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Three things about Game 2: Tony Parker is that good but Randolph, Grizzlies figuring it out

May 22, 2013, 2:57 AM EDT

Memphis Grizzlies v San Antonio Spurs - Game Two Getty Images

That was more like what we expected out of this series — close, intense, physical. Well, it was close for the final 17 minutes (just ignore the first 36), but in the end the Spurs got the win and are up 2-0 in the series.

Here are three takeaways from this game.

• Yes, Tony Parker is that good. After Game 1 the Grizzlies wanted to slow down the Spurs pick-and-roll, they wanted to cut Tony Parker off at the point of attack. Well, they tried. But not much is going to was going to shut down Parker on a night he was playing like the mid-season guy everyone thought should be in the MVP conversation.

For a second game in a row he sliced and diced the Grizzlies defense, this time to the tune of 14 points and 18 assists — he seemed to sense guys open and hit them, whether they were cutting to the rim or hanging out at the arc. Memphis wanted to slow down the pace (so they can set their defense) and Tony Parker was at the heart of destroying that strategy.

Parker is going up against one of the best defensive point guards in the game in Mike Conley and besting him. In Game 2 Parker got Conley in foul trouble and what little the Grizzlies were able to muster went away.

It all went away in the fourth quarter, when Parker was 2-of-8 shooting with no assists — he looked exhausted. Everyone did, but it showed in his game. That also showed how key he is to the Spurs offense against a good Grizzlies defense. The Spurs need that Parker every game.

Zach Randolph, welcome to the conference finals. The first half of this game looked like all of Game 1 for Zach Randolph — the Spurs fronted him in the post, didn’t let him easily establish position and brought help from the corners quickly (sometimes before the pass). It got in his head — he was rushing shots when he did get the ball and as a result was missing shots he normally hits. The result was a 1-for-10 shooting first 24 minutes. And that’s not mentioning how the Spurs continued to expose Z-Bo’s pick-and-roll defense (there’s a reason Parker has room at the point of attack).

But in the second half Randolph was 5-of-7 shooting for 13 points and he was key to the Memphis comeback. With guys making shots and cutting out of the corners, Randolph found himself in more on-on-one situations on the block, and he can exploit that. He was grabbing offensive rebounds. He had a much better energy.

It wasn’t enough, but it’s something to build on — the Grizzlies will need two games of the full Z-Bo at home to even this series.

• For Memphis this was something to build on. There are no moral playoff victories. But after seven ugly quarters of basketball from Memphis they fought back, tied the game up, made some plays down the stretch and could have stolen one.

In the fourth quarter they slowed the game down and took away the transition buckets of San Antonio. The Spurs missed shots but they also didn’t get as many good looks against a set defense. The Grizzlies got some shots from Randolph and others (Quincy Pondexter was 2-of-3).

Memphis also played better defense as San Antonio shot 4-of19 — the Grizzlies seemed to finally anticipate the ball rotation and they closed out on shooters much better. The Grizzlies shouldn’t have needed a 15-2 run, but they got one and tied it up on the road.

At home role players like Jerryd Bayless shoot better, the Grizzlies won’t miss seven shots in a row inside five feet, they will play better.

We’ll see if they can build on that good fourth quarter, Memphis needs to win both of the two games at home to have a real shot in this series. But they came back from down 0-2 against the Clippers (and the Spurs were up 2-0 in this spot last year against the Thunder and lost four straight.

  1. dacapt704 - May 22, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    Tp was brilliant the 1st 3 qtrs…that last qtr they cut off his penetration & kick to the open shooters, which SA couldn’t counter from. Still very surprised they (SA) went so cold late in the game and executed poorly. Mem def has something to build on going in to game 3 but unless they stop going on those 3-4 min scoreless droughts, I expect the same kinda games in Mem

  2. pistolpete0903 - May 22, 2013 at 8:19 AM

    Like a nice chess game… times!!
    Spurs in 6.

  3. logisticalvoices - May 22, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    I have no doubt that the future of the West belongs to the Grizzlies and Thunder. But, it looks like the Spurs are going to be able to keep their window of opportunity open one more year.

  4. andrewproughcfe - May 22, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    I would add that without the incredible flop by Tony Allen in the last 30 seconds, this game wouldn’t have gone to overtime. Allen deserves serious consideration as both a game MVP for the Grizzlies and for an Emmy.

    • kavika6 - May 23, 2013 at 6:20 AM

      Pretty bad acting but good enough to fool the refs and Stern. Where’s the fine?

  5. yuwannano - May 22, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Grizzlies!!! Why you no shoot good no more? 😦

  6. ragingmouse - May 22, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    I think some folks are giving way too much credit to grizzlies than they deserve .
    What got them back in the game was not defense, but poor shooting by the spurs…
    and dumb mistakes by the spurs…

    • memphismiracle - May 22, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      If not for defense, those shots would’ve been open. We have all seen what the Spurs can do with wide open looks. It was the contested, hand in the face shots that they weren’t hitting because Memphis finally woke up and found their groove on defense.

      Also, I don’t think anyone is giving Memphis “way too much credit” for anything. Everyone knows the Spurs are awesome. They played like they had been there before. Memphis played like a team in their first Western Conference Finals in franchise history. It was just nice to see the real Memphis team show up for at least one quarter last night.

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