Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs: Game 2 Postgame Grades and Analysis
Tony Parker went bonkers on the offensive end while Tim Duncan saved his best for last. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol struggled to find the bottom of the net while Tony Allen had to resort to flopping to make an impact.
This one was that crazy.
Gregg Popovich's Spurs led by as many as 18 points and held a 12-point lead headed into the fourth quarter, but they just weren't able to close it out in regulation.
Memphis outscored San Antonio 21-9 in the fourth, forcing overtime. The Grizzlies' luck stopped there, though, as they managed to tally just four points in the extra period.
San Antonio now heads to Memphis two victories away from advancing to the NBA Finals, which isn't likely to sit well with the Grizzlies.
Mike Conley, MEM: B
Mike Conley had a quiet game, though anything would seem quiet next to what Tony Parker did, even Conley's game-tying shot to force overtime.
Memphis' point man finished with 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting in what was the Grizzlies' most efficient offensive performance. Conley's inability to rack up more assists (four) was unnerving, though.
Not because of him, but because of how lost his bigs seemed around the rim.
He got into the paint with such ease that he should have had closer to 10 dimes. Nonexistent finishes by Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph really hurt him.
Conley was uncharacteristically torched on the defensive end as well. He didn't spend as much time on Paker as you would imagine, and his rotations and closeouts were late.
Which is fitting, I suppose. Because the Grizzlies showed up late to this one too.
Tony Parker, SAS: A-
All hail Monsieur Parker.
San Antonio's playmaking fiend finished with 15 points on 6-of-20 shooting to go along with a career playoff high of 18 assists.
Although Parker wasn't especially efficient from the field and often out of control in transition (what else is new?), he did a phenomenal job directing the Spurs' offense.
Credit his teammates with some great off-ball movements (Tiago Spiltter, anyone?), but so much of San Antonio's offensive success stems from Parker's dribble penetration. Memphis couldn't keep him out of the paint, and when the Grizzlies converged on him, the ball was already leaving his hands.
Some love must be given to Parker on the defensive end as well. He played some suffocating on-ball sets (three steals), though he could have done a better job fighting through screens.
It wasn't the most economic of shooting showcases by the star point guard, but the 18 assists speak for themselves.
Tony Allen, MEM: C-
I just want Tony Allen to have more of an impact on the offensive end without having to flop. Is that too much to ask?
Apparently, it is. Allen finished with just eight points on a 2-of-11 showing the floor. He coughed up the ball two times as well.
His play of the game came late in the fourth when he feigned contact to the head, drew a flagrant foul, hit two free throws and brought the Grizzlies within two. His acting job helped Memphis force an extra period.
Offense isn't his forte, though. Defense is his thing...most of the time.
Allen was relied upon to help cut off San Antonio's dribble penetration, which he failed to do for most of the game. His stationary on-ball defense was as pesky as ever and he was easily the best help perimeter defender Memphis had, but the Grizzlies need him to be a bit quicker picking up first steps.
Knocking down some shots wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, either.
Danny Green, SAS: A-
If there were an Understated Player of the Year award, it would have gone to Danny Green.
The Spurs' ever-reliable shooting guard went 4-of-8 from the field for 11 points. His interpretation of Memphis' defensive rotations was particularly superb. He really knew where to put himself on the floor so that he would be left open at the right time.
Defensively, Green was also strong. He blocked three shots and provided some timely double-teams.
Green logged just 27 minutes, but he was able to have the impact of someone who played 35-plus. That says it all.
Tayshaun Prince, MEM: D
Tayshaun Prince just didn't have it in Game 2.
Memphis' veteran wing continued to struggle on the offensive end, going 1-of-5 from the floor for two points. He managed to keep the ball moving and made some nice entry passes, but the Grizzlies can't broach their offensive potential, however mediocre, if he's not looking for and subsequently hitting his shots.
Prince did get some nice reps in on the defensive end when tasked with guarding the ball. Off switches or rotations or any kind of closeouts, though, the necessary quickness wasn't there.
For the Grizzlies to grit and grind their way into the NBA Finals, they're going to need more from Prince. And they're going to need it, like, yesterday.
Kawhi Leonard, SAS: A-
Is Kawhi-ing a thing yet? Because it should be.
Kawhi Leonard had another one of those performances that makes you hate the Spurs for being so lucky. He dropped 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting and battled his way to nine rebounds.
A not-so-guilty pleasure of mine is watching the way Leonard moves off the ball. At first glance, it doesn't appear like he does much, but he always knows where he needs to be. Tony Parker appreciates that.
But seriously, back to his rebounding. He embarrassed Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol with some of his boards. He plays so physically for someone his size. And I love it.
Gregg Popovich does too.
Zach Randolph, MEM: B-
Save for an almost strong fourth quarter, Zach Randolph didn't show much offensive life.
Z-Bo finished the night with 15 points on 6-of-18 shooting in what was yet another frustrating display. San Antonio continues to throw various defenders at him to disrupt his low-post sets. He resorted to forcing the action or taking shots that were out of his range.
When Z-Bo's head wasn't down, he did make some nice passes. He dished out three assists and had a couple nifty kicks out of double teams.
If there was a bright spot, it was his rebounding. He brought down 18 boards. Other than a few (embarrassing) hiccups when Kawhi Leonard got the best of him, he had a solid showing there.
There wasn't much to rave about defensively for Randolph, though. He wasn't terrible, but he needs to be better at picking up the ball-handlers when they get deep into the paint.
Tim Duncan, SAS: B+
Tim Duncan had one of those games that makes you love him and Gregg Popovich pull what little hair he has left out.
The Big Fundamental took just nine shots through the first four quarters and hit on three of them. He came up huge in overtime, though, going for six points on 3-of-5 shooting. He finished with 17 points, serving as more of an offensive decoy than anything else during regulation; he had some nice kick-outs and tallied three assists.
Fans of Timmy's defense certainly watched the right game. He blocked four shots and smothered Randolph and Marc Gasol. Duncan is also the primary reason Mike Conley didn't get more easy looks at the rim. He made sure to pick him up around the free-throw line in the second half, save for a single lapse in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter.
Duncan, like Marc Gasol, did need to move his feet better on the defensive end, ending up with five fouls. Had he not gotten into foul trouble, this game would have never seen overtime.
It was hardly the most illustrious of performances from Duncan, but just imagine what would have happened to San Antonio had he not played...
Marc Gasol, MEM: B-
Nothing came easily for Marc Gasol, which made me appreciate his performance even more.
He shot just 4-of-12 from the field for 12 points, partly because San Antonio swarmed him around the basket, but also because his touch around the rim was just off. That flat-footed jump-shot of his wasn't finding the bottom of the net either.
One of the beauties of Gasol's game is his ability to act as a catalyst on the offensive end when he's not scoring. He dished out four assists and set some nice hard screens for Mike Conley.
The real story was his defense on Tim Duncan. There was nothing he could do about Duncan's well-placed passes, but he helped limit him to just nine shots through regulation. He was also able to take Duncan out of the pick-and-roll equation for most of the game.
Gasol put forth a strong effort on the glass as well, hoarding 14 rebounds. Toss in his two blocks and he was able to salvage what could have been a horrible night.
Tiago Splitter, SAS: B+
Tiago Splitter is an offensive stud.
San Antonio's big man went for 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in 34 minutes. His off-ball savvy continues to rival that of any tower in the league, for which he can thank Tim Duncan, and he worked well with Tony Parker off the pick-and-roll.
Problems arose for Splitter on the glass, though. He was overmatched down low when attempting to box out either Zach Randolph or Gasol, bringing in just four rebounds.
Still, Tiago came up huge on the defensive end overall, contesting shots (two blocks) and making back-to-the-basket sets a living hell for Z-Bo.
Jerryd Bayless, MEM: B
Jerryd Bayless came up huge for Memphis' otherwise anemic offense
He shot 7-of-18 from the floor for 18 points and did as good a job of creating open and inevitably missed opportunities for his teammates as Mike Conley (three assists).
A few of his defensive sets saw him take unnecessary gambles, but that's to be expected. And some of them paid off. He forced two steals and even sent back a shot.
It wasn't all good for Bayless, though. He hit a big shot in overtime, but he then followed that up with a quick three when the Grizzlies needed a quick two.
Bayless missed. Badly. He missed everything. Lionel Hollins was beside himself when it happened. And for good reason. Memphis lost shortly after.
We'll just go ahead and chalk Bayless' struggles in the final minute up to Western Conference Finals jitters.
Manu Ginobili, SAS: B-
So Manu Ginobili played, in case you didn't know.
I'm actually kidding, because while he was relatively quiet, he made some really nice plays.
Ginobili went 3-of-6 from the floor for seven points. To answer your question, no, I'm not sure why he didn't shoot more. Maybe he's developed a sudden phobia for Gregg Popovich's yelling following a miss.
While he wasn't shooting, he was dishing. He dropped four dimes and wasn't forcing the action, instead making quick decisions to defer.
Manu played an understated defensive game as well. He was up in the face of Memphis' shooters (one block), defended the pick-and-roll well and rotated nicely.
Could the Spurs have asked for more? Absolutely. But luckily, they didn't have to.
Memphis Grizzlies: B-
Give it up for Quincy Pondexter.
He logged 37 minutes, went 3-of-6 from the field for seven points and grabbed nine rebounds. Memphis' offense looked so much better with him the floor, given his ability to stretch the defense in ways Tony Allen can't.
Darrell Arthur's offense failed him. He was just 2-of-6 from the floor for four points, settling for far too many jumpers in his 12 minutes of play.
Keyon Dooling provided a surprising spark, posting five points in 13 minutes.
Tony Wroten got some burn as well, though not much. He wasn't shy about shooting in his three minutes of action. The rookie jacked up four shots, missing all of them.
San Antonio Spurs: C+
Matt Bonner didn't light it up from three-point land in this one (1-of-4), but he played some nice defense. More specifically, sound transition defense. And no, I'm not kidding.
Gary Neal (13 minutes) and Corey Joseph (10 minutes) didn't see much time and combined to go just 2-of-8 from the field for eight points.
Boris Diaw logged 12 minutes of burn and was fairly active. He went 2-of-5 from the floor for five points to go along with two rebounds and one assist. His defense is still a work in progress (lost cause?), just in case you're wondering.
Unlike Memphis, San Antonio is known for its depth, even in the postseason. Just not in this one.