NBA Conference Finals Preview and Schedule: San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies

2013 NBA Conference Finals
2013 NBA Conference Finals
May 16 2013 Oakland CA USA San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker 9 left high fives shooting guard Manu Ginobili 20 during the fourth quarter in game six of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena The Spurs defeated the Warriors 94 82 Kyle Terada USA TODAY Sports

Though the Miami Heat are ranked No.1 offensively and No.2 defensively as they make their way into the NBA Conference Finals, they no longer seem to be the indestructible behemoth they appeared to be some months ago. As the saying goes: the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Both San Antonio and the Memphis Grizzlies, in theory, have enough weapons in storage to take a run at the champs. And Miami has arguably had the easiest road to navigate to arrive at this juncture. Toss in that Dwyane Wade’s knee is taped over more than a crime scene, and the 2013 NBA Conference Finals feel more than just ceremony―enough competition remains to at least question their chances of repeating as world champions.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, here are the lineups, schedules, and predictions for this year’s Conference Finals.

Western Conference:

San Antonio Spurs (2) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (5)

Schedule (All Times Eastern):

Game 1 – Sun May 19, Memphis at San Antonio, 3:30 p.m., ABC

Game 2 – Tue May 21, Memphis at San Antonio, 9:00 p.m., ESPN

Game 3 – Sat May 25, San Antonio at Memphis, 9:00 p.m., ESPN

Game 4 – Mon May 27, San Antonio at Memphis, 9:00 p.m., ESPN

Game 5 – Thu May 29, Memphis at San Antonio, 9:00 p.m., ESPN (if necessary)

Game 6 – Sat May 31, San Antonio at Memphis, 9:00 p.m., ESPN, (if necessary)

Game 7  – Sun Jun 2, Memphis at San Antonio, 9:00 p.m., ESPN (if necessary)

NBA bandwagoners need not apply. The much anticipated Memphis-San Antonio standoff is pure diehard NBA-goer joy. A battle of small markets and large basketball IQs. Either, San Antonio’s samurai disciplined system, the winningest in modern sports tenure, prevails, or, Memphis’ vintage inside-out ball wins, further questioning if small ball should be the NBA’s preferred method of engagement.

The two teams last met in the playoffs in 2011, when the 8th-seeded Grizzlies team ousted San Antonio in six games. That Memphis team was also without Rudy Gay, but Manu Ginobili played with a broken arm and Tim Duncan with a nagging ankle injury. 2011’s Memphis squad also boasted Shane Battier, O.J. Mayo, Sam Young, and Greivis Vasquez who are no longer on the team. All four of those players made Memphis a strong perimeter unit, with the ability to open up the paint for Zach Randolph to throw down. With their current lineup, which is limited in perimeter shooting, the same won’t come as easily against San Antonio.

In that series, Tiago Splitter and Danny Green posted a total of 57 minutes of playing time. Two years later, they’re much more important to San Antonio’s success. Splitter will be a big body that can disrupt Randolph’s in-paint dominance. And Green can be charged with shutting down either Mike Conley or Jerryd Bayless.

During the regular season, the two squads split four games, with all four victories being achieved on the home court. So, homecourt advantage will be especially crucial in this series. On that front, San Antonio has the gain as most games will be played in San Antonio.

Though the big man tandem of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph will bruise the Spurs throughout all seven games, the Spurs have a larger range of offensive options. The Grizzlies were able to beat two high scoring teams in the Clippers and the Thunder, but will have a harder time against one who is as efficient as it is offensively capable.

There’s also little chance that Tony Parker plays as badly as he did in the 2011 series. During that time, he put up subpar-Tony Parker numbers of 19.7 PPG, 5.2 APG, and 2.7 RPG. This time around he’ll be closer to this year’s postseason numbers against Memphis, or, 25.5 PPG, 6.5 APG, and 2.5 RPG (per


San Antonio Spurs 4-3 Memphis Grizzlies

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Bogar Alonso
Bogar Alonso is a dedicated student of the hardwood, soccer pitch, boxing ring, and tennis court. He is a regular NBA contributor to XN Sports. His work, involving more than just sports, has appeared on The Creators Project, A&E Networks, XXL Magazine, and others. Follow Bogar on Twitter @blacktiles