For those who thought the Memphis Grizzlies peaked last season, the reality of the 2013-2014 NBA campaign is shaping up to be exactly that, as the Memphis Grizzlies haven’t just disappointed with their start but have now also lost Marc Gasol for the next two or three months, not to mention losing to the San Antonio Spurs 102-86, with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili easily navigating the best team in the NBA right now.
Gasol tore his MCL, which means at least 10 weeks out if not more. Even with him their start to the season was less than impressive. Now, without him, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on Zach Randolph to start playing like he did a few years ago and pick it up from 16.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, while giving Kostas Kofous the chance to be a starter once more like he was for the Nuggets and play big minutes each night.
In any case, without him, it didn’t go so well for the Grizzlies who were losing by only 3 points while he was on the floor before he left in the second quarter. Tiago Splitter felt very comfortable without Gasol clogging the lane, scoring 17 points on 7-of-10 from the field, grabbing 7 rebounds as well. Tim Duncan, not having the kind of start he had last year, was subdued with scoring 8 points.
The key to the Spurs’ success begins with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, and when the two of them play well, it really doesn’t matter if Tim Duncan plays well or not. Parker finished with 20 points and 5 assists on 8-of-14 from the field while Manu Ginobili , playing better than he did at the same time last year, had 15 points and 7 assists. He has a long way to go before he erased the mistakes he made in games 6 and 7 for the Spurs in the NBA finals, but it seems like thinking things through and deciding to come back for two more years was the right decision.
Danny Green continues to have these games in which he shows what a limited offensive player he is, but that forces Memphis to leave someone like Parker in one-on-one situations, which makes it very difficult to stop him. Green finished with 0 points, but his three-point threat showed in its full force during the NBA finals has forced teams to defend differently against the Spurs, and it’s still not working for them very well.
Dave Joerger – They are incredibly smart. They have a lot of shooters, so they spread you out. You end up chasing your tail sometimes.