Another tough loss for the Grizzlies in Game 3, their first home defeat in the postseason. Memphis built an early lead off of forced turnovers and solid 3-point shooting, but couldn’t sustain momentum against the expertly coached Spurs. Let’s break down the individual performances of players that saw more than 15 minutes of floor time:
Mike Conley: A-
Conley was generally excellent: beautiful defense in the first quarter to build an early lead, and some heroic shotmaking late. He led the Grizzlies with 20 points, but without a dependable 2 guard or small forward (besides QPon for short stretches) to go to, and without a consistent backup, he just didn’t have enough offense in him get it done.
Zach Randolph: C
Z-Bo got more touches this game, but is still slumping. He missed 6 shots inside of 8 feet and 4 free throws. He did pull in 9 rebounds, but even his at-the-rim putbacks aren’t falling, and it’s not been pretty to watch. Zach’s performance really has doomed the Grizzlies in this series, and credit San Antonio — they’re simply not letting him breathe, with or without the ball.
Z-Bo’s frustration affects his defense, where he already suffers from matchup problems. He’s tasked with covering Bonner at the 3-point line and trying to stymie Duncan inside — nearly impossible for the big man, who, shall we say, lacks manueverability.
Marc Gasol: B
Marc brought good energy early and was money from mid range, but his game got worse with every minute. When the Grizz needed buckets late, Marc demurred on offense (with the exception of a Dr. J-worthy slam on an inbounds play). On the final possession of regulation Gasol held the ball against Splitter for more than 5 seconds, waiting for Conley to swing around for the hand off, while everyone watching begged him to take the jumper. He got good looks in OT but couldn’t convert.
Defensively, Marc had too much on his plate. He overhelped at times leaving wide open interior lanes for frustratingly easy Spurs points. San Antonio shot 59% after the 1st quarter, 77% from inside the restricted area.
Tony Allen: B+
Tony hit three breakaway lay-ups in the first quarter. That alone is impressive. He was probably the most consistent Grizzly, contributing 12 points on 5 of 9 shooting, snaring important late rebounds and drawing big fouls. He also limited his silly shot attempts and played vicious perimeter defense. Tony’s missed free throws in the final two minutes cost the Grizzlies dearly, but it’s hard to single out TA on this; it was an atrocious free throw shooting night for everyone.
Quincy Pondexter: B
QPon did work on offense, netting 15 points with three 3-pointers in a 9-19 performance from the field. He got extra minutes when Prince went out with an injury, but didn’t manage his fouls well, and was disqualified in the 4th quarter. He got burned by Manu Ginobli late in the 4th on two inbounds plays — credit Gregg Popovich on those. With Quincy gone, the Grizzlies had little chance in overtime.
Jerryd Bayless: D+
JB had just a terrible game. 3-11 shooting, 1-5 from long range. He was -18 in 31 minutes. Usually, Hollins is able to use Bayless briefly as a shot in the arm on offense, but Jerryd just wasn’t producing. Bayless was also a defensive liability, unable to keep up with Parker or Ginobli around screens as they racked up 45 points between them.
Tayshaun Prince: C-
Prince played just 21 minutes after spraining his ankle in the 2nd quarter. I hate to say it (Bill Simmons said it at halftime), but this was probably a good thing for the Grizzlies. Prince has been largely ineffective shooting the ball, allowing the Spurs to ignore his shot and instead clutter up the lane for Z-Bo. Many think Hollins should consider swapping Prince for Pondexter in the starting lineup — if Prince’s ankle is still bothering him on Monday, Hollins may have no choice.
How can we sum up the night in a single gif? Let’s try this:
Yep, that just about does it. (via SBNation)