Manu Ginobili is back. With a rather cumbersome looking brace on his sprained right elbow, but he is back.
And that could make Game 2 between the Grizzlies and Spurs a lot different than Game 1.
In the first game, the Grizzlies focused their defensive efforts on Tony Parker (4-of-12 shooting), tried hard to stop kick-outs to three-point shooters (even if it meant fouling) and dared Gary Neal and George Hill to beat them in the midrange. They Spurs as a team shot just 21 percent (7-of-33) on midrange shots. Good looks that normally fall for San Antonio clanked out.
This game will be different. Ginobili changes how the Grizzlies have to defend on the perimeter, particularly on the pick-and-roll, and they can expect better shooting from the Spurs.
Memphis still has a real chance, because they can be dominant with their big men. Last game Marc Gasol was 9-of-10 and Zach Randolph could not miss a midrange jumper. That matchup will not change, but the Grizzlies need to get similar, monster effort from their big men. Yes, the Spurs have that Duncan guy (and he was big in Game 1) but inside is where Memphis has to own this series.
The Grizzlies also have O.J. Mayo and Shane Battier, who can have big games. Battier really did, posting up smaller Spurs guards most of the game then draining the game winning three.
Expect a much better game from the Spurs. We’ll see if it’s a game with as many fouls and free throws as Game 1 (80 trips to the line combined), as that also seemed to throw the Spurs off their rhythm.
Game 1 was huge for Memphis and it’s confidence, but Game 2 is a lot more what this series is going to look like.