If you like old school, bruising basketball, then this Memphis/San Antonio series was made for you. These two teams are extremely similar. They both have very good point guards, wing players that know their roles, and big men that can dominate the game.
This series comes down to two things: 1. Can Memphis keep Tony Parker out of the lane? 2: Can San Antonio matchup with Gasol and Randolph without playing Tiago Splitter?
When Parker can get into the paint, he either gets easy layups or finds one of his teammates for a wide-open shot. However, Mike Conley Jr. and Tony Allen are very good defenders, and should be able to do a much better job on Parker than Steph Curry and company did. If Parker was 100% healthy, I’d be more inclined to think that he could dominate the paint area again this series, but because of his nagging calf injury, I’m not sure he’ll be able to shake Conley Jr. and Allen.
The Spurs are at their best when Tim Duncan is the only post player on the court. That allows Coach Popovich to put three shooters on the perimeter to open up the paint for Parker and Duncan. However, San Antonio can’t guard both of Memphis’ bigs if Duncan is the only big on the court. Coach Pop is a genius, so I’m not putting it past him to figure out a game plan to guard the Grizzlies’ bigs without Splitter, but I can’t think of one.
It’d be great to see San Antonio get the chance to play for another championship and put the cherry on top of an already great legacy, but I can’t see it happening. The Spurs are good enough to keep it close, but I don’t think they matchup well with the Grizzlies.
Memphis in 7
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