Preview: Spurs aim to avoid Game 2 letdown

Manu Ginobili will return for his 16th NBA season, all coming with the Spurs.

A look at the latest on the Spurs and Grizzlies heading into Game 2 of their first-round series Monday:

Per the San Antonio Express-News: “While Spurs coach Gregg Popovich acknowledged a letdown is a possibility even for a veteran team, he said he doubted it would happen.”

Per the San Antonio Express-News: “If we win a game or lose a game, it won’t be because they took it for granted,” Popovich said. “It’s the same with Memphis. They’re both good teams, solid teams, that are going to come to play every night. It’s got nothing to do with not being ready or not being motivated or not working hard. That’s all silly.”

Per the San Antonio Express-News: “One adjustment the Grizzlies plan to make is to try to keep their emotions in check.” (Full report.)

Per Pounding the Rock: “Saturday’s performance showed what the Spurs are capable of if Parker can consistently play close to that level for the next two months. While that may be a lot to ask, Amaar Abdul-Nasir of herosports.com goes over how the most overlooked, under-appreciated star of the last decade has a chance to be the most important player in the 2017 NBA playoffs and potentially throw a monkey wrench into the NBA’s entire Warriors-Cavs 3.0 plans.” (Full report.)

Per Project Spurs: “With three minutes remaining in the game Saturday, Jonathon Simmons drove down the lane and finished a layup with his left hand over Jarell Martin to give the San Antonio Spurs a 36-point lead over the Memphis Grizzlies.”

Per Project Spurs: “Shades of Manu Ginobili aside, that layup gave the silver and black their largest lead of the night.”

Per Project Spurs: “San Antonio ended up winning by only 29 points to take a 1-0 series lead. The question is, how much can you honestly improve after throttling the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1?” (Full report.)

Per the Memphis Commercial Appeal: “Memphis doesn’t have enough offensive firepower to contend with San Antonio when it scores 111 points and shoots at a 53-percent clip as it did in Game 1. David Fizdale lamented that the Grizzlies’ defensive effort waned as Game 1 grew old because they weren’t scoring.”

Per the Memphis Commercial Appeal: “That’s been our trend over the year. If our offense just dies, at a certain point, our defense just goes ‘Goodness gracious, we can’t take it no more’ and it collapses,” Fizdale said. “I don’t want to see that but the dam broke after a while. We missed three open threes to start the (second half). Mike (Conley) missed a wide-open floater and, over the course of that, (the Spurs) kept pounding. An all it takes is one big run from the Spurs.” (Full story.)

Per Grind City Media: “Conley said Sunday’s film study showed how effective the Spurs were in forcing him to stay on one side of the court and cutting off lanes to the basket that would have allowed him to penetrate and create opportunities for teammates. In previous matchups with the Spurs in the playoffs, Conley saw San Antonio’s defense load up in similar fashion on either Gasol or Zach Randolph.”

Per Grind City Media: “Now, Conley is getting the bulk of the attention. It’s both a compliment to his rise as an elite threat as well as a burden for Conley to overcome the tactics of the NBA’s top-ranked team in defensive efficiency.” (Full report.)

Per Grind City Media: “Among playoff teams, only the Milwaukee Bucks, who start Malcolm Brogdon and Thon Maker, are relying more heavily on two rookies in their rotation than the Grizzlies.”

Per Grind City Media: “But coach David Fizdale admitted Sunday that rookie guards Wayne Selden and Andrew Harrison were overwhelmed by the playoff stage in their postseason debut. With Tony Allen expected to miss the first-round series with a strained right calf, the Grizzlies started Selden at shooting guard and played Harrison nearly 20 minutes in his role as Conley’s backup at point guard.” (Full report.)