The Memphis Grizzlies showed the grit that led their city to fall in love with them as they clawed their way back from a 26-point deficit in the second quarter. They got the Spurs advantage down to four points with 10 minutes left in the final frame, but San Antonio finished the game strong while the exhausted Grizzlies failed to complete what would’ve been a miraculous comeback. Memphis lost 96-82, and they now trail the Spurs 0-2 in their best-of-seven first round series in the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
Some quick thoughts on a game that gave just enough hope to fans to allow for it to be deleted all over again.
- Marc Gasol (4-15) had a miserable shooting game for Memphis one game removed from his terrific performance to begin the series, whereas Zach Randolph (9-18) and Mike Conley (8-18) had much better outings. There has to be a complete shooting/scoring game from Randolph/Conley/Gasol for the Grizzlies to win this series. Period.
- The officiating tonight was...not the best. Granted, the Grizzlies foul a lot, and the Spurs shooting 32 free throws (and making 31 of them) is not overly surprising. But the fact that Memphis only took 15 is a bit of an eye-opener; there were multiple occasions where Mike Conley or Marc Gasol would drive to the rim with a lot of contact and no call would be made. Kawhi Leonard (37 points on 14 shots) had 19 free throws and made them all. The Grizzlies only had 15. That seems just a bit one-sided.
- Memphis played well in the second half, starting Zach Randolph and playing big with JaMychal Green at the 3. They forced turnovers, competed with more energy, and found and converted better shots. Z-Bo’s double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds helped get the Grizzlies going on that comeback. Look for more of that coming into the rest of this series.
That effort in the second half was what Memphis fans expected from their Grizzlies. But they cannot overcome the Spurs after giving up that much of a lead. If Memphis hopes to turn this series around in FedExForum, they must find a way to keep the game close and allow for their stars to be less exhausted as the game closes. The Spurs had wide open shots late due to their ball movement and dribble penetration, but also because the Grizzlies didn’t have the legs to recover.
The series now shifts to Memphis, where the Grizzlies hope a couple days off will help them get right and that some home cooking and rest will be what they need to turn this series around. Game three is Thursday night.