Sunday, May 19, 2013

2013 Playoff Preview: San Antonio Spurs (2) vs Memphis Grizzlies (5) - Western Conference Finals

Rematch of the 2011 playoffs! Well, not really.

The San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies met in the first round of the 2011 NBA playoffs.  The Grizzlies being the 8th seed ended up beating the number one seed Spurs in six games. 

These teams are nothing like their 2011 rosters.  Memphis leaned more offense with Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo.  The 2013 team has Tony Allen playing starter every game where as his role was split between OJ Mayo, Sam Young, or Xavier Henry.  The big change between the 2011 Grizzlies and the 2013 Grizzlies is the Rudy Gay trade. 

Since the Grizzlies have moved Rudy Gay for Tayshaun Prince and Ed Davis they have been a phenomenal defensive team.  This appears to be working.  The Grizzlies other stars have improved like Marc Gasol (Defensive Player of the Year) and Mike Conley. This 2013 is much improved having taking out both the Clippers and Thunder on their way to the Western Conference Finals.   It will be interesting to watch how this roster matches up to the new and improved Spurs team.

The same can be said for the Spurs with their roster change over.  They were playing Richard Jefferson and DeJuan Blair with the big three.  Now the Spurs have a young star in the making with Kwahi Leonard playing in Richard Jefferson’s role and the young prospect they have been patient on in Tiago Splitter. 

The Spurs have gone back to their roots of playing tough defense and play a well balanced offense attack.  San Antonio’s style is never sexy to watch but for basketball nerds, this franchise brought sexy back.  Offensively with the young legs, the Spurs are better than they have ever been offensively. This squad averages 102.8 points game in the playoffs compared to the 94.2 with the 2011 playoff squad. 

This series is exactly what everyone wants to see with 5 on 5 match ups that intrigue at every position.  The point guards play between Tony Parker and Mike Conley might be the most important.  The other match ups include Tony Allen and Kwahi Leonard, Tayshaun Price and Danny Green, Zach Randolph and Tim Duncan, and lastly, Marc Gasol and Tiago Splitter.

This series will be a physical contest of 7 games if the season series tells us anything.

Season Series 2-2
Dec 1st: Grizzlies 95 – Spurs 99
Jan 11th: Spurs 98 – Grizzlies 101
Jan 16th: Grizzlies 82 – Spurs 103
Apr 1st: Spurs 90 – Grizzlies 92

Game 1 - Sun  May   19  Memphis at San Antonio         3:30PM    ABC/R
Game 2 - Tue  May   21  Memphis at San Antonio         9:00PM    ESPN/R
Game 3 - Sat  May   25  San Antonio at Memphis           9:00PM    ESPN/R
Game 4 – Mon  May   27  San Antonio at Memphis        9:00PM    ESPN/R
Game 5 * Wed  May   29  Memphis at San Antonio        9:00PM    ESPN/R
Game 6 * Fri  May   31  San Antonio at Memphis           9:00PM    ESPN/R
Game 7 * Sun  June  2   Memphis at San Antonio           9:00PM    ESPN/R

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