The Grizzlies return to FedEx Forum arena tonight, where they haven’t lost a playoff game yet. Memphis has arguably been the most dominant home team in the playoffs. But this trip back home isn’t the same as the previous ones. The San Antonio Spurs are a different monster than we’ve seen before. Tonight is their chance to put the series away.
San Antonio’s mindset is one game at a time. All they have to do is win this one away game and the series is basically a wrap. The Grizzlies had to deal with the great wall of San Antonio, Tim Duncan, in the first two games. This Spurs team knows how to go into another team’s building and suck the life out of it.
Memphis must prevent San Antonio from getting comfortable early in the game. It is essential that the Grizzlies start out strong. They must treat the first quarter like it’s the fourth quarter. Randolph and Gasol need to attack Duncan early. Mike Conley needs to make Parker use a lot of energy so Parker wears down on offense.
The Grizzlies found themselves in a 0-2 hole in the first round against the Clippers. However, they owned up to their responsibilities and totally outworked the Clippers the rest of the series. Memphis needs to hit San Antonio in their weak spot just like they did against the Clippers. Make San Antonio work for every little bit. Deny Duncan the ball in the post and make Parker move nonstop when he’s on defense.
Zach Randolph, the Grizzlies’ X-factor, has struggled in this series. He can’t get many of his shots to fall but there is no need to panic for Randolph. He should be able to work his way out of this slump by continuing to go strong to the hoop and drawing fouls. He also must realize that Marc Gasol, a viable option on offense, is there to help him.
In San Antonio’s case, every game is one they expect to win. Going into Memphis’ away building may not be of concern to them. While most people are expecting Memphis to make this a series, the Spurs could easily shock us and wipe away the Grizzlies in Game 3.
In conclusion, Memphis has their back against the wall and they are aware they must deliver. Coach Lionel Hollins is most definitely emphasizing that they need to fight at their will. I like the Grizzlies to cut into their 0-2 deficit tonight.
Prediction: Grizzlies 93 vs. Spurs 87