- Game 1: Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs Sunday 4/17 8:00 PM
- Game 2: Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs Tuesday 4/19 9:30 PM
- Game 3: San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies Friday 4/22 9:30 PM
- Game 4: San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies Sunday 4/24 1:00 PM
- Game 5: Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs Tuesday 4/26 (time TBA)* if needed
- Game 6: San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies Thursday 4/28 (time TBA)* if needed
- Game 7: Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs Saturday 4/30 (time TBA)* if needed
With the NBA regular season in the books we look now into the 2016 NBA Playoffs. Today I will be going over the first round series preview between the Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs. Lets break the match-ups down position by position.
Point Guard: Tony Parker vs. Jordan Farmar
Tony Parker this season averaged only 11.9 points a game for the Spurs this year, his lowest since his rookie year back in 2001. Last year Parker was never healthy and struggled in the playoffs. This year he is looking to redeem himself as his team tries to make another run to the finals. Jordan Farmar signed with Memphis in late march after injuries piled up with the team. With no Mike Conley, look for Farmar to have a heavy load in attempting to lead Memphis into victory.
Shooting Guard: Danny Green vs. Tony Allen
Green recently has been struggling with his shot, shooting 33.3 percent from behind-the-arc this year. He might not be the first option the Spurs look for this series but he will get his chances, he just needs to take advantage of them. Tony Allen will be looked upon to the be the leader and lockdown defender of this series.
Small Forward: Kawhi Leonad vs. Matt Barnes
The potential repeat Defensive Player of the Year has been great this season. Look for him to be the main go-to-guy and someone the Spurs rely on during the final minutes of the game. In his first year in Memphis, Matt Barnes adjusted nicely on the team and was a reliable player for them when players went down.
Power Forward: LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Zach Randolph
This will be the key matchup to watch. After a slow start to the season, Aldridge has been excellent in San Antonio averaging 18 points and a little over 8 rebounds a game. Randolph will be the go-to-guy for Memphis. He has been banged during parts of the seasons but with his physical play in the post and ability to get rebounds and post up, this will be fun to watch.
Center: Tim Duncan vs. Chris Andersen
We know father time in Tim Duncan will show up in the playoffs. Time and time again the ageless wonder has been great in the postseason and I expect it to happen again. Andersen was acquired from Miami earlier in the season and with Marc Gasol not playing, the Birdman will be expected to have heavy minutes this postseason.
Bench: Key players for San Antonio – Manu Ginobili, David West, Patty Mills. Key players for Memphis – Lance Stephenson, Vince Carter, Xaiver Munford.
The Spurs bench this season has been excellent with the three guys mentioned above as the key guys running the second unit. With the way the team is playing all guys on the roster will have key roles in the teams playoff run. Memphis this whole season have been signing players and letting go players due to injuries so guys like Lance Stephenson will have big roles entering Game 1.
Coach: Gregg Popovich vs. Dave Joerger
This isn’t Coach Pops first rodeo in the playoffs but he knows the Grizzlies defensive play will be a problem, especially down low in the paint. Dave Joerger deserves a lot of credit this season. After questions of him evening staying in Memphis he brought in the right guys to compete after injuries to stars Mike Conley and Marc Gasol.
Arena: AT&T Center vs. FedExForum
The Spurs have been excellent at home, tying an 40-1 NBA record while playing at home. The Grizzlies are 26-15 at home, but the fans in Memphis will make sure it will be tough for the Spurs to play away from the AT&T Center.
This series will be a scrappy one. Memphis’ “grit and grind” mentality will try to make this series primarily around the basket and hold the Spurs from scoring inside the paint, as well as from the three point line. Guys like Tony Allen and Zach Randolph will be relied heavily on for the Grizzlies this entire series. The Spurs however have plenty of depth and Gregg Popovich does not have fear going with different lineup changes during the game.
The Grizzlies will give the San Antonio Spurs a good fight each night. But in the end you need stars to help carry the load, especially since its against a very well coached 67-win team lead by the highest winning trio in basketball (Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have a total 575 wins together). Not having Conley and Gasol will show for Memphis and if they were playing, this series might be different. But for now I am going with a 4-0 sweep in favor of San Antonio.