With Game 1 of the playoff series between the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies kicking off tomorrow in San Antonio, I polled our staff and a few media members to get their predictions.
As for my prediction, while a first round series with the Memphis Grizzlies brings up bad memories for Spurs fans, the team the Spurs will be facing this time around will be nowhere close to the team the Spurs lost to in 2011, and likewise, this is also a very different Spurs team.
The Grizzlies will be using a skeleton crew against the Spurs with many players out due to injury. Unless the Spurs go into this series overconfident, which is highly unlikely, I can’t see Memphis claiming a victory, even at home. The Spurs will move on to the Western Conference semis with a sweep of the Grizzlies. Spurs in four.
Spurs in 4. Minus Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge showed how much of a problem he’s going to be for Memphis by scoring 63 combined points in the Spurs’ last two games against the Grizzlies. After Aldridge, San Antonio has way too many options for the Grizzlies team that is just trying to field a team as best as possible.
Memphis hasn’t had much success against the Spurs since they upset San Antonio as an eight seed in 2011. With Marc Gasol and Mike Conley out for the year with injuries, the Grizzlies limp into the playoffs (1-10 in their last 11 games) against a Spurs team that knows the value of any extra rest they can get with presumed match ups with the Thunder and Warriors looming. The best regular season Spurs team of all time is licking its chops watching a starting lineup boasting Jordan Farmar, Vince Carter and Birdman come out of the opposite tunnel… Spurs in 4.
Prediction: Spurs in 4. Spurs are too powerful and Memphis is depleted with injuries. LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard had a great season against the Grizz and I expect that to continue in this series. If Spurs can get their offense going early and protect the rim, this series should be a quick one.
The Grizzlies have had an NBA record 28 players suit up for them this season. And despite the rotating cast of warm bodies, Memphis can still manage to give their opponents hell. A couple players to watch from a “What Could Have Been” standpoint will be former Austin Spurs alums Bryce Cotton and JaMychal Green, but don’t expect much from either. I’ll take the ragtag Grizzlies in a bar brawl, but the Spurs in a first round sweep.
Spurs in a sweep. Memphis sees some great play from Tony Allen covering Kawhi. Vince Carter keeps up his consistent play, but poor point guard play dooms the Grizzlies. San Antonio is too deep.
The injury ravaged Grizzlies are going to shock the world and only lose each game by 15. Spurs in a sweep, but I hope Vince Carter dunks at least once and Birdman does something stupid.
David Chancellor, News 4 San Antonio
This would have been potentially an entertaining series six months ago, but injuries have made Memphis essentially meaningless. They will play hard for five games. They will also lose four of them. Spurs in 5.
Chris Duel, Spurs studio host
Spurs fans are cocky. Waaaaaay too cocky. We think a Warriors-Spurs matchup in the Western Conference Finals is a foregone conclusion. Memphis and Oklahoma City stand in the way. And Oklahoma City scares the heck out of me. Most Spurs fans will expect a sweep against Memphis. And a sweep will be necessary to rest up for the brutal bloodbath that will be the OKC series in the next round.
The cocky Spurs fan in me says the Spurs will sweep Memphis. But these are the NBA Playoffs and unexpected things happen. We all know Memphis is decimated by injuries. Don’t forget that the Spurs were inconsistent the final two weeks of the regular season.
Memphis wins one in the Grind House and the Spurs come back to AT&T to close out the series. Spurs in Five. Then be very afraid of OKC. #AppropriateFear
Maury Vasquez, former sportscaster
If this playoff matchup happened just after the All-Star break, Spurs fans might have some reason to sweat a series vs. the Grizzlies. But facing the current shell of that Memphis team leaves the Spurs having to guard against boredom. The decimated Grizz stumble into the series losers of 14 of their last 17 games. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter can’t produce enough magic to change the outcome. The Spurs might as well begin game planning for expected 2nd round battle vs. the Thunder, as this series will be akin to facing glorified D-League team. But first, SA must crush Memphis to get rest for the big playoff push that lies ahead. Spurs sweep 4-0.
Jeff Garcia, Spurs Zone
The Spurs should have zero problems dispatching Memphis to an early summer vacation. This isn’t the Grizzlies of old. Beset by injures to key players (Marc Gasol in particular), Memphis should be no issue for the Spurs. Add the fact they lost 15 of their last 20 games of the season, the Grizzlies are coming into the postseason on the wrong foot while the Spurs are coming in primed and ready. Namely Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge who has been playing lights out. San Antonio will need to dispatch Memphis quickly to rest up and be ready for the semifinals where it is possible OKC will be their next opponent. Prediction: Spurs 4-0 over Grizzlies
Rey Moralde, The No Look Pass
On paper, you might as well give the Spurs a first round bye. But there’s a reason why the Grizzlies stayed in the playoff hunt; they never make any excuses and have the heart and ability to go “next man up.” No Mike Conley and Marc Gasol? No problem.
Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, the Spurs are the best when it comes to the “next man up” plan. The Spurs are the deepest team in the league and they never seem to miss a beat whenever they have any of their top 10 guys on the court. The only way this goes seven games is if the NBA mandates that this series is extended to 13 games. Memphis just can’t match up in terms of firepower and the Spurs aren’t going to mess around from April to possibly June.
PREDICTION: San Antonio sweeps.
Jason Minnix, ESPN Radio – San Antonio
Spurs in 4.