The Grizzlies beat the Spurs in game 3 of the first round of the NBA playoffs. It was a great Grit and Grind display by Memphis with Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol delivering 20+ point performances. San Antonio still leads the series 2-1.
That was classic Grizzlies playoff magic. A really fun night.— Peter Edmiston (@peteredmiston) April 21, 2017
Zach Randolph: A
21 points, 8 rebounds in 29 minutes (+5)
Randolph was a man on a mission, and he would not let the Grizzlies lose this one. The veteran schooled everyone who tried to stop him with jab step jumpers, bullying Pau Gasol and David Lee in the post, a rare dunk in transition, and a three pointer as the crowd acknowledged his play. Z-Bo is also a better match-up to defend Aldridge. He proved that two years ago in the Memphis-Portland playoff series, and did the same last night. He’s finding his groove and that’s a great sign for Memphis on the way forward.
Mike Conley: A
24 points, 8 assists in 34 minutes (+20)
Conley is playing at All-Star level over the last couple of months. Not only did he leave Parker scoreless but he ran the team with mastery on the offensive end. His floaters and triples were also falling.
Marc Gasol: A
21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists in 35 minutes (+11)
This is the Marc Gasol Memphis needs, locked-in on defense and aggressive on the other end. After Gregg Popovich's adjustements after game 1, nothing comes easy for him on offense, but he still found ways to score. He was also 2-for-2 from downtown.
James Ennis III: B+
12 points in 20 minutes (+0)
Ennis is definitely the best defender on Kawhi Leonard with Tony Allen on the sidelines. He still fouls too much but the task is not easy given the level of play of the otherworldly Spurs wingman. Ennis finally knocked down one from the perimeter. Having him in double digit points would be huge for Memphis.
Wayne Selden: B
10 points in 28 minutes (+11)
Selden did his part last night. He scored two triples, defended Leonard reasonably well, and attacked the rim when he had to. There’s not much more you can ask from him considering the circumstances.
It's a party down in Memphis. Wayne Selden flying high. pic.twitter.com/uqo3svl9G2— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) April 21, 2017
JaMychal Green: B-
8 points, 6 rebounds (+17)
This was the best game by Green in the series. He was able to show some of his most appreciated skills: hustling, finalising fast breaks, and scoring on put-back dunks. His offseason negotiations will certainly be impacted by his play in this series.
Andrew Harrison: B-
5 points, 6 assists in 25 minutes (+2)
The backup point guard checked in and Patty Mills went off for eight quick points. Harrison improved afterwards, defended better, and distributed the ball well on the offensive end.
Wayne Selden and Andrew Harrison just hit consecutive 3s for Grizzlies. You just don't know how big that is for those rookies and this team.— Michael Wallace (@MyMikeCheck) April 21, 2017
Vince Carter: C
4 points in 36 minutes (+10)
Carter looked a bit worn out. He has logged too many minutes lately for his age. What seems clear at this stage is that he will not be paired with Leonard on the defensive end.
Half. Man. Still. Amazing. pic.twitter.com/C04wPfm6Zx— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 21, 2017
Coach David Fizdale: A-
One thing I love about the NBA Playoffs is the coaching adjustments in the middle of the series. Fizdale has done that well. He is now starting Randolph and Ennis because they are better defenders for Aldridge and Leonard.
His rant definitely sparked a team that could have crumbled after the second consecutive loss in San Antonio. His words also engaged the crowd which was fantastic throughout the game. A well invested $30,000.
The Grizzlies’ defensive intensity was much better. San Antonio struggled to move the ball smoothly and turned the ball over often. The double teams on Leonard were very aggressive and the strategy paid off.
Offensively, Memphis was in attack mode. The core three knew they would need to combine for around 60-70 points to have a chance to win, and they delivered. The role players also performed well. When the defense clicks and the three ball goes in, the Grizzlies are a dangerous team.
I do not give Fizdale an A or an A+ because he played Gasol and Conley for a long stretch during garbage time while the Spurs stars were on the bench. Memphis needs rested players for tomorrow's game 4, which will certainly be another big time challenge!