Marc Gasol and Mike Conley have to get it together if the Grizzlies want to get back into this series.
The next two games are must wins for Memphis. In order to take control of this series and make a push towards the NBA Finals, Memphis must assert themselves and play the type of game they can win. It’s time to get Grizzly.
To write off these Memphis Grizzlies as overwhelmed and unprepared is foolish, because there are a number of reasons why Memphis left San Antonio sans a victory, and two of the most significant are Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
If Memphis is going to make this a series, the Grizzlies will need Mike Conley to play like the star some believe he is. Tony Parker is dominating him. Perhaps not in the pure sense of a one on one match up. but in a more salient sense that Parker’s team is doing what they want and getting what they want offensively.
For years now, Tim Duncan has been the wheel in the middle of the Spurs uber efficient wheel. He has been very effective so far this series because Memphis has not found a way to derail the Spurs’ game plan. A game plan that encompasses inside/outside focus, high to mid post ups coupled with crisp side to side ball movement and drive/kick situations culminating in high percentage shots…also known as Spurs Basketball.
Back to Conley.
He has the game to give Tony Parker fits. He is quick and crafty. He is a good jump shooter. His handle is tight. He will have to inch closer to being a scorer so the Spurs defense is forced to defend multiple scoring options. Right now they are laser focused on making sure Randolph and Marc Gasol do not dominate inside. It almost seems as if they are playing zone because there are always two men within a rotation of Randolph inside.
For San Antonio to respect the Grizzlies on the perimeter, they must consistently produce scoring opportunities for capable perimeter scorers. Tayshaun Prince, Jerryd Bayless, Quincy Pondexter and Tony Allen are legit NBA wing players. They can score in the 10-15 point range and produce those points in different ways. Conley is key because any attention he gets as a scorer takes attention away from his complementary wing players and automatically makes them more effective.
Lastly, if Memphis is to pull even in this series they must gain an edge in the paint. Offensive rebounds could loom large. How will Memphis generate additional shot attempts and give their bigs the confidence to challenge the Spurs front court. I would like to see select situations where all five Grizzly’s attack the offensive glass. This will not work for the entire game because San Antonio would eventually catch on and capitalize with fast break baskets but a tone needs to be set.
The series comes back to San Antonio tied 2-2.