The Memphis Grizzlies marched back from a 26-point deficit to cut the lead to four points early in the fourth quarter on the road against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2. Ultimately they fell short of a complete comeback, losing 96-82. But this mishmosh of the old, the young, and the under-appreciated has some fight to it.
The Spurs ran away with the first game of the series by 31 points, and a sweep looked apparent. That mindset was fair halfway through this game as well, until Mike Conley kicked into second gear, and Zach Randolph woke from his slumber.
Memphis came close on the road without Chandler Parsons and Tony Allen
Injuries forced Wayne Selden into the starting lineup and Andrew Harrison is playing backup point guard minutes. That’s without mentioning JaMychal Green’s starting and 40-year-old Vince Carter is playing more than 30 minutes.
This isn’t a championship roster. It’s hardly a playoff one.
Yet Conley continues to thrive in his role as an underrated guard, and he finished with 24 points on 4-of-8 shooting from deep and eight assists. Whenever San Antonio seemed to regain its lead, Conley came marching back with a clutch steal or a bucket to regain steam.
Though Marc Gasol shot poorly with just 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting, Randolph was Conley’s scoring counterpart as he raked in 18 points and 10 rebounds. They were nearly enough
The team’s second-half performance left fans thinking of what could have been had Parsons been healthy, and elite defender Allen been ready to suit up.
Carter talked trash and brought out the fun in this game
The old guy was out talking trash to Kyle Anderson early in this one and pumped life into what was a lifeless opening half.
It isn’t the playoffs without Vince.
David Fizdale’s referee rant
The passion came all the way back after Fizdale let loose.
3-point shooting holds the Grizzlies back from making it an interesting series though
In the franchise’s last four playoff appearances, its finished in the bottom five in deep-ball shooting each time. Memphis has failed to address this problem time and time again, and an injured Parsons hurts in this department too.
On Monday night, the Grizzlies went 7-of-27 from deep. That’s 26 percent shooting, and that’s bad. Four of those seven makes came from the hands of Conley alone.
Today’s NBA doesn’t play kindly to those who can’t stretch their game out to the arc, and without shooters it’s nearly impossible to knock out the Spurs.
The Spurs are also too good
More specifically, Kawhi Leonard.
He scored 37 points on 14 shots, and without Allen there to bother him, he ran off for 19-of-19 from the free-throw line. The Grizzlies have nobody of that caliber.
Behind him were four others in double figures, and this game should be considered an off one for that group.
They’re going to give this a finals run.