The Memphis Grizzlies know that they need to steal a road game against the San Antonio Spurs in order to pull off the upset series win. What they did not expect though, was a blowout win by the Spurs in Game 1.
Some of the media and people of San Antonio might have predicted a Game 1 waxing, but the Grizzlies thought they could have done much better.
They can not get rattled heading into Game 2, and it seems like Game 1 is behind them.
From Ronald Tillary of The Commercial Appeal:
“We came in here understanding we’re playing against the No. 2 seed and to win a series we know it wasn’t going to be a sweep on our end. Let’s be real about it,” Fizdale said. “Our goal is how do we get one game in San Antonio and take care of our home? That’s how you win a series when you’re down. We can’t wallow in how we lost. You put it behind you; you prepare from the film; you make the adjustments and try to win Game 2.”
The struggle in Game 1 we saw from from Mike Conley, who finished 5-14 from the field for 13 points, and Zach Randolph, who finished with six points on 3-13, made it tough for Marc Gasol (32 pts) to carry the load on his own.
The Grizzlies need to get the touches back to Randolph in the post when he is on the floor because it opens up the shooting lanes for not only Conley, but role players like Vince Carter and Troy Daniels.
One thing the the Grizzlies found themselves doing was losing their control of emotions. When they were up early, they fell victim to the Spurs’ adjustments soon after. An NBA Playoff game can feel even longer than a regular season game, and when a team like the Grizzlies can only win with the success of their three best players, they need all the energy they can get.
What the Grizzlies have to do in order to have a chance in this series is get their bench play cleaned up. We all know that they need the combination of Randolph, Conley, and Gasol to produce in order to win, but their bench needs to contribute more than 11 points. Guys like James Ennis, Tory Daniels, are key contributors in a series where they’ll need all hands on deck.
It will be tough for them to get Vince Carter going as the X-factor as long as Kawhi Leonard locks him down. The Spurs were able to take away the spark that Carter can create for the Grizzlies.
It was a wake up call for Memphis in Game 1. Gasol was able to produce and that needs to continue. Mike Conley can not afford to go cold again as the Grizzlies offense depends on his ability to shoot the basketball. Zach Randolph needs to be the spark off the bench to get the rest of the role players in rhythm.
Game 2: Monday, April 17, 9:30 PM ET, TNT.