San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies: Game 3 Postgame Grades and Analysis
We learned one thing in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals: The San Antonio Spurs can show up for just three quarters and still win playoff games.
The Grizzlies blew an 18-point lead, and squandered the best chance they had at beating the Spurs, as San Antonio dominated them in overtime, en route to a 104-93 Game 3 win.
The Spurs are just one game away from the 2013 NBA Finals, and they have Tim Duncan and his solid overtime performance to thank for that.
It's hard to lose in overtime when you make your first five shots, and the Spurs did just that—outscoring the Grizzlies 18-7 in the extra five minutes.
Duncan grabbed another playoff double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds, and while Tony Parker committed an awful seven turnovers, he made up for it with 26 points on 11-of-22 shooting from the field.
After Memphis outscored the Spurs 29-13 in the first quarter—with Gregg Popovich benching his starters—they ended the night shooting under 40 percent from the floor and from beyond the arc.
Rebounding from such a tough loss will be very difficult for the Grizzlies, especially against a Spurs team that came back from 18 points down in one of the most difficult places to play in the entire NBA.
Tony Parker, PG, Spurs
The first quarter wasn't kind to Tony Parker, and Gregg Popovich reminded him of that by benching him and the other Spurs' starters after an awful start.
Parker wasn't smart with the ball early on, which led to a whopping seven turnovers from one of the best point guards in the NBA.
He picked it up, though, in the final three quarters, ending with a solid stat line of 26 points on 11-of-22 shooting, five assists and four rebounds.
The most impressive part of Parker's game was his ability to destroy the Grizzlies on the pick-and-roll in the second half. Watching Parker fly off of multiple picks on possessions was not only impressive, it was also tiring—just as the Grizzlies defense.
Overall Grade: B+
Mike Conley, PG, Grizzlies
Mike Conley tried to do so much in Game 3, but his inefficient shooting held the Grizzlies back down the stretch and in overtime.
He ended the night with 20 points, five steals, four assists and three rebounds, but he also committed five turnovers and shot just 8-of-21 from the floor.
The 2-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc didn't help Memphis either, as the Spurs let him shoot from there all game long instead of letting him get into the paint—which is where he causes the most damage.
In Game 4, the Grizzlies need Conley to be aggressive—which he was in Game 3—but match it with efficient play. If he can't protect the ball and shoot close to 50 percent from the field, the Grizzlies' final game will be played on Monday night in Game 4.
Overall Grade: B-
Danny Green, SG, Spurs
Where was Danny Green all game long?
He scored three points, and he shot an awful 1-of-5 from the field. The only shots that were falling for him were the ones he took after the Spurs called timeouts.
Luckily, he made up for his inefficient shooting by grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assists.
Green needs to knock down three-pointers at a more consistent rate, because if the Spurs make the NBA Finals, they won't be able to win games without him helping them spread the floor with his range.
Overall Grade: C+
Tony Allen, SG, Grizzlies
Of all the Grizzlies perimeter players, Tony Allen showed up the most with 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal.
He was also the only Grizzlies player to shoot at or above 50 percent from the field, going 5-of-9 from the floor.
Allen's defensive pressure was solid in the first half, but he slowed down in the second half, allowing the Spurs' perimeter players to get into the paint at ease.
I know the Grizzlies love Allen's efficiency, but in reality, they really need him to be more aggressive on offense because it will spread the Spurs defense a bit more.
Right now the Spurs are very comfortable with letting Allen play out on the perimeter, and he needs to counter that with aggressive action in the paint.
Overall Grade: B
Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs
The rest of the Spurs picked up the slack for Kawhi Leonard's unusually unproductive Game 3 performance.
He scored just four points on 2-of-6 shooting, and while he grabbed 11 rebounds, he really didn't do much else for the Spurs.
Leonard appeared frustrated with himself throughout the game, which he let hold him back. He wasn't as aggressive on defense as he usually is, and he just couldn't get out in transition against the Grizzlies' athletic defense.
The Spurs need more from him moving forward, especially if they are lucky enough to face off against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
Overall Grade: C-
Tayshaun Prince, SF, Grizzlies
There was something up with small forwards in Game 3, because Tayshaun Prince mirrored Leonard's lackluster performance.
He scored seven points on 3-of-7 shooting, but unlike Leonard, he did absolutely nothing else.
Defensively speaking, Prince didn't bring help-side defense at a quick enough pace to slow the Spurs down and he certainly didn't help the Grizzlies on the boards, grabbing a whopping one rebound.
Luckily the Grizzlies realized that he was struggling and replaced him with Quincy Pondexter, who actually showed up to play.
Overall Grade: D
Tim Duncan, PF, Spurs
Another playoff game, another double-double for the Big Fundamental.
Duncan "almost" had a triple-double, with 24 points, 10 rebounds (four offensive) and five assists. He saved four of those points for a pivotal stretch during overtime, and those points sealed the Grizzlies' fate.
It's mesmerizing watching just how fundamentally sound Duncan is, and he certainly was disciplined in Game 3. He defended well, contested every shot that he was near and, most important, he was aggressive on offense and on the glass.
Duncan also shot 11-of-19 from the field, which is amazing considering the defensive pressure the Grizzlies threw at him every time he touched the ball.
With 16 years under his belt, Duncan has seen everything, and while he could take it easy for the rest of the series, I'm betting he'll treat Game 4 like the Spurs are down 3-0 in the series.
Overall Grade: A
Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies
Game 3 wasn't too kind to Zach Randolph.
Sure, he had an impressive double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds (nine offensive), but he shot 5-of-14 from the field and 4-of-8 from the free-throw line.
There were a number of times when Randolph threw up multiple pump fakes only to be followed up by shots that flew off the glass without hitting anything else.
Randolph just couldn't get into any groove, and that killed the Grizzlies.
His defense on Duncan was also lacking as he overcommitted on the pick-and-roll in the third and fourth quarters, which let Duncan get loose at the 18-foot range.
A very mixed night for Randolph, and that's certainly going to linger with him until Monday night when he and the Grizzlies face a Game 4.
Overall Grade: C+
Tiago Splitter, C, Spurs
I wonder what Gregg Popovich said to Tiago Splitter in the huddle before overtime, because Splitter owned overtime with seven of the Spurs' 18 points.
In addition to that overtime explosion, Splitter grabbed six rebounds (two offensive), and he didn't miss a single field goal all game long.
The Spurs needed Splitter to step up on the road, and he did just that. He also stepped up his defense in the paint, and against Marc Gasol when he was in the game.
It's encouraging for the Spurs to see Splitter put together a productive and efficient performance. But it's concerning for whoever is going to face them if they make it to the NBA Finals.
Overall Grade: A-
Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies
When you stop and look at the numbers that Marc Gasol consistently puts up, it's rather amazing.
In Game 3, he had a solid night with 16 points, 14 rebounds (five offensive), five assists, two steals and a block.
While he shot under 50 percent, going 7-of-18 from the field, he was still a major option for the Grizzlies throughout the game.
Where Gasol struggled, though, was his defense on the perimeter against the Spurs' pick-and-roll. That's shocking for the 2013 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and it really hurt the Spurs in the second half of the most pivotal game of the series.
Gasol played hard, physical basketball, but it just wasn't enough against the most disciplined team in the NBA.
Overall Grade: A-
Manu Ginobili, SG, Spurs
Manu Ginobili missed a potential game-winner on the Spurs' final possession of regulation, but aside from that, his Game 3 performance was solid overall.
He dropped 19 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists. In addition he shot an impressive 5-of-9 from the field and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe.
Ginobili was aggressive on both sides of the ball, and he protected the ball well, committing just one turnover. It seems like Ginobili is starting to find his groove at just the right time, and the Spurs rode his efficiency during Game 3.
Overall Grade: A-
Jerryd Bayless, PG, Grizzlies
It was an awfully inefficient night for the Grizzlies' main man off the bench.
He ended the game with seven points, four assists and an impressive two blocks, but he shot a miserable 3-of-11 from the floor—which included 1-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
With that being said, all of Bayless' shots seemed to come at integral times for Memphis, which is what he finds himself doing quite often.
It's a shame that Bayless didn't recognize his rough shooting night and turn into a pure facilitator, because if he had, the Grizzlies may have actually pulled out a pivotal Game 3 win.
Overall Grade: C-
San Antonio Spurs Bench
The Spurs' bench outscored the Girzzlies' bench 36-24, but it still shot a combined 11-of-25 from the field.
That lack of efficiency hurt the Spurs, but luckily their starters woke up after their atrocious first quarter and carried them to a huge Game 3 win.
Aside from Manu Ginobili's 19 points, Matt Bonner with eight points and Boris Diaw with seven combined for 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Sure, that's under 50 percent, but the Spurs are getting production from everyone on their team, and that can't be said for the Grizzlies.
Solid bench outing for the Spurs, even with their inefficient shooting, and it was a major reason why the Spurs are one game away from an NBA Finals appearance.
Overall Grade: B-
Memphis Grizzlies Bench
Quincy Pondexter, once again, was a productive member of the Grizzlies' second unit, with 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field.
While Pondexter shot just under 50 percent, the rest of the Grizzlies' bench shot a combined 10-of-27 from the floor, which really hurt the Grizzlies, especially down the home stretch of the game.
If the Grizzlies stand any hope of recovering from this tough loss, they absolutely must get consistent and efficient production from their bench.
Rough night for the Grizzlies' second unit, and it couldn't have come at a less opportune time.
Overall Grade: C+