MEMPHIS — 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.
“We know they play great at home,” Spurs forward Boris Diaw said. “They have a great crowd, and they seem to be more pumped up when they play at home. They are probably going to make more shots, so we’ve got to be ready for that.”
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.
“We don’t expect to do that again, but we just have to be better mentally prepared and focused on finishing at the rim,” Conley said.
Randolph went 1 of 8 in the first game and shot a bit better in Game 2. But he still struggled with close shots, with the Spurs often doubling down on him. Randolph said he needs guards like Conley, Allen and Jerryd Bayless to be more aggressive helping on the perimeter and moving the ball.
“That rim’s tight,” Randolph said with a laugh. “No, I’ll just be confident. I’ll take that shot again tomorrow, and hopefully it goes in.”