Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Notes: Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs [12/01/12]

San Antonio Spurs 99 - Memphis Grizzlies 95

The Good

Spurs: Tony Parker is a genius. What he does on the basketball court defies everything the NBA once was. This is your run of a mill 6 foot 2 point guard, not particularly athletic or has outstanding play making ability, yet he still dominates this game. He is a genius because he fully understands the game of basketball, has the experience that earned him Championships and knows how to win.

Tony is well aware with his abilities, he is quick off the dribble, a proficient finisher at the rim and a consistent mid range shooter. More importantly, you will never see him go beyond his skills set. And the Spurs already have that in Manu Ginobili, another one would make Coach Pop go bald. Part of what makes him great is that his teammates also recognizes those qualities and amplify them.

San Antonio made Mike Conley Jr. and the rest of the Memphis Grizzlies chase after Tony Parker the entire game. There is nobody in the NBA better at utilizing screens like the 4 time All Star, once he rids of Conley (or other Memphis guards), the slow footed big that follows will only see back of his jersey as he gently lays the ball into the hoop.

Tim Duncan remains incredibly efficient and is posting the best numbers out of his past 3 seasons. He scored 21 of his 27 points in just the first half, cleverly taking advantage of the Spurs spacing. DeJuan Blair gets a shout out for being probably the best Zach Randolph stopper, his pure strength, weight, width and footwork are a perfect match.

Credit to Coach Pop for going to small late, Patty Mills, and Matt Bonner gave San Antonio much needed three point scoring. Everyone needs stop what they are doing right now and give Matt Bonner some love. Who would have thought the Red Rocket had the defensive ability to guard Zach Randolph down the stretch. Gary Neal was a big part of the comeback, scored 10 points in the fourth to bring this game into overtime.

Grizzlies: If you looked at the box score for this game and ignore the final score. There was no way you would have thought Memphis actually led by more than 10 points and kept it close throughout the contest. Simply put, this was an ugly game, neither team shot over 42 percent from the field (San Antonio - 42 percent, Memphis - 36 percent) and the Grizzlies made the best out of it. The only notable highlight of the offense was Mike Conley Jr. and Marc Gasol's two man game. They ran a simple pick and pop that made the paint packing Spurs pay.

On the defensive end, they played fantastic individual defense with the exception of Conley, who we all know by now, got killed by Tony Parker.  After letting Duncan get 21 in the first half, they came back to hold him to 6 points by adjusting their rotations and help defense.

The Bad

Spurs: Manu Ginobili has not been himself to start this season. Yes, he did hit the three pointer to bring the game into overtime, but he is averaging a career low in field goal percentage (40 percent) and the lowest points per game since his rookie season. He had 6 of San Antonio's 18 turnovers. Luckily, Memphis didn't take care of the ball too well either, losing it 20 times. I wasn't kidding when I said this game was ugly.

Grizzlies: The groin injury of Tony Allen. He would have been the solution to Tony Parker. According to NBA advanced stats, the point guard doesn't do too well against this Tony. To add to the personnel woes, the Memphis bench was terribly inefficient, they shot 8 for 28 from the field and did not hold up on the other end. Memphis's transition defense in the first half was a joke. It is not an understatement when I say that Tony Parker repeatedly out ran the entire team from end to end. He looked like he was LeBron James on a fast break. Speaking which, the Grizzlies allowed 22 fast break points.I am not sure how many second chance points the Spurs actually have, but I am certain they scored off every offensive rebound.

Memphis desperately needs a consistent outside threat because they can not find any space for Zach Randolph to operate. Tough night for Z-Bo, if he wasn't forced to throw up a contested shot, he was missing open layups.

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