Well, that was fun. The San Antonio Spurs are now 2-1 in overtime games played in this post-season and, once again, only two wins away from another trip to the NBA Finals. Let's not get too giddy though, Spurs fans. This point was where last season's wave finally broke and rolled back.
Due to already existing time restrictions made worse by a 90 minute drive on what is typically a 20 minute work commute, there is no Opening Hash segment today. I know, I know, I know. It's hideous. You're gonna be fine, though.
Continue on for quotes, notes, and other tidbits from last night's game.
Standard Pop Pre-Game Quote
I don't compare teams, I just try to strategize for the team that we're playing because players are different, systems are different, systems are different - So I don't take much from that.
-Pop on if the series against Los Angeles helped his team prepare for Memphis..
- Tony Allen quite a bit of time working on three-pointers and coming off screens. The results were about what you would expect...
- Danny Green was still making shots from the corner despite trainer hitting the ball while it was still coming out of his hand.
- I turned my head just in time to see DeJuan Blair throw down a one-handed alley-oop after I heard someone shout "Incoming!"
- Memphis players were working through their one-on-one drills again. The drill focuses more on the player defending but they need more work defending high screens than they do isolation ball.
- Darrell Arthur and Marc Gasol put more time into facing up 20 feet from the basket.
- Tim Duncan was working on getting rid of the ball as soon as he caught it. No ball fakes, hesitations, or footwork. Just catch and shoot.
- More fans were shouting out "T-Mac" than they were "Manu."
- Tracy McGrady was hitting the three-ball very well from the corner but was front-rimming it from everywhere else beyond the arc.
- Assistant Coach Ime Udoka spent a few minutes talking with Zach Randolph. The two were teammates in Portland during the 2006-07 season.
Lionel Hollins thinking of his favorite scene from "Ernest Goes to Camp." - USA TODAY Sports
The Essential Hash
Be sure to read Fred Silva's recap of last night's game if you haven't already.
The Spurs have zero respect for the outside game of Memphis. Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince have basically been abandoned on the perimeter in Games One and Two.
On one play, Jerryd Bayless moved the ball over to the far perimeter. Tony Allen was planted in the corner but his defender, Manu, was toeing the edge of the lane. Despite Allen having all night and the following morning to shoot the ball, Bayless opted to move the ball back to across to the near side. The open space out on the edge provided Allen with plenty of opportunities to shoot or attack but the Spurs knew it, meaning a successful offensive play from Tony wasn't happening.
But with the temptation of an open look (at first) Allen was able to get off two clean back-to-back looks at the basket, one off isolation and the other on a cut. Allen hit the bottom of the rim on the first and then over-drove his cut and air-balled the second shot.
San Antonio would absolutely love to see the ball rotate to/through Tayshaun Prince's hands every possession. Prince has trouble catching the ball, holds on to the possession too long, tends to dribble in the wrong direction, and takes contested shots he has no hope in making. Tayshaun is the where offense goes to die.
The Spurs will need to be more on guard though in first game in Memphis. Quincy Pondexter plaed all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter and Lionel Hollins rolled with Jerryd Bayless and Mike Conley for most of the fourth as well. The trio scored 11 of the Grizzlies' 21 fourth quarter points and played at a much faster pace than what we typically see from Memphis. Conley, Pondexter, and Bayless only hit a combined 4-14 three-pointers last night but the Spurs perimeter gambles are a bigger risk when Memphis runs that backcourt out there. They're not prolific shooters but they are capable of hot shooting streaks. Pondexter's 5-9 performance from long range in Game One is evidence of that.
Tim Duncan was actually having a particularly frustrating game on offense but was making up for it with a strong game on the other end of the floor. That is, until the foul calls began raining in like a monsoon in the third quarter. Duncan picked up three fouls in roughly a half of a minute, putting the Big Fundamental on the bench with almost 8 minutes remaining in the quarter. Tim got back into the game, three minutes into the fourth but was back out again with his fifth foul only two minutes later.
Duncan's extra time on the bench proved to be of benefit to the exhausted Spurs in overtime. Tim put the team on his back and scored six of the Spurs eight points in extra minutes as well as tallying both a steal and a huge block on Marc Gasol.
Tayshaun was simply a mess on both ends of the court. The veteran forward was well out of position on defense, usually through over-helping and Spurs' off-the-ball motion. It was even worse on offense. Air ball, juggling passes, turnover, getting trapped in the corner, etc. Don't be shocked if you see Quincy Pondexter start in the place of Prince in Game Three.
By the Numbers
- 28 - Missed shots in the first quarter between both teams.
- 20 - Free throw attempts in the second half for Memphis.
- 12 - Points in the paint for Memphis in the first half. The Grizzlies scored 26 in the second half.
- 24 - Combined score of the Spurs first (15) and fourth quarter (9).
- 61 - Combined score of the Spurs second (31) and third quarter (30).
- 12 - Rebound difference in favor of Memphis in the second half.
- 14 - Missed opportunities by Memphis off 19 offensive boards (2-16 FG).
- 4:38 - How fast it took San Antonio to get into foul trouble in the fourth quarter.
- 88:19 - Combined number of minutes and seconds played by Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
- 10 - Memphis advantage in scoring off the bench (34-24).
- 1 - Advantage in rebounds Gasol and Randolph had over the entire starting lineup of San Antonio (32-31).
- 18 - Career playoff high in assists for Tony Parker. Previous high was 14 in 2007.
Bird is the Word
First quarter complete. Spurs and Grizzlies combined to shoot NOPE%— SBNation NBA (@SBNationNBA) May 22, 2013
There's just no reason for Tayshaun to be dribbling, no reason for him to be helping off corner. No reason for his decisions.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 22, 2013
The Spurs are all some variation of Dad.— edsbs (@edsbs) May 22, 2013
Z-Bo at the line, thinks briefly about eating his fingers, instead just licks them.— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneysaen) May 22, 2013
I still want a Matt Bonner/Zach Randolph dunk contest.— Rey-Rey (@TheNoLookPass) May 22, 2013
Fun Fact: Media members are required to call their loved ones before Gregg Popovich post game press conferences. #Spurs— Peter Burns (@PeterBurnsRadio) May 22, 2013
Tried to find a picture of Gregg Popovich during the fourth quarter but those are restricted since he spent most of that time strangling an arena usher. - USA TODAY Sports
- Whether it was intentional or not, Manu did drag Tony Allen to the ground. What was intentional, however, was Allen's acting of a head injury.
- After having the best three quarters you could ever ask of him, Tony Parker almost shut down the entire Spurs offense on his own in the final quarter. It didn't help that there was zero off-the-ball movement when Tony was getting trapped.
- Popovich was rabid mad at his team on several possessions in the fourth quarter, primarily with the lack of urgency with the shot clock.
- The jump ball between Matt Bonner and Zach Randolph was... hilarious.
- Zach Randolph came close to technical in the first half after he and Bonner got tangled up after a missed layup. Zach started getting physical with Bonner as they were coming back up the court but Randolph backed off. Randolph was later two-hand shoving Bonner away from rebounds and loose balls.
- The Memphis play called with 14.6 seconds left in overtime was embarrassing for Lionel Hollins. Bayless came off a Gasol screen at the top of the key and caught the inbounds pass beyond the arc. Jerryd, a career 35% three-point shooter, immediately jacked up the shot while still moving quickly to his left. The shot missed well to the left, off the backboard.
- The body language on the Memphis bench during the first half was that of a team down 3-0, not 1-0.
- Memphis is somewhat similar to the Spurs of the early Duncan era. Two "dominant" big men on a defensive-minded team. Problem for Memphis is that they have precious few sharpshooters patrolling the perimeter, waiting for the kick out.
- Later in the game, Tony Allen finally started to have an impact on the Spurs backcourt. When the offense was trying to go through Manu, Allen was pressing Ginobili out near the halfcourt line and causing the plays to start rolling late into the clock.
Going into Game 3, the Spurs Need to...
...get back to moving the ball and playing their style of offense. The Spurs have controlled almost every quarter of the series but they looked worn down at the end of last night's game, thanks in part to the tightened pressure of the Memphis defense. These next three days will benefit both teams well but the edge may belong to Memphis. Aside from the obvious advantage of playing at home, Memphis doesn't need to worry about losing an offensive rhythm. Hell, they barely have an offense. The Spurs, on the other hand...
Sometimes your worst nightmare is a big lead.
-Coach Popovich after Game Two.