Monday, April 25, 2011
Memphis looking like Grizzled veterans
By ESPN Stats & Info
The Memphis Grizzlies put on a basketball clinic in the second half of their destruction of the San Antonio Spurs, moving the Western Conference's top seed to the brink of elimination.
The Spurs shot 55.3 percent in the first half, seeming to shake their series-long shooting funk -- only 41.7 percent shooting in the first three games -- and actually led at halftime.
After the break though it was the Grizzlies who got hot, opening the third quarter on a 14-0 run and never looking back.
So what changed in the third quarter?
The Spurs turned the ball over seven times and had just four assists. This came after the Spurs turned the ball over a total of eight times in the first half.
While San Antonio was struggling to score, Memphis shot 62.5 percent from the field on two-point field goals. The Grizzlies also got to the free throw line 12 times in the period, making 10.
The Spurs took just two free throws in what turned out to be the game-changing period.
Memphis was able to dominate the second half in rather unconventional fashion. The Grizzlies -- who scored more points in the paint than any team in regular season -- rode a wave of hot jump shooting in their rout.
The first-half game footage showed the Grizzlies made just five of their 17 jump shots. However, in the second half they made 14 of their 26 jump shots. Those 26 jump shots accounted for 65 percent of their field goal attempts in a second half. Despite the unusually high reliance on the jumper, Memphis shot 55 percent from the field as a team.
In the first three games of the series, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combined to score 40.9 percent of the Grizzlies’ total points, but in Game 4, the two big men scored just 20 of the team’s 104 points (19.2 percent). After a Gasol layup with 2:04 left in the third, neither player got a touch over the final 28 possessions as Memphis extended its lead.
Memphis’ bench scored 18 of 22 points during a crucial 22-9 run from 1:43 left in the third quarter to 5:43 in the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies bench shot 7-of-9 during the run, led by Darrell Arthur, who went 5-for-5.
When the teams meet in San Antonio on Wednesday, the Grizzlies will be just the fourth No. 8 seed to take a two-game advantage into a potential series clincher since postseason expansion in the 1983-84 season.
The most recent time it happened was 2007, when the Golden State Warriors led 3-1 before ousting the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in six games. However, the previous two times it had happened the higher seeded team won three straight to take the series (2003 Pistons, 1993 Suns).
Still, history is against San Antonio making a comeback. This marks the sixth time during the Tim Duncan Era that the Spurs trail a series 3-1. Each of the previous five times San Antonio lost the series.