The Conference Finals have begun in the NBA, and there is still European interest. We will keep you updated on their progress throughout.
West – San Antonio Spurs 105-83 Memphis Grizzlies (Spurs lead 1-0)
Tony Parker (France) – 20 points, 1 rebound, 9 assists, 2 steals
San Antonio’s top performer this season was again at the heart of the Spurs’ offence in the first game of the Western Conference and despite having Memphis’ defensive specialist Tony Allen assigned to him, the French guard relentlessly attacked the hoop as he usually does.
Parker’s high basketball IQ was on show as well, as he took advantage of the Spurs’ accurate shooting touch to drive to the basket, force the Grizzlies’ into swamping the lane then kicking the ball out to find the open shooter – and for the majority of the game – they were hot; San Antonio finished 14/29 from distance, shooting 48.3 percent.
If Parker plays like that, with his quickness and ability to find gaping holes in the Memphis defence, this could be a long series for Z-Bo and company.
Boris Diaw (France) – 2 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists
Boris Diaw did his job for coach Popovich, off the bench. He hustled, gave up necessary fouls when needed and gave Tim Duncan and Brazilian Tiago Splitter a rest as well.
Defensively, Diaw would have probably liked to have been more aggressive but as his team secured a victory, he’ll be happy with that.
Marc Gasol (Spain) – 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks
It was a frustrating night for Marc Gasol as he carried the load for Memphis without any help from his fellow big men.
Gasol finished with 15 points on 7/16 shooting, but with Zach Randolph having a poor offensive night, the Spaniard could have attempted to go to the foul line more and got Memphis some easy points there, the 7-footer went to the line twice, going 1/2.
With just Mike Conley and Quincy Pondexter providing support, scoring wise, Gasol was alone inside as the Spurs’ big men definitely got the better of him and Memphis on this night.