Spurs-Grizzlies Preview

Grizzlies guard Tony Allen says the sellout crowd Saturday night

can expect Memphis’ FedExForum to be turned into the


The series is tied with top-seeded San Antonio, and Allen says

the plan is to make the Spurs work for everything they get in Game


”I like how the referees have been calling the games the last

two games,” Allen said after practice Friday. ”They’ve been

letting us actually go out and you know play backyard basketball.

Surprised me, but I love it, so it could be a physical game again.

I’m looking forward to joining in.”

Allen defines backyard basketball as pulling, grabbing and

scratching. He can point to his left forearm where someone’s nail

dug into his flesh.

Fans are hoping to see the Grizzlies add to their first

postseason win with their first playoff victory at home. Allen said

the Grizzlies must focus on correcting their mistakes and getting

the loose balls they missed in Wednesday night’s loss 93-87 in San

Antonio. That includes doing a better job keeping Spurs guard Manu

Ginobili off the free throw line.

Ginobili scored 17 points Wednesday night in his first game back

with a sprained right elbow, and he was 7 of 13 at the line.

”We’ve just got to be more disciplined down the stretch and

take care of the ball,” Allen said.

If this already physical series ramps up even more, guard Tony

Parker insists the Spurs are ready for what should be a lot of


”It’s going to be a great game with a lot of intensity,”

Parker said. ”It’s going to be very physical, and they play very

well at home. It’s going to be a great challenge for us.”

Parker said the Spurs are feeling confident. Ginobili’s return,

plus how San Antonio smothered Memphis center Marc Gasol and power

forward Zach Randolph in the paint with double-teams certainly

helped. The Spurs practiced Friday in San Antonio before flying to


The Grizzlies are very comfortable at home, having won 30 games

here this season. Shane Battier, who sealed Game 1 with his timely

3-pointer, knows from personal experience with Memphis’ first

playoff team how amped up the fans will be this time around. He

expects fans to unleash years of frustration Saturday night.

”It’s a whole different story. Last time Game 3 was make or

break. We all know how that ended,” Battier said of a Spurs’ win

on their way to a sweep. ”We’re in a five-game series now. For all

intents and purposes, it’s 0-0, and the first team to win three

games wins the series.”

Ginobili said the Spurs know what it takes to get a win on the

road in the postseason – they’ve done it before.

”And this is no different. We got to go there and try to get

one. It’s going to be tough because they play hard on the road, and

not even at home, where their fans aren’t backing them up,”

Ginobili said. ”So we’re going to have to play better and harder

and make a few shots.”

The foul calls could be the determining factor.

San Antonio has gone to the free throw line more than Memphis in

each of the first two games with 79 fouls called on the Grizzlies

compared to 53 for the Spurs.

Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said he plans to work harder to keep

Parker or Ginobili from drawing fouls against him while driving to

the basket. Battier had another idea against a couple of gritty

guards who don’t shy away from contact.

”We didn’t get our money’s worth on our fouls against those

guys,” Battier said. ”If they’re going to draw fouls, we’ve got

to make them feel a little more. We can’t give them touch fouls,

get three-point plays and allow them to escape through the lane.

Not saying we’re going to do anything more dirty.”

Parker is hoping to shoot a little better in Memphis, and he

said the Spurs are counting on continuing to keep shooting so many

free throws.

”We have to,” Parker said. ”They play very physical. So we

have to penetrate and be aggressive and make sure we don’t settle

for jump shots and keep penetrating. Because they’re going to foul.

That’s their philosophy. So we’re going to get to the free throw


Memphis coach Lionel Hollins isn’t about to bite on the idea

that officials might be calling the playoffs differently than the

regular season. He said it’s the same officials who may be

emphasizing different things that might have been let go


”I don’t even want to talk about the officials. I like my

money,” Hollins said.

Associated Press writer Paul J. Weber in San Antonio contributed

to this report.