The only problem standing in their way, is the most complete team left in the western conference; the San Antonio Spurs.Though the Spurs struggled against the hot shooters in Golden State, they made the correct adjustments and overcame a much younger more athletic team. In part due to Danny green and Kawhi Leonard, the young stars were phenomenal in defending both Curry and Thompson. It is because of these rising players that the spurs will have the advantage.
The season series was split 2-2, but neither team was complete for any of the four games. This series will showcase both teams at full strength. The Grizzlies and DPOY Marc Gasol, versus Tony Parker Tim Duncan and a lethal team of young stars.
At 6’7 Leonard has the size and wing span to disrupt shooters and he as physical as most when it comes to rebounding. He is resilient and shows a knack for locking down players. He will be needed to contain Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince, if Leonardcan continue to develop as the playoffs go then the spurs will be just fine. Green on the other hand was the unsung hero of the Golden State series. He took it upon himself to harass and contain S. Curry. While curry shot around 45% in the first round, he found it a little more difficult against the bigger green shooting a measly 36% from the 3.
The spurs as a team have been tested again and again; DuncanParker and Ginobili have combined for 93 playoff wins. Putting them 2nd all time as a trio, but it would of not been possible without the mastermind that is Gregg Popovich. Coach pop is so methodical when it comes to adjustments; he sees the players, the sets and the chemistry. If he sees something is not working, he will change it. It showed in game six against golden state. With the spurs clinging to a small lead late in the fourth quarter,coach pop benched Duncan and place Leonard along with splitter, it was a brilliant move. Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward of all time and arguably a top 5 player. It takes a strong willed person to make such a move, but in a team with such structure and willingness to win it’s not hard to find someone to step up. Being the team player that Duncan is, he sat and watched his young fellow teammates pull out the victory.
The grizzlies and their stingy 2nd ranked defense will pose a great challenge for the Spurs, but in the end the difference will be the role players. Danny green, Kawhi Leonard, Gary Neal, Corey Joseph Tiago Splitter... the names go on and on. The grizzlies as a team are playing at an extremely high level, but to defeat the Spurs they will need to play to their strengths, which will likely come from Gasol, Zach Randolph, Chris Conley and the resurgent Tony Allen accompanied by Tayshaun Prince.
The spurs have made 16 consecutive playoff appearances; they boast the highest win percentage of any team in the 4 majorsports, and they’re on the brink of winning their 5th NBAchampionship in the Duncan era. If the Grizzlies manage to pulloff the upset, you’d still be hard pressed to find a better team.