The Grizzlies lost to the Spurs, 89-93 and again, they lost the game early…kind of.
For the most part, it wasn’t that the Grizzlies were playing poorly. They made a lot of relevant adjustments from game 1: they stopped irresponsibly trapping and they started packing the paint on pick and rolls like they’re used to. They kept Duncan from getting too many shots (other than the ones they wanted, which unfortunately, he can hit), and they limited Parker to midrange fades on which he went 2-7. The Spurs only outscored the Grizzlies by 2 points in the first quarter.
Unfortunately, they just couldn’t figure out how to beat the Spurs defense. Marc and Z-Bo both shot 33% on 4-12 and 6-18 respectively, and Conley was 6-14 for 43%. These were the players who were well guarded. Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince shot 2-11 and 1-5 respectively, and they were the guys who were needed to step up offensively to make the Spurs pay for leaving them unguarded. Luckily, Jerryd Bayless stepped up and filled his role well (again…kind of), scoring 18, and Memphis played the kind of defense that they need to play if they’re ever going to hope to beat the Spurs.
However, for as good as the Grizzlies were for most of the game, they completely collapsed at the end of the 2nd quarter. At 4:44 on the clock, the Spurs were up three points, 33-30. At the end of the half, the Spurs were up 15, 46-31. The Grizzlies made one point, and allowed 13. Everything that they had figured out and fixed going into Game 2 failed them at the end of the half.
The 4th quarter was the complete opposite story. Memphis played their absolute best defense. The Spurs stopped playing defense completely, and Memphis went on a 15-2 run at the end of the quarter to force overtime. The Spurs scored 9 points in the quarter. Total. 9. Total. Points. The Grizzlies scored 21 on a characteristic 38% shooting from the quarter.
This quarter was an important reminder: as long as the Grizzlies play their defense, it doesn’t matter how bad the Grizzlies are offensively, they can be dominant.
If Memphis’ 4th quarter makes up for their terrible 2nd quarter, then poor clock management in overtime and Jerryd Bayless are what really lost the game.
With a little more than 12 seconds on the clock with the Spurs up 3, the Grizzlies inbounded to Jerryd Bayless with plenty of time for a quick two and a foul. Instead, Bayless immediately took a step back, contested, leaning 3, and it bricked. Corey Joseph got the rebound, hit a free throw, and the game was sealed.
As SBNation’s Mike Prada said:
Live by Jerryd Bayless, die by Jerryd Bayless.
— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) May 22, 2013
Bayless will be hearing it from Lionel Hollins tomorrow, I’m sure.
On the bright side, the Grizzlies have been down 2-0 before these playoffs, and they’re headed back to the Grindhouse now, where they haven’t lost since February 8th. So hope remains as the Grizzlies head home.