West Finals move to Memphis with Spurs in control
(Sports Network) - The Western Conference Finals shift to Memphis on Saturday as the Grizzlies try to get back into the series against the San Antonio Spurs.
It's been three days since the teams last took the court on Tuesday, when San Antonio emerged with a 2-0 series advantage after a 93-89 overtime win.
"I'm sure if you get a break you want to take advantage of it and maybe take a little bit of a mental as well as a physical break," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich about the extended layoff. "But, at the same time do something to make sure you maintain at least your base conditioning, do some film and keep everybody focused on what we're trying to do, but not beat anybody over the head and then just pick it up toward game time."
The Grizzlies needed the break to try and get their offense going, especially the spectacular big-man combo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Their scoring is way down through the first two games and Randolph, in particular, has been disappointing with an average of 8.5 ppg.
"It was frustrating," admitted Randolph. "When you miss shots that you usually make, it's frustrating."
Another problem offensively has been Tayshaun Prince. The starting forward has eight points in this series, but head coach Lionel Hollins won't change the starting lineup. Although, he did admit to thinking about it.
"It's something I've thought about. It's not something I'm ready to do," said Hollins. "There's no need at this point to change the starting lineup. We lost an overtime game and we got blown out in a game. We've got to play better earlier, and we've got to play better later."
The Grizzlies put the clamps on the Spurs in the fourth quarter of Game 2. After getting demolished in Game 1 and down double-digits at the start of the final frame Tuesday, Memphis held San Antonio to nine points to force overtime.
The Grizz didn't get it done in the extra session, but there were encouraging signs.
"Yeah, the way we came back, the way we put pressure on them in the game," said Randolph when asked about gaining confidence from the comeback in Game 2. "In overtime we missed some shots, they made some shots, just little mistakes here and there kept us out of the game."
The Grizzlies may be down 0-2, but they know they aren't out of it if recent history is any kind of barometer. They fell down 0-2 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, then won four straight to advance.
"We went on the road in every series and we lost, we had to come back," explained Hollins. "We're at home, and we want to come out and play much more aggressive, much more confident, which teams usually do at home, and as I told our team, being home is not going to win anything for us, we have to go out and play much better."
The Spurs received steady contributions from everyone in Game 2. All five starters scored in double figures, and all five bench players who got into the game managed at least three points.
San Antonio was led in scoring by the venerable Tim Duncan, who was named to the All-NBA First Team on Thursday.
"I know that he was touched when he found out," Popovich said on Thursday. "All-NBA anything is pretty special if you think about it. It's something we really respect and feel great about, and then we'll forget about it."
Duncan was not the only Spurs player to make one of the league's three teams. Tony Parker made the All-NBA Second Team, but the elite guard underwent an MRI exam on his ailing calf and there's no real change.
"Everything is fine," said Parker, who had 15 points and 18 assists in Game 2. "I feel like I'm turning the corner and I feel like I'll be fine for Saturday. It feels better."
Game 4 will be Monday night in Memphis.
05/25 10:40:25 ET