Tim Duncan and Marc Gasol are the matchup when the Memphis Grizzlies visit the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center tonight.
Duncan is coming off an impressive win against the Minnesota Timberwolves where he chipped in 12 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 7 blocks. This is a game where the Spurs lost shooting guard Manu Ginobili and Duncan showed more than enough leadership by stepping up when the team was short handed. Gasol, on the other hand, is coming off a frustrating loss against the Los Angeles Clippers that saw him contribute 8 points and 10 rebounds in 34 minutes but only shooting 30% (4-13). The Spurs will be short handed again today, which will mean Duncan has to stay aggressive on the offensive end and show a vintage performance to help the team win against a Grizzlies team that's shown they are a tough matchup against the Spurs.
What Duncan must do on offense:
He has to keep attacking and making Gasol move his feet on the defensive end. When Duncan's mid range jumper is hitting, that forces Gasol to move back and forth or make a decision if he's going to help in the paint or contest aa jumper. If the rest of the team is hitting their shots, that'll leave Duncan with a paint that's less clogged and easier baskets. He can't go 4 Down anymore consistently against bigs who have quick feet, but he can use other attributes of his game to exploit their weaknesses. Duncan's long arms, veteran smarts, and the fountain of youth that he's found will play a huge part in this game. Duncan's motioning on the offensive end may put the Grizzlies in foul trouble if they're forced to rotate early in the shot clock. Memphis is second in points allowed, so it won't be an easy task for Duncan and the Spurs to score.
What Duncan must do on defense:
Duncan has to be able to defend Gasol in the paint. Tim is slimmer, which means he's not as strong as he used to be, but pushing Gasol out of the paint should bother him enough to put up a less accurate shot. Marc is a good shooter a few feet away from the rim at 43%, so Duncan has to play his jump shot and drive well to not foul or give an easy basket. The farther Duncan can push him out of his comfort zone, the more dribbles he'll have to take to the rim and the farther his shot will be.