An Early Farewell to Memphis
*Photo via sportspagenetwork.com
After a dominating 106-74 win against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their first round series, it’s hard to imagine anyway the San Antonio Spurs will lose this series, let alone lose one game.
The Grizzlies have hobbled their way into the playoffs losing 10 of their last 11 games, a result of losing their two best players in Marc Gasol and Mike Conley to season ending injuries. By comparison, the Spurs were handed their first home loss in the 80th game of the season.
In years past, Memphis has been able to make considerable playoff runs by forcing opponents to play their slow-tempo, physical style. This year that won’t happen.
Memphis will have a terribly difficult time creating offense, let alone holding on to the ball against the number one rated defense in the league. In game one, the Grizzlies had 16 turnovers, four of which were forced by the crowned Defensive Player of the Year, Kawhi Leonard, a substantial amount by a team that can only thrive if they protect the basketball.
Given their leading scorer in game one was a 39-year-old veteran, the Grizzlies posted their lowest scoring game of this season. They’ll have to find a way to get Zach Randolph going if they have any shot in pulling out a game.
On the contrary, San Antonio’s offense may not be glittered with praiseworthy scorers, but their commitment to ball movement and finding the best shot possible can brutalize and debilitate an already broken down team like Memphis. This play was on display Sunday night and will be indicative of the remaining games this series.
The San Antonio Spurs would be stupid to let their foot of the gas for a second considering what awaits them in the next two rounds. Their best bet would be to clean sweep Memphis quickly and hope Dallas can pull one game off against OKC. Expect to see three San Antonio wins in the next three games or you’ll see Popovich fuming on the sidelines.