The San Antonio Spurs (8-2) and Memphis Grizzlies (8-3) will kick off the Western Conference Finals today in San Antonio in a clash of West powerhouses. The last time these two teams faced off in the postseason, the Grizzlies upset the No. 1 seeded Spurs in the 2011 NBA Playoffs first-round.
The Spurs are coming off a 94-82 win over the Warriors in Game 6 in Oakland to win the semifinals series. Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 19 points while Kawhi Leonard finished with 10 rebounds.
The Grizzlies are coming off an 88-84 win over the Thunder to close out their semifinals series in five games. Zach Randolph led Memphis with 28 points and 14 rebounds in the win.
And as the Spurs and Grizzlies get set to clash this afternoon, here are five things to watch for during today's game:
• Grizzlies' Mike Conley is averaging a career-best 17.6 points and 7.6 assists a game in the postseason.
• The Spurs are 4-0 at home in the postseason when leading at halftime.
• Spurs' Kawhi Leonard has scored in double figures in a playoff career-high eight consecutive postseason games.
• Memphis has won eight of its last nine playoff games.
• Grizzlies' Tony Allen ranks second in the league during the playoffs in steals at 2.27.
Spurs rushed away and never looked back. It is clear that you cannot defend everything in basketball. Memphis went after the pick-and-role but gave us 3-point shooting instead. Not a wise choice. I expect defensive adjustments in the next games.
Writers and commentators seem to give the edge to the Grizzlies to win in 6. Well, this is better than the 2011 results where the Grizzlies shutout the Spurs. In the frontcourt the Gizzlies appear to have the edge in Rndolph and Gasol while the Spurs can rely on TD alone. Even in the backcourt the Spurs have problems in Conley, Allen and Prince. Both teams have the same core as in 2011. What can the Spurs do to reverse the trend? The Grizzlies have Pondexter, Bayless and Prince and the Spurs have Diaw, Baynes and T-Mac. Comparatively, the assets of he Spurs are inferior to the Grizzlies. The Spurs have to dig in deeper if they want to avoid the 2011 debacle and hope to win. But Green has learn his lesson and Leonard has matured. Is this enough to overturn the Grizzlies advantage? Hopefully! GO SPURS!