It would seem that the stars are lining up out west for Tim Duncan and the venerable San Antonio Spurs to advance to another Finals. The Spurs have beaten a depleted LA Lakers team and the upstart Golden State Warriors, avoiding the OKC Thunder. Now they have home field advantage in the finals against the rugged Memphis Grizzlies. One of the tweets I saw after the first quarter of the opening game was ‘the Spurs put on a clinic’, and they had. But the Grizzlies are unlikely to go away that easily as the series progresses.
The Spurs were at the top of their game, winning the rebounding battle and hitting threes at an almost 50 percent clip. They made Zach Randolph look befuddled all gamethe entire contest, and his boxscore shows it, and Tony Parker outplayed Mike Conley. The team appears to be healthy and that is a big factor.
And perhaps it is the biggest factor – should Parker or another of the key players go down for the Spurs, if not this series could be over with little drama.
But the Grizzlies are a gritty bunch. They should not be surprised to be going home down 0-2 to the Spurs. If they can steal Game 2, it makes things very interesting, but they must draw a line in the sand and win game 3 no matter what. They can worry about winning a game 5 or 7 at the Spurs when the time comes.
The Grizzlies do need to get their confidence back in game 2, so they need to play well. They need to get Randolph back on track, and they need to make the Spurs work hard. They need to have Conley at least come close to equaling the production if Parker, and they need Gasol to make their inside players, particularly Thiago Splitter, pay in fouls. They do not have to win, they just have to keep it close and make a game of it.
Once at home, the grizzlies can build some momentum. Game one was a tough one for the Grizz, but they are a resilient bunch who will not go down without a fight.