The San Antonio Spurs were able to weather the storm and finally get past the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the NBA Playoffs in six games. The Spurs looked like they might fall victim to an upset early in the series, but regrouped to get victories in games five and six to clinch the series and advance to the Western Conference Finals.
San Antonio will meet with the Memphis Grizzlies for game one on Sunday to begin a series that is going to be physical and a matchup between the strengths of each team. The Spurs are one of the most disciplined and potent offensive teams in the league while the Grizzlies are one of the two best defensive teams in the league. It’s going to be interesting to see how that matchup plays out.
An individual matchup that deserves attention in this series though will be the Spurs’ legendary power forward, Tim Duncan, facing off with the Defensive Player of the Year, Marc Gasol. Gasol’s defense and physicality will be a challenge for Duncan and Duncan has to respond better than he did to the same type of play against the Warriors.
In their series with Golden State, Andrew Bogut matched up with Duncan the majority of the time and did a solid job of limiting Duncan. The Spurs forward struggled with the physicality, size and girth of Bogut, which ultimately caused him to shoot just 42.3 percent from the field over the course of the six game series.
With the Grizzlies being as sound as they are defensively, Duncan has to find a way to perform better against Gasol than he did against Bogut. San Antonio is going to need Duncan to help carry the scoring load for them because points are going to be at a premium. If Duncan can’t find a way to be successful against Gasol, the Spurs might miss out on the Finals once again.