Grizzlies Try to Close Out Spurs in Game 6

2011 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game #6
#1 San Antonio Spurs at #8 Memphis Grizzlies (MEM leads series 3-2)
Best of Seven Series Format, 2-2-1-1-1
FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee
Friday, April 29, 2011, 9:05 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Grizzlies -2
Current Line: Grizzlies -3
Opening Total: 190
Current Total: 189
Money Line: Grizzlies -155 / Spurs +135

Zach Randolph and the Grizzlies host the Spurs in game #6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. The Grizzlies can finish off a shocking first round upset with a win tonight. The Grizzlies are 3 point favorites at home.

On Wednesday night, the Spurs avoided elimination at home in game 5 against the Grizzlies. It took two miraculous shots in the final 2 seconds to force overtime where the Spurs won 110-103. Manu Ginobli hit what looked to be a game tying 3 with 2 seconds left but replays showed his toe was on the line so it was only counted as a two. Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph hit two free throws to put Memphis up 97-94. On the inbounds play, Gary Neal hit a three at the buzzer to tie it and send it into overtime for the Spurs. Of course, had Memphis fouled him before the shot, this series would be over as they were up three  and 2 free throws wouldn’t matter. Now the Spurs have to go on the road to a building they haven’t won in in 4 tries this season as they try to force a game 7 Sunday afternoon. Only 8 teams in NBA history have come back from a 3-1 playoff series deficit. The Grizzlies are trying to be only the 4th #8 seed to win a series against the #1 seed in NBA history.

Ginobli had his best game of the series in game 5. He is still recovering from an elbow injury that caused him to miss game 1 of this series. Wednesday night Ginobli exploded for 33 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals. Tony Parker added 24 points, 9 assists, 2 rebounds, a steal and a block. Tim Duncan scored 11 points in the first quarter but finished with only 13 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and a block. George Hill added 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists off the bench. The Spurs shot 45.9% from the field including 7 for 22 from 3 point range. San Antonio was 25 for 32 from the free throw line. The Spurs had 45 rebounds, 23 assists, and 15 turnovers. The Spurs had 14 fast break points and 44 points in the paint.

In the game 5 loss, Memphis was led by power forward Zach Randolph who had 26 points, 11 rebounds (or Z-bounds as the Memphis announcers incessantly called them), 6 assists and a block. Point Guard Mike Conley added 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and a block. Shooting guard Sam Young had 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals. Center Marc Gasol had 11 points, 17 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block. No other Grizzly scored more than 9 points, and the bench only scored 21 total points. The Grizzlies shot 47% from the field, including 3 for 10 from 3-point range. They made 18 out of 23 free throws. Memphis had 50 rebounds, 19 assists, and 16 turnovers. The Grizzlies had 14 fast break points and 44 points in the paint.

The Spurs are 10-7 straight up against the Grizzlies in the last 3 seasons, but Memphis is 11-6 ATS in those games. The over is 10-7 in those games. The Grizzlies are 56-30 in all games ATS this season, including 26-17 as a favorite, 28-14 at home, 16-5 versus division opponents, 29-12 revenging a loss, 32-15 against teams with winning  records, and 35-15 against teams scoring 99 points or more a game. The Spurs are 26-16 ATS in road games this season, including 8-1 when the total is between 190 and 195 this season.

Memphis forward Rudy Gay is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Guards Jason Williams and Xavier Henry are also out indefinitely with injuries. San Antonio has no significant injuries right now.

Was Wednesday’s game 5 victory the last glorious stand for an aging dynasty or  the start of an epic comeback that could compel a championship run for the Spurs? They won game 5 mainly on the strength of two great shots, but that was at home. Now, is the hard part, they have to go on the road. The Grizzlies are pumped for game 6 in front of a raucous Grizzlies’ crowd, and have said they put the loss behind them. Memphis coach Lionel Hollins is brushing it off as a tough loss. “If you play cards, you lose a hand, you don’t stop playing,” Hollins said. “You keep competing, and the next night you go out and compete again.” I think the Grizzlies finish them off in a close game, as they don’t want to go back to San Antonio for game 7

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