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2017 NBA Playoffs: Grizzlies vs. Spurs Game Two Preview

Grizzlies look to bounce back from embarrassing loss and steal home court from Spurs

NBA: Playoffs-Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (0-1, 0-1 away) vs. San Antonio Spurs (1-0, 1-0 home)

WHERE: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

WHEN: 8:30 PM CT

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: TNT, Fox Sports Southeast, 92.9 ESPN FM Memphis

Injury Report-

Memphis - Tony Allen (Out, calf), Chandler Parsons (Out, knee)

San Antonio - None

Projected Starters:

Grizzlies: Mike Conley, Wayne Selden Jr., Vince Carter, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol

Spurs: Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dewayne Dedmon

Tonight the Grizzlies will look to rebound from their blowout loss to San Antonio in game one of this series on Saturday night. After a first quarter dominated mostly by the Grizzlies, the Spurs regained control and ultimately ran away with the game from the second half on.

If the Grizzlies want to steal home court from the Spurs, here are a few improvements they’ll need.

Help Marc and Mike Out

NBA: Playoffs-Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Marc Gasol was a one-man wrecking crew on Saturday night, tallying up 32 points while shooting 11-18 from the field. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, other than 1st quarter Mike Conley, nobody else showed up. As good a groove as Conley has been in lately, the Spurs have the defenders to slow him down. This means that someone else has to step up and help Marc on offense. Z-Bo, Vince Carter, and JaMychal Green were not good offensively on Saturday, with Z-Bo shooting an atrocious 3-13 from the field. If the Grizzlies want any chance at defeating this Spurs team, someone is going to have to step up to help Gasol and Conley

Survive the Conley-less Minutes

NBA: Playoffs-Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Grizzlies were up 22-9 when Conley went to the bench with 5:15 left in the first quarter. The Grizzlies were only up 28-23 when he returned with less than a minute to go in the quarter. The blame isn’t entirely on Andrew Harrison, but he has to play better for the Grizzlies to win (just don’t throw the ball near Kawhi, ever). Mike has played a ton of minutes the last month or so and already has enough problems to deal with having Kawhi and Danny Green guarding him. Having to play heavy minutes due to the incompetence behind him on the depth chart will only wear him out more. The Grizzlies need to figure out a rotation that allows the team to stay afloat while Conley catches his breath.

The Third Quarter Blues

NBA: Playoffs-Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Grizzlies got outscored 32-15 in the 3rd quarter on Saturday night. It felt like the 500th time this season the Grizzlies have gotten smoked in the 3rd quarter. Gregg Popovich is a great coach, and will make the necessary adjustments for the Spurs to counter the Grizzlies at the halftime break. David Fizdale and his staff need to do a better job at counter-punching what Pop does. I’m not sure why this team always come out of the half flat, but you absolutely cannot do that against a team like the Spurs, who take advantage of every single mistake and gained possession. If the Grizzlies get killed in the 3rd again tonight, we might see more minutes from Wade Baldwin IV and Deyonta Davis than we’d like to see.

The Prediction

The Grizzlies got destroyed by the Spurs a majority of the game, but the Grizzlies showed they can be lethal when they are engaged. The 22-9 run in the early first quarter wasn’t just the result of the Spurs starting the game poorly. The Grizzlies played great defensively and communicated well (it also helps to shoot nearly 70% from the field). That high level of play may be unsustainable for an entire game, but they’ll need more than just one quarter worth of that play if they want to win a game in San Antonio.

I expect the Grizzlies to play much better tonight. An angry Marc and Mike should keep the Grizzlies competitive longer, but I just don’t think the Grizzlies have enough firepower to keep up with this Spurs team. Z-Bo has been ineffective against the Spurs since the 2010-2011 upset and it doesn’t seem likely the Spurs let a inferior player like Troy Daniels or James Ennis III have a career game against them which will result in the Grizzlies heading home down 0-2 in the series.

Spurs 110, Grizzlies 95

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