A lot can happen in two games. Game 1 of this series featured a dominant Spurs offense that also was complimented by the dominant defensive performances of players like Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge. Game 2 was not much different, but we saw a Grizzlies team that had an offense that was somewhat productive, just lacking on the defensive side of the ball.
Games 3 and 4, we saw a completely different Spurs team and a completely different Grizzlies team. Mike Conley found his game again after struggling in the first two games by having one of his best playoff performances ever. Conley answered his critics who were already questioning his massive contract after a poor first two games, as he finished with 35 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.
The Grizzlies are now clicking on all cylinders, but the Spurs can not lose sight as to who the better team in this series was the first two games.
The Spurs are relying heavily on Kawhi Leonard. Having one of his best games as a Spur, Kawhi Leonard produced 43 points, three assists, and six steals while shooting 46.7 percent from the floor and 70 percent from behind the arc. He was the best player on the floor in Game 4.
But the Spurs physicality seemed to lack in the previous two games, as they really only saw Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard step up in Game 4.
A reason for this lack of physicality could be due to the home-court advantage that each team has had in the series, and the Spurs need to take advantage of that in Game 5.
Bench play has proved to be the x-factor for this series, and it will only be more important heading forward. The Grizzlies saw the effect of the poor bench in Game 1 when they saw players like Zach Randolph and Vince Carter struggled as starters, and the bench could not back up their poor play. For the Spurs, they have not seen a point from Manu Ginobili off of the bench yet.
That is a telling stat for the producing bench in the NBA during the regular season. It showed in Games 3 and 4 for San Antonio when the bench play proved to be the difference-maker. If these games come down to a final few points, you will realize how important those few buckets from a bench player can be.
Who steps up to win Game 5?
As stated before, home-court advantage is the main theme of this series. We have seen a completely different Spurs team on the road, and a completely different Grizzlies team at home versus on the road. The Spurs saw their supporting cast dwindle in production over the last two games. Being at home, expect the Spurs to get Aldridge and Gasol back into the scoring production. They cannot expect 40+ points from Kawhi Leonard every night, so a balanced scoring attack between Leonard, Aldridge, Gasol, and others will be the difference maker for San Antonio.
The Spurs will take Game 5 and look to wrap up the series in Memphis.