SAN ANTONIO, TX (Sporting Alert) — The Western Conference final is expected to be a very chippy one between the Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs, starting with Game 1 at the AT&T Center on Sunday.
Live TV Coverage: ABC
3:30 PM ET, May 19, 2013
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies battled hard to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games in the semifinals, while San Antonio survived the sharp shooting of the Golden State Warriors in their semifinal series.
Both the Spurs and Grizzlies are known for their physical abilities and San Antonio Tim Duncan is expecting an ugly series as both teams hunt a place in the NBA Final.
“It’s not going to be pretty,” star forward Duncan said. “Sorry. It’s just not going to be.
“It’s going to be two teams trying to impose wills on each other. Two very well-coached, good executing, tough-minded, defensive teams. And that’s just how the series is going to go.”
Duncan and Spurs had two other previous battles with the Los Angeles Lakers and then the Warriors, but the veteran forward expects things to elevate during this series.
“It’s going to be a rough one,” he said.
“If you thought this [series] was physical, it’s going to turn up about 10 notches.”
Memphis’ impressive showing in the playoffs so far has left many surprised, but not Duncan.
Gasol, Tony Allen, Mike Conley and ever reliable Zach Randolph, who collected a game high 28 points and 14 rebounds in Game 5 victory which eliminated the Thunders have all raised the bar in their performance and Duncan admits that he has been watching for a while now.
“I’ve seen them as a major threat for years now,” he said. “Obviously, they beat us in the first round when we were in the [top] seat a couple years back.
“They’ve been a very solid team, a very good team. They have always played us really tough. We respect them and their capabilities and we’re not surprised we’re here.”
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich is also expecting a very different game against a Memphis team that doesn’t give away too many points.
“Finding ways to score is going to be very difficult,” the experienced coach said.
“Just playing against their defense is enough of a concern right off the bat.”
Randolph added:”It’s going to be a tough series. Every time we’ve played them it’s a tough series.
“They got Ginobili, Parker, and they got a lot of other guys who do great things for the team.”