5 Ways the Memphis Grizzlies Could Beat the San Antonio Spurs in the Playoffs

Alec RogersContributor IApril 9, 2011

5 Ways the Memphis Grizzlies Could Beat the San Antonio Spurs in the Playoffs

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    There is a high chance that the Memphis Grizzlies will play the basically flawless San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

    There is also a high chance that the San Antonio Spurs will win this series.

    This doesn't make anything definite, however.

    A good-looking Memphis team has what it takes to stick it to the Spurs, and following these five game plans will help lead them to an upset of the ages.

Play Around Mike Conley

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    Sure, Marc Gasol may become the Grizzlies' most useful asset throughout the series, but Memphis doesn't stand a chance unless the game plan revolves around this guy: Mike Conley.

    What this means is that Conley needs to be dishing assists that are both low-risk and high-success rates.

    If other players pull a LeBron James and suddenly decide they're the point guard for this team, the balance of Memphis won't just be messed up.

    All the Spurs' burly defense has to do is cover them, and the rest will be history.

Marc Gasol Must Make Tim Duncan Suffer

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    We all know Tim Duncan's seemingly patented spin to pull-up jumper move that is extremely effective.

    It's even more impressive that he's been doing it as long as most of us can remember, and it's still rarely been stopped.

    If the Memphis Grizzlies organization is under the impression it can win without controlling Tim Duncan in the low post, it has a lot to understand before playoff tipoff.

    Marc, the lesser known of the Gasol brothers, needs to make a name for himself in this series.

    Body up Tim Duncan, play dirty and don't let him spin and pull up without strong contesting on each shot attempt.

    Then we'll talk about winning a seven-game series.

Don't Let Intimidation Distract the Players

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    Mike Conley: Three years

    Marc Gasol: Two years

    Xavier Henry: Rookie

    OJ Mayo: Two years

    Sam Young: One year

     

    Tim Duncan: 13 years

    Manu Ginobili: Eight years

    Richard Jefferson: Nine years

    Antonio McDyess: 14 years

    Tony Parker: Nine years

     

    The years say it all. Mike Conley and Marc Gasol can't let their minds get set on—even for a second—their intimidation for the Spurs players, who have been around the block quite a few times.

    That will psyche them out and hurt their chances at winning.

Zach Randolph Must Come Up Big

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    And that is a must.

    The Spurs have a lot more star power than Randolph's Grizzlies. With Rudy Gay out for the season, Zach Randolph will have to adopt a role as a star if the Grizzlies plan on winning this seven-game series.

    We're talking double-doubles every night, blocks and simply game-changing physical aggression.

    As stated previously, Randolph should be playing around Mike Conley, but that is so Randolph can be set up with more efficient opportunities.

    And if he fails to make the best of them, the Grizzlies will fail to beat the Spurs in a series.

Eliminate Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili

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    Though I don't literally mean "eliminate," there are a lot of steps the Grizzlies will have to take to stop Manu and Tony.

    While they have to enclose the perimeter so these two speed demons can't drive to the hoop for acrobatic finishes, the perimeter also has to be guarded, because a lot of players on the Spurs will pull up from three-point land.

    They really do it all, and will go down as one of the best guard duos in league history, regardless of what the Grizzlies are able to do.

    But if the Grizzlies want to win this series, they're going to have to contain them.

Prediction

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    The Grizzlies have what it takes to beat the Spurs here.

    While I don't see intimidation as a huge disadvantage—and I can even see Zach Randolph coming up big—I'm not so confident that the team can consistently play the right way around Mike Conley.

    I definitely don't see both Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker being shut down.

     

    Spurs 4, Grizzlies 1

     

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