The #2 San Antonio Spurs will take on the #7 Memphis Grizzlies in a best of 7 series. If I were to compare these two franchises to movies, it would be simple. The Spurs are the 1993 movie Groundhog Day. Under Gregg Popovich, SA has won 50 games or more for 18 straight seasons and every year they are a contender for the title. I would compare the Grizzlies to the 1996 movie, The Arrival, starring Charlie Sheen. The Arrival was a very good alien movie but no one knew about it because it came out one month before the blockbuster hit Independence Day. Memphis is a very good team, but like “The Arrival,” no one really knows about them because they are in a very small market and they are surrounded by other, talented teams out west.
Spurs vs Grizzlies Preview:
Other than LeBron James, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, is the best two-way player in basketball. He averages 25.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. LeMarcus Aldridge is clearly the Spurs #2 option but he has been inconsistent all season long. The former all-star finished the year averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds per contest. The major question for Popovich is who is going to step up and be another legitimate scorer in the playoffs? Pau Gasol, Tony Parker and Patty Mills averaged a combined 32 points per game.
The Grizzlies’ Mike Conley may not be a top 5 point guard in the NBA, but he is pretty damn close. Conley had some injuries this season but he led his team in points, 20.7 and 6.4 assists per game. He is a very good on the ball defender as well. Center Marc Gasol (Pau’s) brother is a top 5 center in the league and is a load to move off the block. He can step out and hit an 18 foot jumper and averaged 19.7 points per game. Zach Randolph has really come on the 2nd half of the season. Coming off the bench, he averaged almost 15 points per game and 8.2 rebounds. Tony Allen continues to be one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA and he will have the responsibility of trying to stop Leonard.
This is not your typical 2-7 matchup. The Grizzlies are the team no one wants to face. There is a reason their hashtag on Twitter is GrindCity. They are physical, they impose their will and they play hard for 48 minutes. Memphis is like the guy at the YMCA pick up game that always sprints the floor, crashes the boards and plays defense every possession. The only difference is that guy at the YMCA isn’t usually talented, the Grizzlies are. I expect this to be a the best series in the first round. The problem with beating Memphis is you walk away with battle scars, and fatigue. I would not be shocked if Memphis pulls the upset here, but…
Take the Spurs here, in 6 close games.
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