Blog Entry

Playoff Fix: Spurs and Grizzlies, do-or-die

Posted on: April 29, 2011 2:54 am
Edited on: April 29, 2011 3:13 am
Where the series stands before Spurs and Grizzlies Game 6. 
Posted by Matt Moore

One Big Thing: How do you respond after a game like that? How does Memphis possibly pick themselves up off the floor after being a blown goaltending call, a Manu desperation step-back off a broken play, and a Gary Neal leaning, game-tying three away from winning their first playoff series in franchise history? The Grizzlies have handled every charge the Spurs have thrown at them and responded. Their mental toughness, as an 8th seed, has impressed everyone. But how they respond to the suckerpunch they suffered in Game 5 may determine whether the Grizzlies' season ends in a heroic upset or an unbelievable collapse. 

The X-Factor: Sam Young is turning into a pretty good player. When Young is rebounding, attacking the rim, and playing off the catch-and-shoot, he's a major asset. When he's trying to create off the dribble, turning the ball over, and committing unnecessary fouls, he's a considerable liability. So, the question is, which Sam Young will show up?  Young wasn't expected to be a factor this season, or in this series. But, with his size and speed on the wing, he's become a problem for the Spurs. A strong performance from young could turn a close game into a big Grizzlies' lead, as was the case in Game 4. 

The Adjustment: The Spurs are used to having the big advantage with Manu Ginobili and George Hill's speed on the wing. The Grizzlies have flipped that advantage on its head by posting both players when matched up against Shane Battier. Battier's not known for his post-work, but then he's usually not matched up against players as soft as those two. Battier's ability to punish both of the shifty wings physically has worn on the Spurs. Both players have the speed to get around Battier into the soft underbelly of the Grizzlies' help defense. But Battier's post defense forces the double, creates passing lanes and opens the offense for Memphis. It's a rather genius move from Lionel Hollins who continues to look one step ahead of Gregg Popovich. 

The Sticking Point: There have been 20 quarters played in this series. The Spurs have won more in the box score, the Grizzlies have won more in the quality-of-play department. This has been an exceptionally close series, despite the Grizzlies' control in the wins column. The Grizzlies have never won an elimination game. The Spurs haven't won a game in Memphis yet in this series. But a win on Friday puts an enormous amount of pressure on the Grizzlies to win a road Game 7. It's do or die for the Memphis Grizzlies Friday night. 

Since: Apr 12, 2011
Posted on: April 29, 2011 11:41 pm

Playoff Fix: Spurs and Grizzlies, do-or-die

Congrats to the Grizzlies!  0-12 going into this year in the playoffs from 3 straight first round sweeps from 2004 to 2006.  This young squad has played an incredible series and their youth served them well.  They seemed to have the added jump and desire all series long.   San Antonio looked like an old, tired bunch.  The last  few minutes of this game showed uncertainty the lack of a sense of urgency needed to extend the series.  Is Zach Randolph really that unstoppable??  I don't think Memphis will be as fortunate in round two however...

Since: Jan 3, 2008
Posted on: April 29, 2011 8:02 pm

Playoff Fix: Spurs and Grizzlies, do-or-die

Tiger, you are assuming a lot of things about the future for the Grizzlies having multiple chances. When you have a team down like this coming home for game 6, you had better win to keep building your young team's confidence. Do you really think the Grizzlies will feel good about their performance if they lose 3 straight to the Spurs, blowing a 3-1 lead? Yep, this is a young team with upside, but there have been plenty of teams like that in the past who never end up with the crown. Memphis can help themselves tremendously by taking down a previous champ when you have a prime opportunity, and don't get me wrong, I like this team but this is a huge chance for them to show the NBA something and they know it. Good luck to them.

Since: Mar 7, 2011
Posted on: April 29, 2011 6:08 pm

Playoff Fix: Spurs and Grizzlies, do-or-die

The Spurs are obviously not looking like a 61 win team....Coach Pop limited his players minutes all year to keep them fresh for playoffs...Duncan & Manu averaged under 30 mins per game & Parker just over 30...Memphis looks bigger, faster & more pumped up than SA...That said, game 6 should be a nip & tuck defensive battle of the 87-84 variety...If I were betting, I'd take the 3 1/2 & go under the 190....Can Duncan put up a 16 pt 12 reb type effort?  You know Manu will get his...So will Parker....Hill & Jefferson are capable too...And Bonner is SA's version of Chicago's Korver...On paper , it's the Spurs...The eye test over the first 5 games goes to Memphis...An interesting battle indeed & I have to check my offshore account now lol.....

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: April 29, 2011 4:37 pm

Playoff Fix: Spurs and Grizzlies, do-or-die

good piece Mr Moore.  You have it about right I think. The question is really Memphis' mental state. They are the better team......they've shown that. I think Hollins is a terrific coach and will have them ready, but its going to be tough, and if they lose this, then SA wins at home and its lights out.  The edge is how well Conley has played Parker. That plus Battier (a big trade that nobody talks about) and Gasol.  The Griz are good....if Mayo can nail a few off the bench, then I think memphis wins.

Since: May 13, 2007
Posted on: April 29, 2011 4:24 pm

Playoff Fix: Spurs and Grizzlies, do-or-die

This is a very difficult game to predict.  On the one hand, I can see the youth and energy of the Grizzlies prevailing.  On the other, I can see the savvy and experience of the Spurs coming through.  The game is pivotal for both teams in their hope to advance.  I would have said momentum favored the Grizzlies before their emotionally crushing loss in game 5.  I can't predict what that did to the confidence of this young team.  I think they get through it playing at home.  But who knows?  Anyhing can happen to a young team in the playoffs.  And it's very hard to count out the very significant experience of the Spurs.  They've been here before, many times.  I'm going to go with the Grizzlies , mostly because they are at home.  But my confidence in this is pretty low.  Should be a good game.

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: April 29, 2011 3:57 pm

Playoff Fix: Spurs and Grizzlies, do-or-die

I'm not at ll sure the Spurs are really up to this road game, the way they seem to be so lethargic.  And the Grizzlies seem really fired up, not to mention playing in front of their home crowd.  I realize the Spurs are a veteran team, but that can sure cut both ways.  They just seem to be tired, and I'll bet the Grizzlies will simply overwhelm them in this game with their youth and energy.  The Grizzlies really need to take advantage of this at home and close out this series.  I would hate to see them go to a game 7 with the Spurs in San Antonio.  Their best chance, by far, is in game 6 at home.  The only thing I see as potentially stopping them is their inexperience with the playoffs.  That youth they have is indeed a two edged sword as well.  I'm looking for them to get through that and prevail in this game.

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: April 29, 2011 2:58 pm

Playoff Fix: Spurs and Grizzlies, do-or-die

I thought the Spurs would easily advance to the second round before this series with Memphis started.  But now Im really worried about this game 6 against the Grizzlies at Memphis.  The Spurs barely won game 5 in San Antonio.  But they are a veteran team with some great talent.  It didn't at all shock me that the Spurs pulled it off. I guess a win is a win, no matter how close it is.  Hopefully the narrowest of home wins sparks the Spurs for the remainder of this series with the Grizzlies.  And with their lack of playoff experience, perhaps the Grizzlies will succumb to the pressure.  This is nothing new for the Spurs.  Been there, done that so many times it's hard to keep track.  But, this is virgin territory for the Grizzlies, and I'm really interested to see what shows up for them in this game.  I can make a good case they will just hammer the Spurs and go on to the next round with some experience under their belt.  And, I can make a good case that says the Spurs use their recent victory as a springboard to propel themselves to a road win here.  I am most interested to see how this game unfolds.  So far it's been a very entertaining series to watch.  I can't even come close to making any reasonable predictions about this game, but I think the Spurs' experience will play a critical role.  I just can't give up on the team with the best record this year in the west.  How do you bet against Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Pop?  It just doesn't seem like a natural thing to do.  I'm certainly pulling for the Spurs in this game, and the series overall, even though they are down a game.  I really can't imagine a round one exit for the Spurs in these playoffs.  I know this hope is a reach, at best, but go Spurs!

Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: April 29, 2011 2:42 pm

Playoff Fix: Spurs and Grizzlies, do-or-die

Grizz are going to dominate!  Series ends tonight!  This young Grizzlies squad just matured in front of our eyes.  

Since: Feb 23, 2009
Posted on: April 29, 2011 2:20 pm

Playoff Fix: Spurs and Grizzlies, do-or-die

Can someone explain to me why eveyone is saying the Grizz are the ones under the most pressure now?  Yes, if they lose they have to go back to San Antonio for game 7.  If the Spurs lose, though, isn't their season over?  Plus, the Spurs themselves have said this season may be the last chance for the team as it exists now.  The same can't be said for the Grizzlies, who will hopefully use this playoff experience as a springboard for years to come.  Would you feel more pressure if you knew it was your last chance at something or if you knew you would have multiple chances in the future?

Since: Aug 18, 2008
Posted on: April 29, 2011 9:16 am

Playoff Fix: Spurs and Grizzlies, do-or-die

san antonio will come back to win this series. No way the grizz are mature enough to overcome that, plus the Spurs did have the best record in the league. I think this will elevate them and their game to the second round, although i couldnt care less about the Spurs.

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