2013 NBA Playoffs: Memphis Grizzlies Need to Switch Up Defense in Backcourt
The Memphis Grizzlies looked like they were going to be dominated for the second consecutive game in the Western Conference Finals by the San Antonio Spurs. However, the Grizzlies unleashed a furious comeback that force overtime in game two. Though they still lost, they showed that their 2-0 deficit in the series definitely doesn’t mean they are ready for a funeral.
There’s no question that, as the series heads to Memphis, the Grizzlies are going to put up a fight against San Antonio and, perhaps more importantly, make adjustments. Memphis has to find a way to get Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol better looks on the interior against the long bodies of the Spurs. However, the vaunted Grizzlies defense will also need some tweaking as well.
One of the things that Memphis has to focus on going forward is slowing down Tony Parker, specifically his dribble-penetration. Mike Conley has proven himself as one of the better perimeter defenders in the NBA over the past few seasons, but Parker has absolutely been torching him over the first two games of this season. This has not only allowed Parker to put points on the board, but to also distribute and set up the rest of the Spurs’ offense.
The Grizzlies will need to throw more looks at San Antonio as the series progresses—ones geared more towards preventing Parker from getting into the lane. One way to do this would be to leave Tony Allen on the floor more, even though that might sacrifice some of the offense Jerryd Bayless and Quincy Pondexter bring.
Memphis’ offense hasn’t been great, but that hasn’t been their biggest issue in this series. The Grizzlies haven’t been able to stop the Spurs for more than half a quarter in this series and that was when they limited what Parker could do. That should be their focus in the series going forward, even if that means sacrificing some offensive prowess.