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San Antonio Spurs NBA News - Spurs Basketball Blog » #1 San Antonio Spurs (61-21) vs. #8 Memphis Grizzlies (46-36)

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#1 San Antonio Spurs (61-21) vs. #8 Memphis Grizzlies (46-36)

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, The NBA Playoffs by alleyoop on Saturday 16 April 2011 at 10:47 am

The Grizzlies come into this series pretty confident as this is the first time they have been to the playoffs since the 2005-06 season and they are 0-12. The Spurs are veterans of these kinds of wars. Here’s a look at the matchups in this series:

POINT GUARD: Mike Conley really broke out for the Grizzlies this year. He played in 81 games (all starts) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 35.5 minutes, 13.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Conley is in a good matchup as he and Tony Parker are very similar.

Tony Parker is going to have to step up for the Spurs in this series if they are going to win it. Parker played in 78 games (all starts) for the Spurs last year and he averaged 32.4 minutes, 17.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game. With Ginobili hurting the Spurs are going to need Parker to look for his own shot more than usual.

EDGE: SLIGHT FOR SPURS

SHOOTING GUARD: Tony Allen has really played solid basketball for the Grizzlies this year. He played in 72 games (31 starts) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 20.8 minutes, 8.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Allen is bigger than any guard the Spurs can put on him, so he might have a really good series.

Manu Ginobili is hurting but I still think that he’s going to gut it out and play. He played in 80 games (79 starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 30.3 minutes, 17.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game. The Spurs will have a hard time winning this series if Ginobili can’t give it a go.

EDGE: SPURS

SMALL FORWARD: Sam Young will likely get the call at small forward for the Grizzlies in this series. Young played in 78 games (46 starts) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 20.2 minutes, 7.3 rebounds, 2.4 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game. Young will need to step up in this series for the Grizzlies.

Richard Jefferson will likely be asked to do more offensively in this series if Manu Ginobili can’t go. Jefferson played in 81 games (all starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 30.4 minutes, 11.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. I think he’s going to step up.

EDGE: SLIGHT FOR SPURS

POWER FORWARD: Zach Randolph has really turned into a beast since coming over to the Grizzlies as he is the go-to man. Randolph played in 75 games (74 starts) for the Grizzlies this season and he averaged 36.3 minutes, 20.1 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. If Randolph outplays Tim Duncan, the Grizzlies are going to have a great chance of winning this series.

The Spurs tried to limit Tim Duncan’s minutes during the season to save him for the playoffs. Duncan played in 76 games (all starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 28.4 minutes, 13.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 blocked shots per game. I think the Spurs are down watching minutes with Duncan due to all of the days off in the playoffs, so look out!

EDGE: EVEN

CENTER: Marc Gasol has turned into a pretty good basketball player as he’s no longer in his brother’s shadow (Pau Gasol of the Lakers). Gasol played in 81 games (all starts) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 31.9 minutes, 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.7 blocked shots per game. The Grizzlies don’t have a legit backup center so Gasol is going to have to log big minutes in this series.

Antonio McDyess will likely get the call at center in this series. He played in 73 games (16 starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 19.0 minutes, 5.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. His main job will be to battle Gasol for every rebound while playing solid defense.

EDGE: GRIZZLIES

BENCH: The Grizzlies will likely have a tight bench but the guys that play will likely get their share of minutes. SG O.J. Mayo might get starter’s type minutes in this series. He played in 71 games (17 starts) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 26.3 minutes, 11.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steal per game. He’s capable of so much more. PF Darrell Arthur will be the primary backup big for the Grizzlies in this series. Arthur played in 80 games (9 starts) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 20.1 minutes, 9.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game. SF/SG Shane Battier is going to be asked to play defense and hit some long range bombs in this series. Battier played in 23 games (0 starts) for the Grizzlies after coming over from the Rockets and he averaged 24.2 minutes, 5.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. PG Greivis Vasquez will likely give Conley a break when he needs one. Vasquez played in 70 games (1 start) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 12.3 minutes, 3.6 points, 1.0 rebound and 2.2 assists per game. PF Leon Powe might also get some play in this series. He played in 16 games (0 starts) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 8.8 minutes, 5.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 0.3 assists per game.

SG/PG George Hill might start in this series in Manu Ginobili’s place if he can’t go. Hill will do a good job in whatever role the Spurs need him to fill. Hill played in 76 games (5 starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 28.3 minutes, 11.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. C/PF DeJuan Blair might start at center in this series, but if not, he will play big minutes anyway. Blair played in 81 games (65 starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 21.4 minutes, 8.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.2 steals per game. SF/PF Matt Bonner is the long range assassin off the bench for the Spurs. He played in 66 games (1 start) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 21.7 minutes, 7.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game. Rookie SG Gary Neal will bring instant offense and energy off the bench for the Spurs in this series. Neal played in 80 games (1 start) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 21.1 minutes, 9.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. Rookie center Tiago Splitter might get some minutes in this series. He played in 60 games (6 starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 12.3 minutes, 4.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 0.4 assists per game. SF Steve Novak is a long range bomber just like Matt Bonner. He played in 23 games (0 starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 8.6 minutes, 4.0 points, 1.0 rebound and 0.1 assists per game.

EDGE: SPURS

COACHING: Lionel Hollins did a great job to get the Grizzlies to the playoffs this year. He has a career record of 117-150 (43.8%) during the regular season. Like his Grizzlies, Hollins will be getting his first taste of the NBA Playoffs as a head coach.

Gregg Popovich is one of the best coaches in the NBA. He has a career record of 797-383 (67.5%) during the regular season and he is 106-69 (60.6%) in the post-season. Popovich has led the Spurs to 4 NBA Championships so far in his career.

EDGE: HUGE FOR SPURS

PREDICITION: The Spurs are going to have their hands full with the upstart Grizzlies. I like the Spurs to win this series in 7 very hard fought games.

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