Memphis Grizzlies 91, San Antonio Spurs 88: Tony Parker and milk cartons

by

At the end of regulation a confusing and chaotic swarm of Memphis Grizzlies surrounded the ball. There was not, however, a San Antonio Spurs 3-point attempt. So went the game. So goes the series. The top-seeded San Antonio Spurs now trail 1-2 after an 88-91 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

In an ironic reversal of the Spurs’ regular season success, it was San Antonio’s defense holding up it’s end of the bargain, making the necessary stop in the closing seconds of the game. It was the offense that failed.

Grabbing the rebound with roughly 10 seconds remaining George Hill pushed the ball, slowing momentarily for a quick glance to the sidelines, but without a timeout call from the coaches , advanced the ball ahead to Manu Ginobili. Ginobili was immediately trapped along the sideline. In giving the ball to the Spurs best player Hill took it out of the hands of its most under-utlized weapon.

In clutch performances few in the NBA are as brilliant as San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. While popularity polls lean towards Kobe Bryant as the best person for the last shot, for my money you can do no better than Popovich. A top seed with no legitimate MVP or All-NBA candidates, execution has been the driving force behind the Spurs success all season. So when one saw Manu surrounded with clock quickly ticking down, the mind boggled.

What was Popovich thinking? Why didn’t the Spurs call a timeout off the rebound?

As it turns out, Tim Duncan was attempting a timeout as Matt Moore of CBS’s sports expertly notes:

The buzzer sounds as the clock expires, Duncan is frantically calling for time. The broadcast clock says .2, but the game clock above the goal says .00. George Hill is still calling for the ball. Matt Bonner is pointing at Tim Duncan. And the Grizzlies are going up 2-1 in this best of seven series.

Now, there’s a world of things that can be talked about here. One, the Spurs should have called team when they got possession. Two, Bonner, closes to the official, or Ginobili, or Hill need to be calling time once the ball crosses the timeline. Three, even if the officials had seen Duncan motioning, there may not have been time for the Spurs to get a shot off. Four, the player has the responsibility there to alert the official.

But the fact remains that before time expires, Tim Duncan is calling timeout.

This, intended timeout or not, is still a case of botched end-game execution, something we’ve alluded to in recent days. But that is what the Lionel Hollins-led Memphis Grizzlies have done early in this playoff series. They have taken the execution away from their would-be executioners.

For all the rhetoric about the Spurs getting destroyed on the inside the Grizzlies shot a mere 42 percent and were beaten on the boards yet again.

All season long the San Antonio Spurs offense has been a thing of beauty; an efficient machine firing on multiple cylinders. The true story of the series has been Memphis ability to drag both teams through the mud, negating the Spurs strengths and putting both teams on equal footing.

In essence the Grizzlies are using heavy explosives in an extremely short range fight, hoping the Spurs are the team receiving the brunt of the damage. It’s a 50-50 proposition and currently Memphis is leading 2-1 in a game of heads vs. tails, punctuated improbably by a Shane Battier and Zach Randolph 3-pointer.

In the trenches, in the mud, the Spurs fleet-footed point guard has been deemed Missing In Action. Where is Tony Parker? This playoff series has gone on long enough to define a few trends. Memphis will not dominate the series on the boards as they did during the regular season, the Spurs will not find corner three-pointers, and most disturbing is the play of Parker.

Parker scored 16 points on 5-14 shooting, finishing with more turnovers (6) than assists (5) as Memphis once again moved the ball better than their opponents, out assisting them 24 to 19.

Few players depend on the 3-pointer as much as Tony Parker–not in his own shot, but in his teammates–and when teams have been able to remove the spacing from the Spurs offense they have generally been much more successful in walling off the lane from Parker. Such has been the case dating back to 2003.

If the Spurs are to take a game in Memphis they are going to have to discover a way to clean the lanes up for their point guard, because Mike Conley is not a player who should be playing Parker to a draw.

The fortunate part about Memphis’ love affair with dynamite is it’s just as likely to blow up in their hands. The playoffs are a grind and the Spurs have danced this dance before. Just because they have changed their stripes this season does not mean they have completely forgotten how to play this game.

Moments of execution and brilliance have flickered briefly in and out, keeping pace with Memphis best efforts. Searching for the right matchup, the right solution to uncork this offense and set the series right.

Memphis is running away, but in the mud one can never run very far.

  • Easy B

    Wow. The spurs are in for the fight of their lives right now. Our key guys are just turning the ball over too much. If we took care of the ball better in the third, we may have run them down earlier, and had a winning run. The spurs will just have to focus on trying to play their best ball, and shut out everything else. The good news is we have a game in 2 days. The bad news is we lost Dice. We all want minutes for Splitter, but the cauldron of game 4 is not the prefered method. I would probably start him with Timmy and see what he can do, and keep Blair as energy off the bench. In any case, the team needs to upset Memphis’s apple cart a bit more, and try and get some kind of a lead early if they hope to get game 4. I still think if we lose game 4 we can win this series – but the series by then is starting to slip out of our grasp, and Memphis don’t look like giving us any games…we have to go and take it. I get the feeling, that the spurs season could explode into life at any moment, but they have to find a way to get their perimeter game going in a hurry.

  • DBAGuy

    I personally I’m tired of watching this mediocre offense. This is not the way a playoff 1st seed team should be playing. We are getting outcoached, outplayed and outsmarted. Our players have shown nothing, but being a bunch of scared bunch. They look like the veteran team out there. We miss open shot after open shot, Bonner/Blair/Neal/Hill have played like crap. Our frontline of Bonner/Blair only please the stupidest coach of the year Greg Popovich. The no calling timeout is such a rookie mistake, can’t believe the veteran Spurs made that error. For all the BS talk about the amazing plays book of the Spurs, we can’t seem to be able to draw anything up at all. Why can’t we get any players open while Memphis clogs the paint. Bad bad execution. Our guys are way too unathletic, the spurs scouting will need to start looking for a little more than just personnel character, because we have a bunch of guys who can’t do anything unless they are wide open, or even wide open as we have seen this series. This has been painful to watch, we are prob better off not advancing to the semis.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I’m sick and tired of people associating Blair with energy. 1 rebound, 4 pts. Where’s the energy? Same as last game. That’s what you’ll get out him in this series, thats a no brainer. So enough with Blair you need a real center coming off the bench that can contest Gasol or Randolph. And as for Mary Poppins being the first big off the bench is going to kill this team sooner than we want. C’mon people do you really think Blair and Bonner are going to adequately fill in for Dyess and Timmy in this series. Hell no! This series is not for those two period. Let the man with some playoff experience or shall I say championship experience go in there and do his job. I know he can bring better than 1 board and 4 points against these nuckle heads. Pleeease stop the insanity Pop. Maybe we won’t have to worry about last second execution.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Oh yeah forgot, Get well soon Dyess. Sucks that it happened to a great person with character. He’s one of my favorite Spurs and I hope he’s ok.

  • TD BestEVER

    DBAGuy + 10….Our guys are looking HORRIBLE……. but you have missed the most important one,,,,,Tony Parker has disappeared and needs to be on the backside of a Milk carton……….He has been out played thoroughly by Conley and that CAN’T happen if we are going to have a chance……. I have been saying for 3 years that he SHOULD NEVER LEAD the team in FGA’s but he does because he is SELFISH…… doesn’t know how to pass……. AS long as Parker stays MIA, and POP continues to be the Best thing going for Memphis with his Horrible rotations, play calling(or lack there of), and game/time management we can get used to this feeling…….

    POP has still to make an adjustment to play better defensive lineups, electing to play Bonner and 3 guard lineups WAY too often…….I have been saying all year long that Boner would get DESTROYED in the playoffs because unlike in the regular season, he would have nowhere to hide……And here we go, he gets pushed around for rebounds, and scored on with regularity……Worst part about this is POP then decides to play with 3 small guards or Manu at the 3 (allowing battier to post him up easy and score and draw fouls on him) So not only does Memphis have an advantage at the PG, SF, PF/C positions, but POP then insists( in all of his infinite wisdom) on giving the Grizz Bonner and a 3 guard lineup to feast on as if their other advantages weren’t enough……. Then on top of all his rotation blunders, POP adds poor clock management, and lack of play calling to limit the effectiveness of his Offense, and had given up on D all together this year…….. What a lame coach……. a future HOFer should do better………..

  • Buckets

    Memphis are a better team. They have more talent, more youth, more length, more energy. They have a bunch of talented high draft picks compared to the Spurs who have a bunch of talented second round draft picks.

    Bonner is our nuber one option coming of the bench to guard Randolph, Gasol and Arther for christ sake there is no way we are going to win if we have to rely on Bonner. I thought Pop had learned this the last couple of seasons but apparently not.

  • Hobson13

    This is the first time since I began watching the Spurs (17+ years ago) that I have ever questioned their desire to win a championship. This team has layed down for the last month and taken whatever crap teams threw on them. The only player who gives a damn is Manu. Tony has played like shit. Tim has been mediocre to poor. The support players of Neal, Blair, Bonner, and Dyess have been a collective zero. It’s like they’re just going through the motions. Poor defense, questionable execution, missed open looks/layups, pointless turnovers, the list goes on. No one has shown up to play in this series besides Manu. Unfortunately, I’ve been around long enough to see the Spurs lose playoff series’. This series smacks of a 5 game exit.

    P.S. Pop’s decision not to play or develop Splitter during the regular season (when half the Spurs fanbase was screaming to play Splitter) is really biting this team in the ass. I’m only a 30 yr old guy who’s never coached a team nor even played organized sports. However, even I knew that our season depended upon us playing good interior defense and having a bigger/longer body besides Blair, Bonner, and Dyess. Why didn’t Pop see this? Why did Pop continue to give regular season minutes to Bonner (playoff choker) and Blair (all energy, no brains)? IMO, this has been one of Pop’s biggest failures in his tenure with the Spurs organization.

  • DorieStreet

    Lack of intensity in 1st qtr; good closeout to 2nd qtr negated by poor play; error-prone 3 qtr despite trimming the lead; poor execution down the stretch in the 4th qtr. Terrible shooting fro 3pt line and overall during the whole game. And it the playoff-tested veterans that are just as guilty of this along with the younger reserves.

  • TD BestEVER

    Your the one who should stop the insanity or madness or what ever else you are over there doing…… Tiago has had some 1 rebound games as well…..DJB has had 2 good games making hustle plays and now this one was a bad one….. but he only played 10 min and didn’t affect the team really one way or another…….and for all of Tiago’s championship experience….. why does he suck so bad when posting up…..why doesn’t he rebound better…… why can’t he block shots…….. So no Tiago isn’t the saver that you and others want to make him out to be, but he is a far cry better than Bonner……. who should never play another NBA game again……….

  • Brandon in LA

    Since Neal’s shooting like crap, why not give James Anderson some of his minutes? Anderson has similar range and can play better defense. Also, if Bonner is shooting like crap, why not give Novak some time? Bonner’s defense has barely been a notch above Novak’s, and at least Novak can get a three point shot off without using a stupid pump fake.

  • Junierizzle

    I know everyone wants to kill their D but the problem has been their offense since Game 1.

    First of all I think something is wrong with TP, mentally. This isn’t the first time he has played against a team that has clogged the lane. Even with the clogged lane he still manages to get looks at the cup he just can’t finish. Where is his speed? He couldn’t out run anybody out there. Even when he had the ball an fell down, he had no sense of urgency, didn’t even attempt to call a time out. He’s not right and it isn’t just because of the Grizz. Come on. He can’t get past Vasquez???

    Our three point shooters have stunk. They can’t wait til they are wide open to shoot. Too much pump fake and drive. NEAL, BONNER just shoot it! Also they have gotten good looks all year. Why not now? The lane is clogged. There is no ball movement out there. A lot of one on one play. Wheres the penetration and kick?? It’s been penetration and turnover or take a tough shot.

    I thought the Big 3′s minutes were going to go up in the playoffs???? I know they can’t play every minute but you gotta give them at least five more minutes each. Especially Manu. Even with the bum arm the team falls apart whenever he sits. Come on. Why did they rest them through out the year? It’s the playoffs now what is POP saving them for???????

    Lastly, MANU ain’t MANU. Have you noticed he isn’t shooting any threes either? Even in Game 2 his shot was off. Right now he is scoring on pure heart and free throws. His shot is off. Damn injury. He doesn’t trust his shot. Case in point, the missed freethrow that would have given them a one point lead. A healthy MANU would have picked apart this Grizzly team. But that is besides the point.

    I felt confident in the SPURS in this series because they are the SPURS. This was the worst I have ever seen them execute ever. They played like it was the last game before the ALL-STAR break. All they have to do is execute and this game didn’t even have to get out of hand. The Grizz are a good team but they ain’t that good. I never thought the SPURS would play like that. The last play pretty much sums up their offense.

  • Bruno

    Anderson wasn’t on the bench, he was innactive

  • TD BestEVER

    I agree with most of your assessment, but have an issue with one point……. “Tim has been mediocre to poor.” Really….in what aspect if the game……. If you look at his regular season number and put them up against his postseason number you will find that he has done better in all categories beside FT% and maybe Assists……. SO how is that Poor….. Also I’m not sure if you watched the game but he was as motivated/pumped as he can be……. even addressing the team in a timeout to try and light a fire under them and correct some poor play……. Manu has been great playing thru the pain of his elbow, but TD had been good and would be even better if POP actually called plays for him……. no post to post screens to help free him up or high low passes…..His defensive numbers are were you would expect them to be, just needs a few more shots during the game to get his 17+ points……

  • Bruno

    Wow. Now u are insane,
    Tiago is a good rebounder(not great but good), and even if he isn’t grabbing, the other team don’t get offensive rebounds, because he doesn’t allow his man to grab.
    He don’t block much shots, but u don’t see easy layups when he is in.
    Why Splitter shots sucks? Ask Chip, he changed his shooting style, his hooks and jumpers weren’t bad before.
    He isn’t the saver, but he can provide much more than Bonner

  • Bob

    Playoffs are about adjustments. You try to take away or limit your opponent’s most effective weapon. You might try to let the stars beat you and focus on taking away the role players. Or you might try to contain the stars and force the role players to beat you. It’s very clear some of the Grizzlies strategies. Limit the corner 3, cheat of Bonner, make it a low scoring grind it out game, pound the inside, and force the Spurs stars to beat them. So far the Grizzlies are winning because the Spurs aren’t countering.

    If they cheat of Bonner he has to have a quick enough release or pullup shot to make them pay or it’s useless. To counter the grind it out nature Spurs need to push the break at every opportunity.
    To counter the Grizzlies pounding the inside they need their best interior defenders who can play single coverage (Duncan, Dice, and Splitter). The Spurs are overreacting to the ball in Gasol and Randolph’s hands because they don’t trust their interior defense.
    Spurs stars, the big 3, have to score. The Grizzlies are playing them single coverage. They have to punish them for single coverage or force the double team. Once they’re double teaming it’s going to open up easier shots for the role players. The playoffs force teams to rely on their stars. Role players are not nearly as effective without help from the stars.

  • TD BestEVER

    I agree he can definitely provide more than Bonner…………..It’s just Title wants to trash Blair so I have to trash Splitter back to get even……… But Bonner I think we can all agree is the Worst big left in the playoffs………. and should never see more than 10 min a game………. only garbage minutes…………

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you on a lot of things there Hobson but one thing I disagree with you on is Tim Duncan. This man has been absolutely phenominal this postseason. He is a 35 year old guy. I don’t know what you expect but he carries our defense on his back and he gave us like 13 pts 11 rebs 6 ass 5 blks 0 TOs tonight. Don’t tell me this guy doesn’t give a damn.
    Sad truth is Manu’s clearly hurting. Even if we were to get through this series our chances of a title are quickly diminishing. At the end of the day Memphis were a horrible matchup and not a regular 8th seed. We came in hurt and in poor form but at the end of the day we are still well in this series. We just need our guys to step it up. (I’m looking at you Tony and George) One thing you have to look at with Tony, George and Manu struggling to finish inside is that Memphis have length in so many areas (Gasol, Arthur, Allen, Battier, Conley… etc) and that was always something that we would struggle with.

  • NYC

    Jesse:

    One of the best articles I have read. Great analysis: succinct and to the point. Without recaping the game, you used one defining moment to tell the story of the game AND the series. Love that the imagery had substance rather than being imagery for imagery’s sake: it was rooted in your analysis and not the same gimmick used to frame every article written by nba.com staff.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Ryan

    People kinda need to chill out some..

    1) I agree with a lot of you that we look like shit… frankly, because we DO look like shit. Hobs hit the nail on the head here.. This team was expecting a first round sweep, not a team that can really hurt them, and instead guys are actually having to play a little bit rather than feel like this should all be a pass.

    2) Blame Pop all you want too, but the blame squarely rests on the player shoulders… Pop’s used this same rotation for 82 games and it’s netted a 61-21 record… you can’t argue with that. It’s the players responsibility to get out there and make things happen. (This is why they get paid millions of dollars..) If they’re making boneheaded mistakes likes bad passes, errant shots, stupid plays, then that’s something you can’t really throw on a coach. Take Game 7 the 06 WCF’s with Dallas for example… you know Pop is over there screaming for no one to foul… and Manu fouls. The posters on this blog seem to want to say it’s Pop’s fault for even having Manu in there… The fact of the matter is guys need to step up. #1 seed means absolutely nothing if you’re gonna treat the playoffs like the regular season.

    3) I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again…. Splitter isn’t going to play in this series because he’s an offensive and defensive liability. Yes.. copy and paste that for comments, but it’s true. In a series were fouls are prevalant, he has a horrible free throw percentage… in games where Z-Bo is apparently raining 3′s now, you can’t expect him to come out that far to guard a 4 on a switch. Trust me, I like Tiago just as much as all of you do, but the shoe doesn’t fit here… against LA … yes… but Memphis.. no. Suck it up.. get used to it, and pray to the Almighty that maybe Bonner can play decent defense for 3 games so we can get out of this with a win.

    4) Guys really, really, REALLY need to bring their playoff games. This is stupid… I’m gonna go ahead and say it, but Memphis is NOT that good of a team. They’re winning because they know they have nothing to lose by losing, and it’s pissing me off to see the Spurs cave to this BS sort of attitude that we can’t play above that level. Run the offense, stop making stupid plays and do what we do best and for the love of F*CKING God.. execute. Run the play… don’t force things.. knock down shots…

    Anyway.. that’s all I got… this team is starting to piss me off with their complacency… get your heads out of your assholes guys… this is playoffs… play like you mean it.

  • Junierizzle

    Bonner has to hit threes period. You can’t blame him for his D on Randolph. Randolph would get the same numbers no matter who you put on him.

  • Anonymous

    Long time reader, but first time comment. I hate to put a blame on any one person but I only watched the first quarter (on purpose) cuz the game turned to shit when Bonner went it. I don’t care what his plus/minus is, but the Grizz literally bent us over and stuck it to us when Bonner came in and we could never recover. I still think (inexplicably) that we’ll win the series, but it’s going to be in near impossible to do so with a line up that includes Blair, Bonner and Neal on the floor at the same time. I normally trust Pop, but does he realize that these fellas are our three worst defenders and should never be on the court at the same time? And BTW, has anyone seen Tony Parker, cuz I heard he’s an all star but he’s been missing in action and apparently he could help us when he’s on top of his game.

  • Junierizzle

    I agree with your Number 4. Its tough to swallow and no matter how you slice it, Memphis is up 2-1. But yeah they are not as good as everyone makes them out to be. Just execute guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Everyone is talking about execution and how the Spurs are so renowned for their execution, well this isn’t the same Spurs team. This isn’t the same team who had veterans up and down the roster. Just think we had Finley, Bowen, Brent, Oberto, Thomas, Horry, Rasho, Nazr… etc now we’ve got Neal, Hill, Blair, Bonner… etc.
    We’re all talking about championships, but there’s one famous phrase that was used in the Premier League a couple of years ago, “You never win anything with kids.” Look at the last 15 years of the NBA and tell me how many of the winners of the title were stacked with veteran players. Just look at how Boston, Lakers have been set up the last couple of years. I honestly feel we’re a team in transition but you just wonder can Tim, Tony & Manu overcome our shortfalls.

  • Bruno

    Why this theory doesn’t work with everybody? Because isn’t true.
    People said the same thing about Aldridge when he score 40 points over Timmy. But in two games against Splitter he combined for 25

  • Junierizzle

    Yeah TD has actually done his part.

    As for Splitter I agree that he could help. It be a little harder for Gasol to shoot over him then Bonner. Having said that the Spurs aren’t losing because they can’t defend the paint. They are just lost on offense for some reason. Randolph is averaging 25 points not 45 points. Randolph and Gasol can do whatever they want. SPURS have to take care of their own.

  • Junierizzle

    I think POP doesn’t want to Play SPlitter because ironically, he thinks he’ll mess up the offense.
    But the SPURS are doing just fine messing up the offense without Splitter.

  • Junierizzle

    Bonner’s D sucks? Yes, but the team always falls apart when Manu sits.

    And yes if anyone sees Parker tell him that the playoffs have started.

  • TD BestEVER

    Bruno if you watched the games where Aldridge had 40, he and Miller were all they had…… So he took 23 shots…. in the other 2 games they had Gerald Wallace and Brandon Roy back…..So the added 25= points to the lineup…….then Aldridge only took 10 or so shots/game…… So he could have scored more….just didn’t shoot alot of shots those last 2 games and didn”t NEED to….

  • TD BestEVER

    Well this team is centered around guards so that tells me that TP/HIll can’t get it done…… ALl the team has to do when Manu sits is run some of that old school Offense that the Spurs used to run, when POP called plays out every 2 or 3 trips down the floor…… When is the last time you guys have seen the TD elbow jumper off a curl screen play……. that’s a high % shot for him and us, but we don’t run it anymore……. and that’s ALL POP’s fault……..What about the Finley off a curl screen play(we can use RJ/Neal) we don’t see that very often as well do we…….. POP is loosing it…….

  • DorieStreet

    I don’t know about the rest of you fans, but I’m embarrassed to see the Spurs resort to trying to draw charges by flopping. That highlight sequence where they show Neal, Blair, and Ginobili tipping over (after rotating too late)
    too me smacks of lack of effort to play serious defense. I hope I don’t see that the rest of this series.

    Grizzlies are doing nothing special, or mystyfing–just playing hard, making open shots, and making Spurs pay for their errors and bad decision-making.

    Game 1: 1:06 left in 4th— Spurs up 98-94. Grizz get a layup, Spurs miss a 16 fott jumper, Battier hits a 25-foot 3pointer. Spurs down 1, but next shot is a 23-foot 3 that misses. 2 FTs by Girzz, a missed Spurs 3pt shot

    101-98 loss

    Game 2: 1:14 left in 4th–Spurs up 89-81. In the next 60 seconds the Spurs get a loose ball foul, miss a layup, had a turnover (ball stolen), miss a 19-ft jumper, while the Grizz make a FT, get a steal that leads to a layup, then Sam Young makes a 23-ft 3pointer— Spurs only lead 89-87; Hill makes 4 FTs in last 14 seconds to get the win, 93-87.

    Game 3: 1:04 left in 4th—Spurs down 86-88. Zach Randolph makes a 25-ft 3 pointer. Spurs get 2 FTs, Randolph misses a 22-ft 3pointer with 6 seconds left—you know the rest—

    88-91 loss

    3 different Memphis players make a 3 point shot in the last minute of each game. Let’s not continue this trend in game 4 please; don’t abandon any Grizz player behind the arc–unlike the Spurs, they’re making them when they most need it.

  • Bruno

    Bro, Aldridge struggling in both games, they almost lose both games, how didn’t they need??

    2 games against Splitter:
    80 minutes, 23 points(9-22 FG), 11 rebounds, 0 stls, 5 turnovers.

    2 games before:
    82 minutes, 56 points(24-37 FG), 18 rebounds,4 stls, 3 turnovers.

  • Bruno

    This is the worst thing, in all the regular season, Spurs had 4-5 games like that.
    Now in playoffs, all 3 games Spurs played really bad.
    The many FTs, layups, Bonner/Blair combo damages are making the difference

  • TD BestEVER

    because Aldridge basically shot poorly that entire game, not just when Splitter was playing……he wasn’t aggressive because they had other players who could score……Also if I remember he shot a lot of jumpers those games and didn’t post up hardly at all…….Also the last time we saw Splitter he wasn’t locking down the Lakers…..Everyone can point to 1 game here or there, but to say he can defend LaMarcus Aldridge is nuts because he can’t LA can score on him as easily as he can any Spur if he is motivated…….

  • Spurholic in Mumbai

    Type your comment here.With a 2-1 lead and tanking two regular season games to ace an opposition of their choice, memphis Grizzilies are sitting pretty. During the 6 game slide the Spurs started to squander games in the last 50 seconds. Call it Karma, the close finishes during the first half of the season sems to be coming back to haunt the Spurs, as a famous thelet who took his talnts to Soth Beach this season commented, “Karma is a b…h”

    From the coaching perspective the lack of ball movement allowing a steady stream of 3 points seems to be the crucial adjustment the Grizillies staff has evidently made. Now is the time for Spurs coaching staff to come back with an adjustment to neutralise this advantage which Grizzs have been holding out in the first three games. Worried whether Spurs can take this o the seventh game, or will Grizzs close out in 6?

  • spursalltheway

    When you refer to Timmy as a 35 year old guy, for some reason my thoughts on us winning the championship went dramatically down…For some reason I always thought he was saving something for the postseason and would be good for a few more points but I guess theres not upping the switch for him on offense. (not in a bad way, he still is probably our second best player and heads our defense). Without him stepping up on offense I really don’t feel confident about our chances anymore. With Parker struggling to get points against this defense how is he going to do against ibaka/perkins or bynum/gasol. Looking back, the worst thing that happened was winning easily in the reg season with contributions from bonner, blair and neal. Bonner has historically been bad in the playoff (forget his numbers, but do you really see him taking over a playoff game. Do you really think he’s the KEY to our offense running smooth, I hope not because that’s sad). And why the hell did blair start all those games if he was jsut going to play 10 mins in the playoffs. We might as well have given Tiago a run before (after he recovered from his injuries) or located another big man. We need a body that just takes up space, aka a kendrick perkins, mark gasol, bynum, LOOK AT AARON GRAY. It feels liek forever since the spurs have won an important game.

  • DorieStreet

    Spurs outrebounded Grizz by 11–4 more offensive & 7 more defensive. But Memphis had 3 more FG attempts, 78-75. What are the Spurs doing with those extra possesions?

    Mike Conley shot just as terrible as Tony Parker, but he went 6-8 on the line like TP did. But in 41 minutes of playing time he had only 1 -ONE- turnover attributed to him, while Tony was on the floor 11 -ELEVEN- less minutes (30) and had 6, which is 1 more than his assist total.

    Grizz 4 guards had 6 TOs of which Mayo had 3; Spurs 4 guards had 11 turnovers, of which are starting backcourt–veteran (decade-plus each as a pro), playoff-experienced (each year as Spurs)–combined for 9 of those 11.

  • Bruno

    So are u saying Splitter had lucky when he outplayed LA?

    2 games against LA he scored 25 points vs 23,
    shooting 11-16 FG vs 9-22,
    grabbing 16 rebounds vs 11
    playing 51 minutes vs 80

    Is all lucky?The fact LA never get the ball wide open doesn’t count?

  • spursalltheway

    The biggest thing about tony parker right now is that he looks out of place. He’s getting to the lane but he can’t get a good shot off and isn’t able to find someone open. I have no clue how to fix this.

    The problem about relying on shooters like Bonner and Neal who played important roles in many of our wins in the reg season, is that in the playoffs they hesitate to take those shots and it kills our offense. Without those 3′s we force up bad shots.

    I THOUGHT SO TOO. and i guess i was sorely mistaken (except gino since he normally doesnt log as many minutes as Parker/Duncan historically). In a pivotal game three, without HCA, I would expect Duncan to play more than 36 minutes, esp when the alternative is playing Bonner on Randolph/Gasol). I know Tim is old, but if he’s too old to log more minutes in a pivotal playoff game, it’s on coach pop/ownership for not finding another big. Im guessing tony didnt play too much since he was in a funk, but other than that there wasnt a lot of time managing going on.

    On Manu not being Manu, I almost enjoy him not shooting as much, for the last two months of the season I thought he was chugging up way to many three pointers (and not making too many of them), he had an average Manu game.

    At the end of the day, the grizzlies are a good team, but not that good. There’s a reason why Gasol only averaged 11 points a game during the reg season and tony allen barely got minutes till injuries.

  • Hobson13

    Gentleman, there’s been some misunderstandings. First of all I wasn’t calling out Tim because of his lack of pride (I was calling out Tony and much of the supporting cast for this though). No question Duncan and Manu have exhibited the fire to win. However, Tim is averaging roughly 15pts, 12rebs, and 3.5 blocks per game in this series. For an average player, these are huge numbers. However, these aren’t great numbers for a future HOFer. My fear is that this is the best Tim can do at this point of his career. Perhaps I am unfair to expect Duncan to turn back the clock, but the Duncan of old would be going for 25/15/3 against the Grizz. Bottom line: we need others (Parker) to really step up if we are going to win this one.

  • TD BestEVER

    Sorry Bruno but I can’t let you and Title keep telling your Bonner/Blair Lies………. because it’s Just Bonner…….. who is killing the team…………you and others have to look at the game and understand not all players can be evaluated on the same scale…….ALL players have different strengths and weaknesses……Bonner, TP, Neal, Hill, etc are offensive players……. You have to look at how well they score 1st because that’s what they do best and that’s why POP has them in the game to do……. Blair isn’t so if he misses a few here and there, so be it……You have to judge him on his hustle STATS and not his FG%…… of which today he shot well, but did poorly in his hustle stats…. So that means he had a BAD game and played poorly………

    Bonner on the other hand is really playing poorly at what he does best(Shoot 3′s/Score) so he is the one that’s failing…..not Blair……

    And the unfortunate thing for Splitter is that he really does NOTHING well other than score off the PnR…… which most players do…… his shooting and hustle stats are not very high so it hard to give him minutes based on generic qualities like high BBIQ, and Big body…………

  • TD BestEVER

    TD can play a more important role on Offense……But POP has to reel in TP, MANU, Neal, Hill and this garbage guard lead Offensive system that he runs…… TD needs more shots, he is shooting a higher % than in the regular season but is still only taking around 11shots /game…… he needs that up to 15 or so and you will see 18points or so out of him………So POP has to call plays for him and allow him to take advantage of what he has left….he can still shoot it, and is good against Gasol/Randolph if he can catch the ball and start his move about 10 feet away….. SO POP has to call plays for him instead of just giving him the ball 15ft away and asking him to move that GIANT all the way to the basket…….TD was never a power player and surely can’t over power someone like Gasol at this point in his career………..POP needs to get involved and start coaching…….

    BTW – I love what Manu is doing…… but TD has been very Good for us these 3 games and we aren’t even using him properly……. and that’s a shame……

  • DorieStreet

    There were veterans on the roster last year–Mason, Bogans, (’10) Bowen, Thomas (’09)–2nd round sweep & 1st round exit. We kept some of them too long, and aquired vets whose game had left them.
    What wiley, cagey veterans with vast playoff experience (other than Battier & Allen) do the Grizzlies have?

  • TD BestEVER

    no I’m saying that Splitter isn’t better on D than TD or Dice all because he had a couple good games……. He also played VS LA and was out played by Blair, So does that mean Blair is better, or was Splitter just unlucky that game……Splitter plays against Blair and Bonner in practice and has almost all season……If Splitter was constantly KILLING them than we would have seen him more…….but I assure you he wasn’t and can’t….Splitter has his strengths, but most of those rely on others helping to elevate him, not him working and producing on his own…..

  • DorieStreet

    Wait—–talking about games 6 and 7 now, and the series just completed only the 3rd game?
    The line of thinking should be: Win game 4, series is tied 2-2. Then it’s best of 3 with 2 games in San Antonio.
    If Spurs go down 3-1, they will have stacked the odds way against them getting to a game 6.

  • DorieStreet

    An aside–
    ESPN collectively was salivating about the OKC-DEN matchup “going to be a great series”
    On the NBA website page their 12 basketball pundits picked it to go 6 games mininum, with 7 of them predicting 7 games. Looks like it will be a sweep or 5 games max.

    Hope their predicition about SA-MEM turns out to be correct, though…

  • http://regularfan.blogspot.com/ Humberto

    Great article Jesse, and a nice ending.

    I look forward to seeing how the Spurs adjust in this series, it’s the best part about the playoffs. There was a stretch in the 4th when the Spurs had plenty of chances to not only take the lead, but increase it. However, their shot selection in that stretch was very weak and too easy to predict. Would’ve been nice to see Parker or Ginobili attack more, rather than have players take contested jumpers.

  • andy

    i enjoy seeing the replies to comments getting narrower and narrower. as if the conversation was heading nowhere, or oblivion.

  • Anonymous

    Firstly I agree we need everyone to step up but if that’s your feelings on Tim then yes I feel you are being unfair. Those numbers for ARE great for a 35 year old HoF. Tim would have went for those numbers maybe 4/5 years ago but at this stage of his career he simply can’t do it.

  • tradeTP

    Please stop posting. You obviously dont watch the game. Blair has more deflections than anyone on the team, he has a higher offensive rebounding average than anyone on the team, hes got more steals than any big, he is rated in the top of the league in rebounds/orebs and basically every statistical category of bigs in the reg season. For you to say what you do is ignorant. He averaged 50% FG during the reg season.

    STATISTICALLY HE WAS/IS OUR BEST BIG

    But everyone knows what happens during playoffs. Pop gets scared like a little girl and only plays guys who are vets.

    Also Titletown, if Blair is so bad at Defense, why did Gasol and Randolph make Tim and McDyess look like scrubs? The points were scored on McD and Tim, and Bonner, not Dejuan in his 8 or 9 minutes. OH THATS RIGHT BLAIR DREW 2 OFFENSIVE FOULS ON RANDOLPH IN THOSE limited minutes.

    Please watch a game and keep your comments to factual information.

  • Anonymous

    I was referencing title winning teams more than just playoff teams. My point was that our execution is not were it should be because of the fact that we have so many young and new players to the system. I love what the Spurs have done, in the sense that they have rebuilt on the fly. Bringing in guys like Neal, Hill, Blair, Splitter, Anderson, Butler… etc. is preparing for the future and I much prefer this method than the Bogans, Mason fiasco (veteran journeymen). This means that in a few years, if they are still together, their execution will be much better. I’m just saying that I don’t feel THIS team is built for a championship but it might, just might win one.