Non one expected the Memphis Grizzlies to crumble against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of their 2013 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals match. The Spurs jumped out early and never looked back, cruising to a relatively easy 105-83 win against a team that had quickly become the favorite to advance to the Finals.
Much of the Grizzlies blame is being directed by forward Zach Randolph and the pitiful offensive and defense effort he put up. The All-Star, who typically is one of the scoring catalysts for the team, could only notch two points against an extremely stingy Spurs defense. At no point in the game did Randolph look comfortable. Nothing he was doing away from the ball seemed to get him clear looks at the basket.
No doubt the Grizzlies will be fired up and ready to make up for their lackluster showing in Game 1. They’ve played their worst game of this year’s NBA Playoffs thus far and theoretically it can only get better from here. Major adjustments to spread the Spurs defense out and get more paint penetration are to be expected.
The Spurs are feeling good about themselves right now but Gregg Popovich knows the Grizzlies are much better than the final score of Game 1 indicates. Many shots didn’t fall for the Grizzlies, and that trend could easily reverse in Game 2. Popovich will know to anticipate adjustments by the Grizzlies and if there’s any coach with the experience left in the Playoffs right now to do that successfully, it’s him.
Popovich also knows his team was extremely hot from beyond the arc in Game 1 and that shooting proficiency is not likely to continue to Game 2. The Grizzlies will be much more aware of the Spurs outside shooting and likely guard the line much closer. I would expect the Spurs to start the game by trying to penetrate the lane early and often with Parker to draw the defense in before chucking up too many threes.
Tonight’s NBA 2013 Western Conference Finals Playoff Game 2 between the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs gets underway at 9/6c on ESPN in high definition. Those with a cable or satellite subscription have the options of watching a free live online streaming version of Game 2 here at ESPN3 via a computer, tablet such as iPad, or any Internet connected mobile device. I expect the Grizzlies to come out and live up to their reputation in Game 2, evening the series at one game-a-piece by a 97-93 score with Randolph scoring 23.