(Sports Network) - The San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies will battle for
the Western Conference title, starting with Game 1 Sunday afternoon at the
The two teams split their four regular-season meetings with each team
successfully defending their home-court. The Grizzlies are 5-0 at home during
the postseason and 3-3 on the road. San Antonio is 4-1 in Alamo City during
the playoffs and 4-1 away from the AT&T Center.
Their paths to this point, both this season and as organizations, are wildly
The Spurs are the benchmark franchise in the NBA. They've captured four NBA
championships since 1999 and have made the Western Conference Finals eight of
the last 15 years.
The Grizzlies are competing in their first Western Conference Finals in team
history, a history that started in 1995 in Vancouver, British Columbia and
eventually landed in Memphis in July 2001.
The Spurs swept a severely undermanned seventh-seeded Los Angeles Lakers team
in the first round, then chased around the spectacular backcourt of Steph
Curry and Klay Thompson to beat the No. 6 Golden State Warriors in the
Memphis bested the Los Angeles Clippers in six games during the first round.
The Grizz toppled the top-seeded and reigning Western Conference champion
Oklahoma City Thunder, who played without All-Star guard Russell Westbrook, in
five games in Round 2.
"We're happy to be here, but we're still focused on bigger things," said
Grizzlies guard Mike Conley. "We've got another tough opponent."
Defense is Memphis' calling card. The Grizzlies led the NBA in opponents'
scoring during the regular season and were third in opponents' field-goal
The Spurs weren't slouches defensively during the regular season. They
finished 11th in opponents' scoring and eighth in field-goal percentage.
Both teams have held their opponents under 94 ppg during the postseason.
"It's going to be a rough one," admitted Tim Duncan after the Spurs' Game 6
win over the Golden State Warriors. "It's not going to be pretty, sorry. It's
just not going to be."
For the Spurs, Tony Parker has led the team in scoring during the postseason
with 22.4 ppg. Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green are all
scoring in double figures.
Memphis has seen a massive scoring improvement from their big three in these
playoffs. Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, the Defensive Player of the
Year, are averaging 11.5 ppg more in the postseason than the regular season.
There is some postseason history between these two teams.
It was just two years ago when the Grizzlies became the third No. 8 seed in
NBA playoff history to upset a No. 1. That top-ranked team was the Spurs. Back
then, San Antonio had trouble with the front court of Memphis. However,
Antonio McDyess was the starting center then, now it's Tiago Splitter.
"We're a different team then when we faced them a couple years ago," said
Duncan. "With Tiago and the size we have that's going to be big for us. It's
going to be a big-man series."
Game 2 will be Tuesday night in San Antonio.
The Sports Network