The San Antonio Spurs dropped Game 3 to the Memphis Grizzlies 105-94. The game itself provided several takeaways, and here are a few of my likes and dislikes from the matchup.
The easiest aspect to pinpoint is the lack of effort coming out of halftime. After leading by two at the half, the Grizzlies outscored San Antonio 31-17 during the third period, after leading by two.
The minuscule energy displayed coming out the half resulted in coach Gregg Popovich pulling the starters not even two minutes into the quarter.
While the third quarter is where Memphis started pulling away, their intensity the entire game was just a step ahead of San Antonio's. The unruly start to open the second half was seemingly the beginning of the end.
Lack of production from Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili:
Let's face it, you simply can not expect to win when your starting point guard goes an entire game without a single score or assist. In 18 minutes, Parker was practically ineffective. His showing tonight was a far cry from his two outstanding performances in San Antonio.
Mike Conley, on the other hand, was a catalyst behind Memphis' offensive attack and finished with 24 points and eight assists.
Parker simply could not piece it together on either side of the floor, which proved to be a major issue throughout the game. During the first two games of the series, his production offensively provided a huge boost for the Spurs, and that went missing this game.
Ginobili managed to play only 10 minutes the entire game, and had two assists and one rebound. Like Parker, he could never seem to get on track this game. Whether it was simply an off-game, or their inability to deal with the Grizzlies' pressure, it must be fixed in order have a better outcome in Game 4.
Zach Randolph carried his momentum from Game 2, and put up 21 points and eight rebounds in Game 3. Marc Gasol also scored 21 points and grabbed six rebounds, while JaMychal Green added eight points and six rebounds.
Based on numbers alone, the Grizzlies made a living in the paint. Although LaMarcus Aldridge registered a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, it was not enough to keep pace with Memphis' post rotation.
Randolph in particular was unstoppable, as he had his way down low and even hit some shots from the perimeter. Gasol has been a steady post presence all series, and Randolph has upped his game as of late.
Going into Game 4, the Spurs will have to find a way to disrupt their post offense.
Honorable Mention: The Spurs shot a dismal 57 percent from the free throw line, compared to the Grizzlies' 90 percent. San Antonio missed a total of 12 free throws, which makes up the difference between the final scores.
Jonathon Simmons, Dejounte Murray and Kyle Anderson:
This trio got a majority of their playing time once the game was already out of reach. However, this provided each with the opportunity to gain additional playoff experience. Simmons splashed a couple of threes, and ended with 10 points, three assists and two rebounds. The Washington product Murray played seven minutes, but showcased his athleticism, and scored four points with two rebounds and an assist. Anderson put up 15 points, three assists and two rebounds.
Playing experience in any fashion only benefits young players, and opens the possibility of their roles increasing in the future.
Balanced offensive attack:
Despite the loss, San Antonio had five players score in double figures. Kawhi Leonard led with 18 points. Aldridge had 16. Anderson had 15. Patty Mills scored 11, and Simmons put up 10.
A variety of scorers is always a plus, and with Leonard and Aldridge receiving the most attention defensively, other players have to find ways to score consistently and efficiently.
Efficiency from the field:
Despite their woes from the charity stripe, the Spurs shot really well from everyone else. As a team, they shot a solid 47 percent from the floor, and nearly 42 percent from behind the arc.
The Spurs converted a total of 10 attempts from downtown, which is impressive considering the defensive pressure from Memphis. This shows the Silver and Black were finding ways to move the ball around the perimeter to create spacing, and most importantly were capitalizing on the open looks.
With three games in the books, the Spurs look to bounce back in Game 4. Tip-off is set for Friday at 7 p.m. CT from the FedExForum in Memphis.