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Preview: Spurs at Grizzlies

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Memphis Grizzlies are in must-win mode as the Western Conference finals move to the FedExForum for Saturday’s Game 3 against the visiting San Antonio Spurs. The Grizzlies dug themselves out of a 0-2 hole in their first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers and will need to do so again with San Antonio winning two on its homecourt. The Spurs had a 2-0 lead in last season’s West finals before losing four straight to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Memphis put together a late charge before succumbing 93-89 in overtime in Tuesday’s Game 2. The Grizzlies trailed by 18 points with 14 minutes remaining before rallying to force the extra session but were unable to even the series. “We’re down 0-2,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “We’ve got to go home and take care of business at home. It’s not going to be easy, but that’s where we are.” Spurs point guard Tony Parker set a personal playoff-best with 18 assists in Game 2 but isn’t relaxing over the 2-0 edge. “We understand that we didn’t do anything,” Parker said. “We just protected home court and we have a long way to go because we know we’re playing a very good team.”

TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN

ABOUT THE SPURS: Parker also had 15 points and three steals while bettering his previous personal-best for playoff assists by four. He has been playing with a painful left calf injury suffered in the second-round series against the Golden State Warriors and underwent an MRI exam on Thursday. The results displayed the calf contusion is dissipating and the three-day break without a game also should help Parker be more spry for Game 3. He is averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 assists in the series. Guard Danny Green has been stellar from long range and is 9-for-14 from behind the arc over San Antonio’s last three playoff games, while power forward Tim Duncan has blocked six shots despite shooting 9-for-23 from the field over the first two games.

ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES: Power forward Zach Randolph finally got his game going in the second half of Game 2. He had just four points on 2-of-18 shooting over the first six quarters of the series before finding room to operate during Memphis’ second-half comeback. Randolph finished with 15 points and 18 rebounds – including seven on the offensive boards – and center Marc Gasol also had a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. The Grizzlies need their star post players to find their shooting touch – Gasol is 11-for-28 from the field and Randolph is 7-for-26.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. San Antonio has made 23 3-pointers in the series – including a franchise postseason-record 14 in Game 1.

2. The Grizzlies outrebounded the Spurs 60-46 in Game 2, led by a 19-4 edge on the offensive glass.

3. Spurs G Manu Ginobili failed to reach double digits in either of the first two games and has just one 20-point outing in San Antonio’s 12 playoff games.

PREDICTION: Grizzlies 92, Spurs 85

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