For all intents and purposes, the series starts tonight.
By midnight we’ll know if the Grizz are one step closer to evening up the series or in a deficit no team has ever come back from. And with stakes this high, there’s plenty of questions surrounding what Memphis will have to do to hold it’s home floor.
What better way to ease our tension then taking a stab at a few of them.
Can the Grizz contain Tony Parker?
This could very well be the most critical component for the Grizz success, as Tony Parker has been single-handedly dismantling Memphis’ defense – dropping 20 points and 9 assists in game one and a career-high 18 assists in game two.
In game two the Grizzlies didn’t an excellent job of collapsing on Parker in the lane, holding him to just 30 percent from the field on the night. Which proved to be a double-edged sword as the they struggled to recover to the perimeter and the Spurs made them pay.
Look for Tony Allen to be the key factor in game three. He stated he felt he should have been watching more film on Parker prior to game two. With four days to to prepare, Allen – and the entire Grizzlies defense – should feel far more prepared this time around.
Tayshaun Prince vs. Quincy Pondexter?
It’s really hard for Memphis to establish their inside game when they don’t have a wing keeping the defense honest. Prince has failed in that regard and the masses are calling for a lineup change – rightfully so.
“I’ve never been in a position where I’m worried or concerned about how I’m shooting,” Prince said. “I just have to continue to stay confident and when the shots are available, take them.”
Having the confidence to shoot yourself out of a slump is great, at least when the entire season hangs in the balance. With Lionel Hollins hoping to find a rhythm early on the offensive end, handing Pondexter – who’s shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc this postseason – a greater share of the minutes on the wing only makes sense. Hopefully Hollins sees that.
Can the Grizz play consistently, on both ends of the floor, all four quarters?
The Grizzlies fought their way back from an 18-point deficit with as little as two minutes remaining in the third quarter to force overtime. Much of this had to do with a complete break down in the fourth quarter where the Grizzlies where outscored 31-18 and closed out the half missing 14 straight shots.
Obviously you can’t just will the ball into the basket, but keeping the Spurs under 30 points a quarter is something the Grizz have proven they can do and have done for four of the eight quarters played this series.
Can the Grizz convert on second-chance opportunities?
The Grizzlies has 19 offensive rebounds. 19. But when you miss seven straight layups in one possession it’s going to be difficult to pull out a win.
Memphis’ plus-15 advantage on the offensive glass only resulted in an 8-2 margin in second-chance points. That’s obviously not going to cut it.
Fortunately the Grizzlies ranked third in offensive rebounds this season and continue to lead the pack in the postseason. So yes, the second-chance opportunities should continue to be there – it just comes down to what they do with them.
▷ What do YOU feel will be the most important factor for the Grizzlies in game three? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know.
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