Can the Grizzlies do it again?
by Sean Highkin, USA TODAY Sports
The Memphis Grizzlies have been in a hole like this before, but this time, it’s going to be a lot harder to climb out. After falling 93-89 to the San Antonio Spurs in overtime on Tuesday, they trail 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals. They dropped the first two games of their first-round series with the Los Angeles Clippers and won the next four to advance, but the Spurs are a different beast.
Memphis was much better defensively on Tuesday than they were in Sunday’s blowout loss. Marc Gasol was again a major factor, and Tony Allen and Mike Conley made several key defensive plays.
Their problem this time was offense. The Grizzlies shot 34% from the field and 29.4% from three-point range, squandering defensive stop after defensive stop and failing to capitalize on opportunities to shift the momentum of the game. When they did come back from an 18-point deficit to force overtime, they had run out of gas.
There is no question that the Grizzlies have not played as well on offense as they should, but something else may be at play here: maybe the Spurs are just that good. Tim Duncan was a monster, scoring 17 points and grabbing 9 rebounds, and San Antonio continued to push the tempo and find open looks.
The Grizzlies were able to battle back from what looked to be another blowout loss, which suggests the series isn’t as one-sided as it looked to be after Game 1. But if they want to make it competitive, there’s no more room for error.
Allen’s flagrant flop: The Grizzlies tied the game by scoring four points on a possession that resulted from a flagrant foul by Manu Ginobili on Tony Allen. When Allen hit the floor, he writhed on the ground for several seconds clutching his head, causing fans and teammates to wonder if he had suffered a concussion. However, replays clearly showed that he broke the fall with his hands, and didn’t hit his head at all. The call of a flagrant foul was correct—Ginobili pulled Allen’s arm down and didn’t appear to be going for the … [For more on Playoff Putbacks: Can the Grizzlies do it again?, click here.]