Things are becoming more and more problematic for the Memphis Grizzlies, losing for a third time in a row, this time to the San Antonio Spurs 103-89, costing them the second spot in the West.
While the Grizzlies are sliding, the Spurs are having a lot of fun in March, winning for a third consecutive game which does leave them behind the Clippers (1.5 games) but they’re closer and closer to finishing at least sixth in the West. As of now, that means playing against the Grizzlies in the first round of the playoff, with the team splitting the season series.
Kawhi Leonard continues to prove he’s the most important player on the Spurs, and it wasn’t a fluke that he won the Finals MVP in 2014. Without him San Antonio lose a lot on both ends of the floor but with him? They might still be the best team in the league. Leonard scored 25 points (and grabbing 10 rebounds) and is averaging 19.1 per game in March, perhaps the best month of his career.
Aside from Leonard it was an excellent day for Tony Parker with 17 points and another solid one for Tiago Splitter, finishing with 15 points. The Big Three still matter and are the team’s strongest selling point, but they’re getting less and less important with each passing season. The determining factor in the Spurs’ title defense will be the ability of Leonard, Danny Green, Splitter and Boris Diaw.
Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will obviously have their moments to shine, but there’s no need anymore for them to pull the wagon forward. There are players, or at least one specific person, that does it as well as they do at this stage of their careers.
One final word about the Grizzlies? Not having Tony Allen isn’t the reason they’ve been looking bad. Their defense has given up 321 points over the last three games, losing by an average margin of 19.7 points. This is what’s referred to as a mini-crisis, and it’s coming at the worst possible time.