San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies Game 3 is Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET.
The AP reports: The towels are showing up all around Memphis. They hang over neighborhood signs and even at a door to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The sentiment? Believe Memphis. The Grizzlies certainly do. Yes, they are down 0-2 to San Antonio in their first Western Conference final, but they take heart in knowing they dug themselves out of an 0-2 hole in the first round against the Clippers. No NBA team has won separate series in the same postseason after losing the first two games. The Grizzlies now see only opportunity at home, where they have yet to lose this postseason. ”We got to believe,” Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph said. ”We got to be confident. We got to believe. Game 2 went down, we came all the way back and went to overtime, so we got to have that confidence and we got to believe in ourselves.”
The AP reports: ”We’re down 0-2 and we’ve got to take care of home just like they took care of home,” Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said Friday. ”Simple as that.” The Grizzlies’ confidence also stems from a return to the arena they call the ”Grindhouse.” They set a franchise record winning 32 games there this season, and they are 19-1 here since Feb. 8. Memphis also has lost three straight only twice this season, the last in mid-January. This series took a three-day break after the Spurs won 93-89 in overtime Tuesday night in Game 2. The Grizzlies took off Wednesday after flying home and practiced Thursday and Friday. The Spurs practiced Wednesday and Thursday before taking off Friday. The home team has won 17 of the last 20 games between these teams, and the Spurs lost both trips to Memphis during the regular season. With strong memories of blowing a 2-0 lead to Oklahoma City in the Western finals, the Spurs know the games in Memphis will be hard.
The AP reports: It would be tough for the Grizzlies to shoot much worse than they did in the first two games in San Antonio, including a stretch where they missed seven straight layups in one sequence. They missed 15 of 18 attempts inside 5 feet in the first half, a statistic that surprised Grizzlies guard Mike Conley because of their strength scoring in the paint.
The AP reports: The Grizzlies also want to make Spurs point guard Tony Parker work harder and spend more energy bringing the ball up the court. That also might slow Parker from getting his teammates involved, something he did all too well in Game 2 with a playoff-best 18 assists.
The San Antonio Express-News reports: For much of the season, the Grizzlies’ best offense has been to throw the ball at the rim, then let Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol score on offensive putbacks. Memphis enjoyed a 19-4 edge on the offensive glass in Game 2 but converted those second chances into only eight points. Expect that ratio to rise in Memphis, meaning the Spurs have to do a better job of limiting the Grizzlies to one shot per possession. Something akin to Game 1, when Memphis managed only 10 offensive boards, should suffice.
The San Antonio Express-News reports: A precautionary MRI to monitor the recovery of Tony Parker’s bruised left calf revealed he’s on track and, as expected, ready to play in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals on Saturday. “Everything is fine,” Parker said of the procedure, which was done before Thursday’s practice. “They still see a lot of blood but the size is going down. Like I said (Wednesday), I feel like I’m turning the corner and I feel like I’ll be fine for Saturday. “It feels better. Now, (the bruise) is like spread out. That’s why it felt like my Achilles was inflamed. Now it’s fine. Rest and treatment — ice and massaging to move all the blood out of there.”
The AP reports: Allen did not talk to reporters after Saturday’s shootaround for Game 3 against the Spurs. But Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said whether Allen hit his head on the floor or not had nothing to do with the flagrant foul. Allen was grabbed out of the air by Spurs guard Manu Ginobili on a fast-break drive to the basket, and Hollins said it didn’t matter if Allen hit his head. ”They reviewed it, they still called it a flagrant,” Hollins said. ”Flopping is not a part of the game and shouldn’t be a part of the game. That’s why we have rules in place. There’s probably a few more that could be called on a lot of people that are still in the playoffs.”