The I-76ers

Western Conference Finals: Spurs Whack Memphis in Game 1, Grizzlies Look to Rebound in Game 2

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(via Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

The San Antonio Spurs could be called old, boring, old-school, and a bunch of other names. But the Spurs are good—really good.

Coached by easily the best coach in the league in Gregg Popovich, the Spurs are perennially at the top of the Western Conference. The team’s trio of stars sets the tone for the rest of the organization by demonstrating selfless, team-oriented play with no regard for statistics, only wins.

In Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, the Spurs routed the Memphis Grizzlies 105-83. San Antonio hit a franchise playoff record 14 three-pointers and dished out 28 assists on 40 connected shots from the field. It was pure basketball at its best, which is something that can be hard to find in today’s NBA filled with isolation one-on-ones and “me-first” offense.

Game 2, though, won’t be so easy. Zach Randolph, who had been averaging 18.3 points per game in the postseason, only had two points one field goal. There is no way that Z-Bo will be held to such an awful performance again.

The pressure is still on the Spurs going into the second game of the series, because all the Grizzlies came in wanting to do was steal one on San Antonio’s home court. It doesn’t matter that they beat Memphis by over 20 points because the Grizzlies could leave SA with all of the momentum if they steal Game 2.

Keep in mind that Memphis lost the first game in each of their postseason series, putting themselves in a hole against the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and now the Spurs. Each time, however, the Grizzlies bounced and won the series.

The Grizzlies got to this point by bullying opponents with lockdown defense and elite post play with Randolph and Marc Gasol. The Spurs reach the WCF by sticking to their roots of disciplined, consistent play, led by Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Something has to give in this series—San Antonio’s high powered offense or Memphis’ staunch defense.

Prediction

The Grizzlies win a close one in Game 2, 100-95. Randolph bounces back with a double-double, and the Spurs go cold from the three-point line as Memphis makes the necessary adjustments to chase the shooters off the line. The series goes back to Memphis 1-1.