Game Preview: Spurs look to shut down the Grizzlies Grindhouse in Game 3

GOATPUFF don't care 'bout your triple teams. - Ronald Martinez

The San Antonio Spurs once again are in familiar territory, but now armed with the right amount of experience to not let history repeat itself. The Memphis Grizzlies, in the playoffs so far, compare favorably to a tactical boxing master, able to take the hits early while slowly starting to figure things out as the battle goes into the deep rounds. I sense an all-out war about to happen in the Grindhouse in Game 3, and it's going to be fun.

San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies

San Antonio, Tx
May 25, 2013, 8:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: ESPN - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

I feel like not only did the San Antonio Spurs get their much needed rest during that three-day break, but us fans, too. We got some time off from worrying if the Spurs will experience the inevitable fold-up that many keep anticipating after the team's playoff performances in the past seasons. On another note, hopefully the fans got to step back and think about the reality that arguing with every "hater" that the Spurs are "hated" by national media is never a winning proposition. Never has, never will be. Now, can we just all focus on basketball? Kthx.

(BUUUUUT IT'S SO MUCH FUN TO ARGUE AND PLAY THE IGNORED CARDDDDDD!)

So what else is there to talk about coming into this game after almost every single thing that has happened so far has been discussed? Well, let me refresh your mind first by listing down the things we read about during the break:

  • Tony Parker got an MRI on his ailing calf (Darn you, Jarrett Jack and your calf-kicking streakiness!). He says he's fine, but expect Tony Allen to pull out all the tricks in the bag to test that thigh.
  • Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins is being bugged about his impending free agency. Not quite The Decision, but he's one of the better coaches in the league and it's no surprise that even the LA Clippers are interested. By the way, Vinny del Negro's hair and coaching, you will be sorely missed. Every bit of you.
  • Former grit-and-soft grinder "General" Greivis Vasquez is undergoing ankle surgery Not really related, but boy, am I glad he's not on this edition of the Grizzlies.
  • There's a battle of the barbecues going on between the mayor of San Antonio and Memphis. I don't know what in the world is going on. After taking a few days evaluating which actor Tony Allen best emulated during his award winning acting job in Game 2, the NBA video committee, with Nicolas Cage leading the race most of the way, finally decided to give the nod to the actor below, and fine Allen $5,000 for good measure. There IS a god.

  • But hey, maybe Allen's not such a bad guy after all. #prayforOKC
  • Tim Duncan, all 80 years old of him, got voted in to the All-NBA First Team, an amazine, otstanding achievement. He's one of the all-time greats, people. Also, the young big men of this league should be ashamed. Really. More of you should be lining up at Duncan's gym (or Garage?) in the offseason, just like what Roy Hibbert did.
  • Tony Parker also got voten onto the Second Team, a very well-deserved honor. Feel free to continue hating on Chris Paul, too.
  • Nando de Colo, chemistry-killer. Seriously, dude. Just shut up, take a page out of T-Mac's book and score 13 points in 35 seconds feel honored to be at this stage, in your first year in the NBA to boot. There are so many players out there who'd want to be in your shoes. I really hope that those statements do not make him lose sight of his long term goals, and that he learns from this experience next season. If not, Patty Mills has the go signal to choke him with the rally towel.
  • Kawhi Leonard, future Olympian. Awwww yeahhhhhh
  • Then, there was this. Let me just say that I believe Timmy will overcome this, and continue being a blessing to us Spurs fans. Now, let's not further talk about the issue, ever again. Mmmkay?

On to the game. Yes, I'm going to actually attempt to provide "analysis" a.k.a. my totally biased, rose-colored glasses opinion coming into Game 3. I haven't written anything for so long now. You know that feeling when there's just too many things to say but at the same time you don't know how to express them? Yeah, that's kinda like me. So my apologies if this preview is not quite the triumphant return. I still love you all, so there's that.

Did Memphis turn a corner by losing a close Game 2? Don't think so. I re-watched that terrible Spurs fourth quarter where the Grizzlies made their run, and there were just about as many wide-open shots generated in that period as it was in previous quarters. Rob Mahoney did a terrific job breaking down several of those 4th quarter plays, and after looking at those, Pop shouldn't be too worried about their offense getting shut down for four quarters.

Still, that Game 2 result couldn't have played out any better for the Spurs. The team won, and barely escaped to keep some form of appropriate fear, as Pop likes to call it, going as they take their talents to the Grindhouse. Want to hear another good thing? The Silver and Black Will. Not. Be. Intimidated. Memphis has a terrific crowd (maybe even better than the Roaracle crowd) and will try to sway a ton of referee calls to their team's favor, but that series with the Golden State Warriors, in highsight, prepared this team for so many things; like keeping their composure in hostile territory.

That said, this team still has opportunities to get better. Manu Ginobili hasn't really had a terrific game so far, and we can at least expect ONE game where he goes bananas per series. I think Tim Duncan will be able to avoid foul trouble going forward, and that Coach Pop will continue to improve in managing Tony's minutes. And even if he's scored double-digits and played well in the first two games, Kawhi Leonard will continue to improve as he realizes that he's so much better than Tayshaun Prince and Quincy Pondexter. And as J. Gomez put out there, Matt Bonner in all his gingerness just makes sense.

What about the what-ifs? The biggest concern for me before was Memphis going all Oklahoma City Thunder on us -- stealing the Spurs' identity. But then you can shoot that possibility down quickly by the mere fact that the Grizzlies don't have the same personnel. Grizzlies players are long and smart defenders, but they aren't the athletic freaks that the Thunder are. No one player in that team outside of Z-Bo (and that's already stretching it) is capable of going on an offensive explosion like Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook. On the other end, the Spurs have Parker, AND have more depth to keep throwing at Memphis. As long as the Spurs keep playing basketball the way they do, we have a very, veeeery good chance of winning. Don't just expect everything to be a blowout since the Grizz are a really good team, too, and a group who has proven to be capable of turning things around.

Lastly, a note on Tony Parker. That first three quarters of Game 2 was just about as fantastic a game I've seen him play. I've always believed that Tony has to be transcendent in the playoffs for the Spurs to be able to overcome all comers. The quality of his performances have been improving steadily, and it's particularly impressive this series knowing that the Grizzlies are great at stopping people. He's the man, as simple as that.

Now, let's step on the enemy's throats, burst their confidence bubble, take away their lunchboxes and extinguish their flickering hope.

(Make sure to not miss out on the poll!!!)

(I have a Twitter too, but nobody cares these days. Alright, you got me and that was actually just a shameless plug.)

Lineups

Starters
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Tim Duncan
C: Tiago Splitter

Key Bench Players
Manu Ginobili
Boris Diaw
Matt Bonner

Head Coach
Gregg Popovich

Lineups

Starters
PG: Mike Conley
SG: Tony Allen
SF: Tayshaun Prince
PF: Zach Randolph
C: Marc Gasol

Key Bench Players
Jerryd Bayless
Quincy Pondexter
Darrell Arthur


Head Coach

Lionel Hollins

Grizzlies perspective can be found here: Grizzly Bear Blues

Game Prediction: The Grizzlies come out of the gates liek gangbusters but the Spurs' collective composure allow them to stay in the game and ultimately pull out the victory and dash Memphis' dreams.

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.

Get your San Antonio Spurs tickets here!

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