Who: 2) San Antonio Spurs at 7) Memphis Grizzlies
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
When: 12 PM CST
How to Watch: ESPN, FSSE
More From the Spurs: Pounding The Rock
Grizzlies-Mike Conley (Out, Achilles), Marc Gasol (Out, Foot), Brandan Wright (Out, MCL), Jarell Martin (Out, Foot)
Game 3 Recap:
After pounding the Memphis Grizzlies in Games 1 and 2 by double digits, the Spurs played a close one in FedEx Forum on Friday night. Zach Randolph had his best game in the series so far with 20 points and 11 rebounds. In addition, Matt Barnes had 17 points himself. For the Spurs, Kawhi Leonard was the star with 32 points and 4 steals. The Grizzlies won quarters two and three, but the Spurs won the fourth quarter by 10 and pulled away to a nine point win (96-87). As a team, the Spurs had 10 steals while the Grizzlies only had four. However, Memphis crushed the Spurs on the boards, 48-39. Despite a rowdy crowd and a huge effort from Memphis, it just wasn't enough against the elite San Antonio Spurs. Now, Memphis finds itself down 3-0 and fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive on Sunday afternoon.
Keys to Victory:
1. Leave It All On The Court:
The Grizzlies gave a home run effort on Friday night, which was the main reason why the game was so competitive. The Memphis crowd rallied behind the home team, and that fueled the Grizzlies' efforts. They're going to need that same kind of crowd and that same kind of max effort today in order to stand a chance against the Spurs. Memphis has nothing to lose, and the Spurs have everything to lose. Go for every loose ball. Fight for every rebound.
Memphians showed out on Friday night for the home team. Hopefully they'll do the same on Sunday. The energy from the crowd fueled the Grizzlies and added an exciting element to the game that had been lacking before. Grizz nation will surely show out against today, and it's the Grizzlies' job to make them proud. For the Grizzlies to win, they're going to have to play a near-perfect game. All heart, grit grind.
2. Limit Kawhi Leonard:
The reigning DPOY has showed up big in this series so far. His point totals so far through three games are 20, 13, and 32. Lance Stephenson and Matt Barnes have to do a better job at limiting Leonard to stand a chance in this one. He's been an unstoppable force on both ends of the court. On the defensive end, he's had 10 steals so far in this series. The Grizzlies probably can't keep Leonard totally contained, but they should prioritize limiting him to less than 20 points. If they can do that, Memphis might be able to snatch a win in the Forum today.
3.Vets, Stand Up
Memphis' veterans need to really show out on Sunday. Players like Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, and Vince Carter have to be prominent leaders in this one on both ends of the floor. Vince Carter has had a good series so far, as he's averaging 10.3 PPG in three games. On the other hand, Tony Allen has had a rough going. In this series, he's averaging only eight PPG on 29.2% shooting. In game three, he was 0-8 from the field and got his 5 points from the free throw line. Zach Randolph has also had a rocky showing, with his best game being the double double on Friday night. Randolph has really struggled with the LaMarcus Aldridge guarding him. But his 20 point performance in game three was encouraging. The bottom line is this: Memphis remaining (uninjured) veterans need to have solid performances.
At this point, the Grizzlies have literally nothing to lose. If Memphis wins, they don't get swept and force another game in San Antonio. If they lose, the season ends, and we can begin looking ahead to free agency this summer and the draft. Either way, this undermanned Grizzlies team owes its home crowd a strong effort. This season has been full of ups and downs, to say the least. And the Grizzlies are definitely underdogs in this one, as they have been in the previous three games. But that shouldn't stop them from laying it all out on the court and giving the Memphis crowd something to cheer about. It's incredible that this team made the playoffs considering all of the injuries. Why not shock the world one more time, for pride's sake?
Grit n' Grind 'till I die.