After the Memphis Grizzlies fell into an 0-2 hole to the San Antonio Spurs, it would be easy to count this team out of the NBA's Western Conference final.
It would also be foolish.
Looking at what has happened to Memphis thus far in this series, it's eerily reminiscent of the team's first playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers blew the Grizzlies out at home in Game 1 and then eked out another home win in Game 2. Then the Grizzlies finally found their rhythm back in Memphis and won four straight games to move on to the next round.
Winning four games in a row against the Spurs will certainly be more difficult that it was against the Clippers, but winning four of five isn't an unreasonable expectation for this team.
Zach Randolph is the key to Memphis' offense, and he can't play any worse than he did in Game 1.
He couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with his shot and wasn't effective on the glass, scoring just two points on 1-of-8 shooting and hauling in just seven rebounds. Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter and even Boris Diaw had him on lockdown, and he never found a way to break free.
Randolph looked just as bad through much of the early goings in Game 2, but he somehow figured out a way to get the job done—especially as a rebounder inside. He finished the game with 15 points and 18 rebounds, and the Grizzlies almost pulled off an overtime win on the road.
He's starting to get a grip on what he must do in order to effectively help his team. You can expect Randolph to continue playing better throughout the series—especially in the next couple of games at home.
Before this series, Randolph was averaging 19.7 points and 9.3 rebounds in the playoffs and was a catalyst for Memphis' success on offense.
When Randolph isn't playing at a high level, Memphis' offense doesn't function properly. But some home-cooking at the FedEx Forum in Memphis will energize him and the rest of the team to play inspired basketball.
Whether or not this leads to an NBA Finals berth remains to be seen, but one thing's for certain: you shouldn't count out the Grizzlies against San Antonio just yet.
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