Spurs vs. Grizzlies: San Antonio Must Plan Differently for Game 2
The San Antonio Spurs took a 1-0 lead over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals with superb ball movement, which resulted in a high percentage of three-point shooting. The Spurs were dominant on the offensive end and absolutely ran the Grizzlies off the court, which is uncharacteristic of the San Antonio franchise in the Tim Duncan era. It’s also not going to work in Game 2 without some adjustments.
The Grizzlies are a young, inexperienced team but they’re not ignorant. Memphis knows good and well how to avoid a similar result in Game 2 and it’s nothing different than what the Grizzlies have done all year — play tough, physical defense and grind it out on offense. Their inexperience showed in Game 1 in that the Grizzlies were hesitant on defense and passive on offense. They didn’t close out on shooters and they rotated to help when it wasn’t necessary. The result was ugly, but you can bet things will change in Game 2.
The Grizzlies will watch film of Game 1 and alter those rotations on defense so that they close out three-point shooters and make smart switches to avoid those open shots altogether. Memphis was out of its element on the road in Game 1, but will be ready in Game 2 and will prevent the Spurs’ stars from sitting back and working off the production from their bench.
However, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich knows that and he should alter his team’s game plan just enough to offset it. In other words, expect an ugly, single-digit win by San Antonio at home in Game 2. The Spurs will utilize their big men more on offense so that those open three-point shots still appear just often enough to keep the Grizzlies off balance. Or at least that’s how the Spurs will draw it up. Whether or not that actually happens is a totally different story because nobody has any idea what the Grizzlies are capable of, including them. But don’t count out this Spurs team that knows what’s on the line in this now-or-never postseason.