The San Antonio Spurs will host the Memphis Grizzlies tonight for game five of their first round series. With the Spurs down 3-1 and facing elimination at the hands of the eighth seeded Grizzlies, it is basically do or die for San Antonio.
One Grizzlies player who has been a big thorn in the side of the Spurs has been Marc Gasol. He is practically having his way in the paint against the Spurs' bigs, but what does he have to say about the series and the Spurs? Here are some excerpts from a Q&A he did with USA Today.
Gasol on Memphis being up 3-1 in the series:
We were thinking coming into the series we can compete against anybody in this league. We proved that all year-long, whether we played top teams in the West or East. When we played San Antonio we split the series 2-2. The two we lost in San Antonio were really close games. We know that we can compete against them.
Gasol on whether Memphis "tanked" late in the season to draw San Antonio:
I know there was a little talk about that. At that point, we were getting ready for the playoffs. We weren't thinking about who we were going to face. We were thinking about ourselves, our team, more than who we were going to play. We were trying to win the games. When you play you always try to win, but we were resting some guys (Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, Mike Conley). It was a long season and some of the guys were banged up.
Gasol on if Memphis was concerned about the Spurs: The tough teams are the Spurs, the Lakers and Dallas. That's three veteran, really good teams. Very well-coached and organized. They're not easy teams, neither of them. Trust me, the Spurs are not easy at all.
Gasol on Memphis' size over the Spurs:
That's the way we play. Me and Zach down there gives us a lot of confidence. That's how we start a lot of the offense. I know they're going to try to adjust, but you know, we will, too.
Gasol on what Memphis has to do to close out the Spurs tonight:
A strong start. We expect them to come out real strong, make it a real battle. Keep adjusting to their plays. Keep being physical and don't back down. We will not back down. Just be in character. Just be who we are.