Grizzlies Only Chance In Series Is Z-Bo
After a competitive first half, the Spurs blew open Game 1 in the third quarter on their way to a 32-point win. This was the Grizzlies’ worst playoff defeat in franchise history. Memphis’ previous worst playoff defeat was a 27-point differential against Oklahoma City in 2011.
The second-seeded Spurs had 13 steals and nine blocked shots. All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard had four steals and three blocks. Leonard also excelled on the offensive end with 20 points in Game 1 while veteran center Tim Duncan was strong on the boards with 11 rebounds. Manu Ginobili had just two points on 1-of-5 shooting in 21 minutes but had the best plus/minus ratio on the team at plus-24. The beleaguered seventh-seeded Grizzlies have lost 11 of their last 12 games and 7 straight road games.
Kawhi Leonard, the newly crowned Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight year, was able to effectively shut down Matt Barnes in Game One. However, both Lance Stephenson and Vince Carter were able to go 2-2 from the field against Kawhi. Veteran swingman Vince Carter was the Grizzlies’ top offensive performer in Game 1 with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting in 19 minutes. I just wrote those sentences. This is how you know the Grizzlies are injury depleted.
However, even against a Grizzlies team missing Marc Gasol, the Spurs were not very effective in the post in Game 1. As a team, they averaged only 0.91 PPP on post possessions. LaMarcus Aldridge led all players with 9 post-ups but only managed 0.67 points per post. The huge lead allowed him (dislocated right pinky finger) to be rested. Aldridge had 17 points and 27 minutes as San Antonio had 12 players see 10 or more minutes of action.
Z-Bo Has To Dominate For Grizzlies
The Grizzlies and Spurs set nearly the same number of picks in Game 1 (49 and 48, respectively); however, the Spurs’ bigs were better able to convert their shooting opportunities with Aldridge going 1-2 and Duncan shooting 1-1. Meanwhile, Zach Randolph and JaMychal Green combined to go 1-5 off of their set screen.
Bottom line, the Spurs’ big men did their jobs defensively in Game 1. Zach Randolph was held to 3-13 shooting. Memphis needs a strong performance from Randolph to avoid being swept.