The San Antonio Spurs put on a defensive clinic against the Memphis Grizzlies during their 94-68 game two victory. Led by back-to-back Defensive
Player of the Year, Kawhi Leonard, bolstered by an excellent performance from LaMarcus Aldridge guarding Zach Randolph and Tim Duncan manning the last line of defence, the Spurs held the Grizzlies to 32.6% shooting and a Memphis franchise playoff-low in scoring.
Their 68 on the scoreboard just edged out their 70 point performance against the Spurs exactly eight years ago to the day.
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It's no surprise that Leonard made his mark in his own end and Duncan has been consistently protecting the rim since it was just a peach basket, but Aldridge really shined on Tuesday night against the Grizzlies.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said when asked about how his team were able to contain Randolph in the paint: "I just think LaMarcus played excellent defence tonight, we didn't double team [Randolph] or anything like that. If [Randolph] got into the lane I guess we'd try to make a play, but mostly LaMarcus gets credit for doing a fine job on a great player."
As for the Spurs' offensive struggles, Popovich said it would: "be fair to say that [he's not terribly impressed how the Spurs have played on the offensive end]."
The Spurs were careless with the ball and Memphis looked to get hands into passing lanes on every possession, leading to many deflections or just outright steals for the skeleton-crew Grizz.
In the end, San Antonio turned the ball over 19 times which according to Popovich was not good, simply saying: "[The Spurs] turned it over too much. It's just a fact."
Patty Mills, who led the team with 16 points on 5-for-8 from the field, echoed Pops' sentiments. Talking about Memphis' defence, the Austrailian point guard said: "They're a very physical team, especially defensively and they turned us over tonight.
"For us, we can't let that happen, we need to be stronger with the ball, make harder passes, cut harder. All of those little things that we need to be crisp to get better."
So the Spurs are still more focused on themselves than other teams, still trying to get better each game and to fix the things that are in their control. Their energies are directed internally, more concerned with their own play than with game-planning for their opponent.
"It's all about us and where we're at," said Mills. "And how we can get better. There are definitely a few things from tonight's game that we can focus in on and get better for the next one."
That's all true for now, but tougher opponents loom in the near future and the Spurs are going to have to start thinking about what they're going to do to stop, or at least slow down, their potential foes moving forward.