Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio SpursSan Antonio, Tx
May 21, 2013, 8:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: ESPN - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI
So did everyone else enjoy Game 1 as much as I did? Yes? Awesome. I'm happy everyone had a good time. The San Antonio Spurs played about as flawlessly as possible, steamrolling the Memphis Grizzlies on the way to a 105-83 win. The Spurs were on fire, shooting 49% on 14-29 from beyond the arc, including 4-6 from the Red Mamba himself.
But, unfortunately, this won't be the norm for this series. The Spurs will regress back to the mean, and the Grizzlies will grit and grind their way back to normal. Meaning, of course, that people like Matt Bonner probably (emphasize "probably") won't be on fire from deep again, and there will be no more blowouts of this nature again in this series.
Both Lionel Hollins and Mike Conley suggested that their defense was over-rotating throughout the game. Their poor defensive effort led to Parker penetrating the lane seemingly at will, and once he was there it was only a matter of time before he found an open shooter for a three-point attempt. For a smart defensive team like the Grizzlies, it's fairly certain that they will work on not making that same mistake again.
When Memphis goes back to the drawing board, they will also see that Zach Randolph had a terrible Game 1 scoring-wise. Z-Bo finished with 1-8 shooting, and was getting more and more frustrated as the game went on. The reason for his struggles is a pretty simple: The Spurs bullied him down low. Which, is ironic because bullying post tactics are how Memphis won the 2011 series between these two teams. Continuing this tactic may not work in Game 2, because there's no telling how the referees will call the rest of the series, and bullying a bully can only last for so long.
However, it was nice to see the Duncan-Splitter defensive post tandem working well. Even though they won't be able to be as rough in Game 2, that success should continue. Both players are very good defensively, and are more than capable of continuing to play Gasol and Randolph pretty well.
The Spurs will have to keep their ball movement going, as they assisted on 28 of the 40 shots made in Game 1. That movement is based on the penetration of Parker and Ginobili, and while I expect Memphis to ratchet up their perimeter defense a bit, Parker and Ginobili are wily enough to continue to get in the lane. From there, it comes down to making shots, which is something the Spurs are generally quite good at, but luck is involved, so we'll see if the ball bounces in San Antonio's favor.
One thing I would like the Spurs to do better is guarding Jerryd Bayless and Quincy Pondexter. In the third quarter, those two made a 10 point run on their own that cut the Spurs lead to six. While the Spurs were able to stop the run, but they can't afford to let these guys get going, no matter the score. They are the Grizzlies main options off the bench, and are responsible for a lot of the team's three point field goals. The Spurs will have to play better pick and roll defense on the slippery Bayless so he can't get any midrange shots off the dribble, or a look at the rim. They'll also have to manage to not leave Pondexter open in the corner for open threes, where he has shot at an otstanding rate of 45%.
All in all, Game 1 was fun, but it's not really indicative of how this series will go. So buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Grizzlies perspective can be found here: Grizzly Bear Blues
Game Prediction: The Grizzlies battle back tough, but the Spurs ultimately win Game 2 by 4.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area. Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate.
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