Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs Memphis Grizzlies, Western Conference Finals, Game 4

Kevin C. Cox

The San Antonio Spurs look to close out the Western Conference Finals strong with a possible sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 4, but will the Big Bad Blue Bears play better with their backs to the wall?

San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies

FedExForum, Memphis, TN
May 27, 2013, 8:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: ESPN - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

The San Antonio Spurs face off against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 4 of the 2013 Western Conference Finals of the National Basketball Association. The Spurs took a crucial Game 3, 104-93, in overtime after overcoming a 16 point deficit after the first quarter. Stellar play from the Spurs' Big 3 of Tim Duncan (24 points on 11-19 shooting, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks), Tony Parker (26 points on 11-22 shooting, 5 assists), and Manu Ginobili (19 points on 9 shots, 7 rebounds (3 offensive!), 5 assists, and only 1 turnover) paced the team.

As I type this game preview, it is my 21st birthday. And no, it is not as big a deal as it is over in the United States, mainly because of their alcohol thing. The Spurs have a decisive lead, but nothing is certain in the NBA, and I do hope that the team steps on the Grizzlies' throats once more for this game. Move the ball, attack the basket, and play great defense, and they'll punch their ticket to the Finals once more.

Coming into the series, I thought that it was going to be on the Grizzlies to adjust, not the Spurs. They faced two good but flawed teams in the previous two rounds. The Clippers had a superstar point guard in Chris Paul and led 2-0 after two games, yet the Grizzlies figured out that they could not play a lot of defense, exacerbated by the fact that Blake Griffin played with a bad ankle after Game 3. A combination of injuries, incompetent coaching (Vinny del Negro continuing to stick to his old veteran in Chauncey Billups when it was more apparent that Willie Green could not only hit open 3s, but also finish in transition), and the Grizzlies getting stops when they needed them would turn it into a backdoor sweep.

The Thunder were largely the same: a star guard, a star forward, and the same problems as in the first round. Russell Westbrook tore his meniscus in Game 2 against Houston, and although Reggie Jackson performed well enough, the Thunder offense lost its je ne sais quoi. Incompetent coaching once more (riding Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, and Kevin Martin even if they were all useless in their designated roles; giving the ball to Durant for him to brick shots or turn it over once crowded on offense; riding Derek Fisher [okay, now that was actually a good idea]) reared its head, and Scott Brooks made Lionel Hollins look intelligent. The Grizzlies defense was markedly better than the previous round since they only had to worry about stopping Kevin Durant, even if the Thunder played much better defense than the Clippers. Even then, it was the closest gentleman's sweep you'd see in the NBA.

Now, they're facing the Spurs and are in a 0-3 hole. This is a team whose abundance of offensive playmakers puts pressure on their defense, whilst facing the team that, defensive rating-wise, is the best defensive team in the playoffs. This, combined with the Spurs' depth (Pop is still using a 10 man rotation in the Conference Finals -- just think about that for a while) should give the Grizzlies an uphill battle.

Oh, and Pop's teams have always finished a series where they led 3-0 in 5 games at worst.

Lineups

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

Key Bench Players
Manu Ginobili
Boris Diaw
Cory Joseph

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 San Antonio Spurs march to their fifth franchise Finals. Spurs by 6.

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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