six.

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