The San Antonio Spurs will play the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs. The Spurs got lost in the conversation between Kobe Bryant’s retirement and The Golden State Warriors breaking the All Time Record for regular season wins, however they had 67 including an incredible 41-1 at home. The Grizzlies had 3 seasons in one. At first they started off slow with the same lineup they have used in recent years. Then they lost All Star Center Marc Gasol for the season. Surprisingly the team went on a surge after losing Gasol and won 12 of 16 games at one point. Then late in the season the team had an incredible amount of injuries, most notably to point guard Mike Conley. They now head into the playoffs with several players who weren’t even on the team two months ago.
POINT GUARD- Tony Parker vs. Ray McCallum
McCallum has performed admirably considering he started on a ten-day contract. It is tough to ask someone to go against the best organization in sports as the starting point guard but that is the task in front of him. Parker isn’t the Parker of old but over the seasons last month he has shown he can still give his team whatever is needed to win.
SHOOTING GUARD- Danny Green vs. Tony Allen
Green is one of many players the Spurs will use at the shooting guard spot. He is an exceptional three point shooter and the Spurs best perimeter defender. Allen is the best perimeter defender in the league and if the Grizzlies are going to have any chance they will need Allen and Matt Barnes to spearhead the defense to hopefully create offense off of their defense.
Small Forward- Matt Barnes vs. Kawhi Leonard
Leonard is arguably the best two-way player in the league. He now has an offensive game to match his superior defensive skills. He has become the Spurs go to guy late in games. Barnes is an active defender who will be the players the Spurs leave open from three. If he was somehow able to catch fire from the outside it will help keep the defense honest.
Power Forward. Lamarcus Aldridge vs. Zach Randolph
Aldridge has seen the expected drop in his overall statistics after signing with the team in the offseason, however as the season went on he was clearly more comfortable in the offensive scheme. Randolph continues to shine in the low post and produce on a nightly basis. He will make Aldridge and the rest of the Spurs frontcourt work on the defensive end.
ADVANTAGE – EVEN
CENTER- Tim Duncan vs. Ryan Hollins
Duncan saw his minutes scaled back during the regular season but will likely see an increase for the playoffs. How well he plays with Aldridge and how the two match up defensively against smaller teams will be interesting to see. Hollins is the presumed starter but it could also be Chris Anderson.
The Grizzlies have been a breath of fresh air for Lance Stephenson. He has been good for them after struggling for the last two seasons. The Spurs are incredibly deep and with Patty Mills, Andre Miller, Manu Ginobili, and Kevin Martin all available at the guard spot. David West and Boris Diaw will be the primary frontcourt bench players
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