NBA Saturday

1368820791000-cover-1305171631_4_3_rx513_c680x510SAN ANTONIO SPURS at MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES Line & Total: Memphis -5.5 & 178

The Grizzlies look to climb back into the Western Conference Finals with the Spurs when the series shifts to FedEx Forum on Saturday night for Game 3.

Memphis nearly pulled off an amazing comeback in Tuesday’s Game 2, erasing an 18-point deficit with 14 minutes to play by outscoring San Antonio 31-13 for the remainder of regulation before losing 93-89 in overtime. Once again, the Spurs shot much better from the floor (43.4% FG to 34.0% FG), but the Grizzlies kept it close with a 60-46 rebounding advantage and 19 offensive boards. San Antonio has now won four straight games SU, but is just 4-4 ATS in the past eight contests. Although Memphis trails the series 2-0, the club is now 11-1 ATS in the past dozen games. The Spurs have been excellent on the road this postseason, going 4-1 (SU and ATS) with all four victories coming by double-digits. But the Grizzlies haven’t lost on their home floor during these playoffs, going 5-0 (SU and ATS) and holding these opponents to a mere 89.6 PPG on 42% FG (33% threes). San Antonio is a strong 8-1 SU (5-4 ATS) with at least three off-days in between games this season, while Memphis is a poor 3-5 (SU and ATS) with this excess rest.

The Spurs have been very efficient on offense during their four-game win streak, averaging 100.3 PPG on 48% FG and 43% threes. The team has also tallied 28.5 APG and just 12.0 TOPG during this span, which equates to a stellar 2.38 Ast/TO ratio. In Tuesday’s win, San Antonio recorded assists on 81% (29-of-36) of its field-goal attempts. The defense has also been strong during the win surge, holding opponents to 86.3 PPG on 40% FG (33% threes). In Game 2, the Spurs blocked 12 shots, which helped lead to Memphis’ awful 34% FG clip. All five San Antonio starters scored more than 10 points on Tuesday, led by PF Tim Duncan’s 17 points (6-of-14 FG), which was a huge improvement from his six points (3-of-9 FG) in Game 1. Duncan also added nine rebounds, four blocks and two steals to give him a game-high +22 rating. PG Tony Parker didn’t shoot well (6-for-20 FG) to get his 15 points, but he dished out a playoff career-high 18 assists and committed just two turnovers in his 42 minutes, giving him 27 assists and five turnovers for the series. He also had five boards and three steals. SF Kawhi Leonard tallied his 11th straight double-figure scoring game with 12 points, and his nine rebounds represented a big jump from his meager two boards in 30 minutes of Game 1. SG Danny Green remained hot with 11 points on 4-of-8 FG (3-of-4 threes) and he also added four boards and three blocks. Green has connected on at least 50% of his shots in four straight contests, combining to make 19-of-32 FG (59%) and 11-of-19 threes (58%). C Tiago Splitter was a non-factor in Game 1 with one point and zero rebounds in 17 minutes, but shined on Tuesday with 14 points (6-of-8 FG), four rebounds and two blocks. SG Manu Ginobili finally made at least half of his shots for the first time in nine games, connecting on 3-of-6 tries. He scored 15.3 PPG in the first four games of the Golden State series, but has averaged just 7.5 PPG on 33% FG in the past four contests. San Antonio’s bench provided a huge boost in Game 1 with a combined +47 rating, but that dropped to minus-31 rating on Tuesday.

The Grizzlies offense has really struggled since the first round of the playoffs, scoring just 91.4 PPG on 40% FG over seven games. In this series, the team has a paltry 86.0 PPG on 38% FG. But the defense is still capable of winning games for this club, holding three of the five playoff visitors to 83 points or less. The one big consistency for Memphis has been its ball-handling, as the club averages 19.5 APG and 10.6 TOPG for the entire postseason, which equates to a strong 1.83 Ast/TO ratio. In the past nine games, the Grizzlies have not committed more than 12 turnovers in any contest. After a miserable Game 1 performance (2 pts, 1-of-8 FG, minus-28 rating), PF Zach Randolph was a monster down low on Tuesday with 15 points and 18 rebounds (7 offensive). But once again, he shot terribly from the floor (6-for-18 FG) and connected on just 3-of-8 free throws. C Marc Gasol also produced a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds, plus four assists and two blocks, but made just 4-of-12 shots. PG Mike Conley was the only starter that didn’t shoot poorly (6-of-14 FG), as he finished with 18 points and four assists in his 35 minutes of action. SG Tony Allen (2-of-11 FG) and SF Tayshaun Prince (1-of-5 FG) combined for just 10 points and a minus-27 rating in Game 2. With these two starters having subpar games, reserves PG Jerryd Bayless and SF Quincy Pondexter were able to pick up their slack and help greatly during the Memphis comeback. Bayless had a team-high-tying 18 points while Pondexter finished with seven points and nine rebounds.


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