Each day, we are going to preview the night's NBA Playoffs action by looking at the adjustments that can be made by the losing team and showing what they can do to win.
After San Antonio's loss to Memphis in Game 1, everyone knew that this was going to be a tough series for the Spurs, but that they would be able to pull it out. Now, with the Grizzlies winning Game 3 in Memphis, the series result is much more in the air. If the Spurs want to win Game 4, they need to make a few adjustments.
Offense: Three-Point Shot Selection
During the regular season, the Spurs were one of the best three point shooting teams in the league. However, during this series, the Spurs have really struggled knocking threes down. Game 3 was a perfect example of that with the Spurs going 2-15 from the three-point line. Now, some of this has to do with Memphis doing a great job playing the three-point line, but the Spurs are also to blame as they are making poor decisions when it comes to shot selection.
This play is a perfect example of the Spurs' shot selection struggles this series. The Spurs do what they do and get the kickout to the corner. However, the Grizzlies do a great job of playing passing lanes and get out quickly on Gary Neal. Instead of pump faking and driving to the rim (which would work on a hard close out), Neal settles for the contested three that he misses.
Here, this is just a quick shot early in the clock. This has been the biggest difference in the Spurs' offense compared to years past. However, when you are in a funk like this, it is hard think this is a good shot, especially when contested.
If the Spurs can take advantage of the Grizzlies and their hard closeouts in the corner (by pump faking and driving), this could make the Grizzlies think about the closeout a little bit, slowing them down. That then opens up the three-point shot. The Spurs just need to be smarter about their shots.
Defense: Double The Post
According to Synergy Sports Technology, the Memphis Grizzlies ran a post-up set 35 times in Game 3. The Spurs only set a hard double or committed a second man five times. The Spurs are at a disadvantage when they get posted up by either Marc Gasol or Zach Randolph because they are simply not big enough to stop them. However, when they send a double, they are able to force the posting big man to get rid of the basketball:
Here, Randolph gets the basketball and wants to turn middle on his post move. He is unable to complete his move because Manu Ginobili is doubling down hard. Randolph is forced to kick the basketball out to Tony Allen, who puts up a runner in the lane. He misses.
If the Spurs are able to get the ball out of Randolph or Gasol's hands, I am sure they would be willing to live with Tony Allen or Mike Conley taking open jumpers and runners. The Spurs need to commit more defenders to stopping the Grizzlies on the block, and try to take away their biggest strength.