Skip to content

Preview: Grizzlies’ ability to make adjustments will determine their fate in Game 2 against the Thunder

May 7, 2013, 6:47 PM EST

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley shoots against Oklahoma City Thunder defenders in the first half of their Game 1 NBA Western Conference semi-final playoff basketball game in Oklahoma City

There were plenty of stretches where the Grizzlies played just fine, especially defensively, in their Game 1 loss to the Thunder. Overall, the problem for Memphis was that they continually went away from what’s made them successful to this point in the postseason.

There’s a short list of adjustments the Grizzlies need to make in order to get back on track and get a road win over the Thunder in Game 2 of the series on Tuesday night. It starts with Mike Conley, whose improvement this season has been one of the main catalysts for the Grizzlies offensively.

Conley was just 5-of-15 from the field in Game 1, with three assists and two turnovers. He shot five three-pointers and made just one, and as a team the Grizzlies put up 19 shots from three-point distance.

This plays right into what the Thunder are trying to do defensively. They want to pack the paint and force Memphis into outside shots, an area which was not their strength during the regular season. The Grizzlies were dead last in three-pointers attempted per game this year, and ranked just 24th in the league in three-point shooting percentage.

Conley needs to use his dribble penetration to get inside and force the likes of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins to come over and help on him defensively to open things up a little for Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. When Conley does choose to shoot, he needs to do so aggressively on drives, or on mid-range jumpers after gaining some space from his defender. In short, Conley needs to be more disruptive in running the Grizzlies’ offense as he was in his brilliant first round performance against the Clippers.

On the defensive end, the Grizzlies need to find a way to make sure that the Thunder don’t get a second strong individual scoring performance beyond the one that’s virtually guaranteed from Kevin Durant.

Kevin Martin torched Memphis for 25 points in Game 1 on 8-of-14 shooting, while getting to the free throw line seven times. Memphis can’t allow Martin to get going, and would do well to try to get stellar perimeter defender Tony Allen more minutes than the 20 he registered in the first game of the series. Expect a lot more of Allen defensively in Game 2, as long as he remains under control on the offensive end at the same time.

Finally, Memphis typically wins the games in which it wins the rebounding battle. The Grizzlies kept Perkins and Ibaka in check in Game 1, but allowed Durant to grab 15 boards, while Martin grabbed seven of his own. They’ll need to do a better job of team rebounding once Gasol and Randolph put a body on the bigs of OKC, and not allow the wing players to creep in and steal those rebounds.

The Grizzlies should be the better team in this series over the long haul, as long as they play to their strengths. Durant will get his; Memphis just needs to make sure to limit everyone else, while doing what’s gotten the team here on the offensive end — instead of letting the Thunder dictate how those possessions play out.

Latest Posts
  1. Andrea Bargnani out indefinitely after suffering calf strain

    Nov 23, 2014, 2:01 PM EST

    Andrea Bargnani Andrea Bargnani

    Bargnani was close to a return from his hamstring injury.

  2. Report: Free agent market for Jeff Green is as strong ‘if not stronger’ than it is for Rajon Rondo

    Nov 23, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    Jeff Green Jeff Green

    Combination of a lower price tag and a more diverse overall skill set may explain why.

  3. Andrew Wiggins drops career high 29 on Sacramento (VIDEO)

    Nov 23, 2014, 9:30 AM EST

    Sacramento Kings v Minnesota Timberwolves Getty Images

    When he uses his athleticism to get to the rim good things happen.

  4. LeBron James: “We’re a very fragile team right now”

    Nov 23, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Toronto Raptors v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    “This is not even the lowest it’s going to get for us.” —LeBron James

  5. Anthony Davis goes off for 43 points (VIDEO)

    Nov 23, 2014, 1:04 AM EST

    Anthony Davis Anthony Davis

    There was nothing the Utah Jazz could do.

  6. Damian Lillard on flagrant foul from Bulls’ Mike Dunleavy: ‘It was a cheap play’

    Nov 22, 2014, 8:30 PM EST

    Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers

    Dunleavy says he was just trying to foul to stop the clock. Watch and decide for yourself.

  7. Dwight Howard out vs. Mavericks Saturday, no timetable for his return

    Nov 22, 2014, 7:06 PM EST

    San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets

    With him and starting power forward Terrence Jones out, the Rockets are very thin up front.

  8. Brandon Jennings on reason for Pistons’ offensive woes: ‘We don’t shoot in practice’

    Nov 22, 2014, 6:30 PM EST

    Brandon Jennings AP

    Detroit is next to last in field goal percentage on the season.

  9. NBA corrects scoring error from Raptors’ win over Bucks

    Nov 22, 2014, 5:00 PM EST

    Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    Toronto won by 42 points, so this only matters if you had a certain Milwaukee player on your fantasy team.

  10. If Derrick Rose not ready to return by Monday Bulls may add point guard to roster

    Nov 22, 2014, 3:30 PM EST

    US-BKN-NBA-BULLS-CLIPPERS US-BKN-NBA-BULLS-CLIPPERS

    Mike James or Will Bynum could be added to the roster for a short stint.

  11. Eric Bledsoe on flagrant foul he took from Nerlens Noel: ‘They did it on purpose’

    Nov 22, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    Phoenix Suns v Philadelphia 76ers Phoenix Suns v Philadelphia 76ers

    Bledsoe says the Sixers warned him before the game that he would be targeted for his previous comments.

Featured video

Can Rockets, Grizzlies keep up hot starts?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (7566)
  2. D. Wade (6766)
  3. K. Durant (6348)
  4. P. Gasol (5759)
  5. R. Westbrook (5248)
  1. D. Howard (5068)
  2. T. Jones (4993)
  3. O. Asik (4846)
  4. R. Gay (4807)
  5. D. Lee (4603)