Here’s a look at how Memphis charged into the ATT Center and claimed the first playoff victory in franchise history.
Game analysis: On the first offensive possession of the game for Memphis, Marc Gasol went inside to take a 2-foot lay-up. Game on for the Grizzlies, who led the league in points in the paint during the regular season. They struggled early getting those easy shots in the paint, but had Gasol and Zach Randolph wore down the Spurs as the game progressed. They finished by combined for 15 of Memphis’ 31 points in the fourth quarter.
How the game was won: Even with their success inside, the Grizzlies relied on outside shooting to pull out the victory. Shane Battier took advantage of a late rotation by Tony Parker to drain a 24-footer from deep in the left corner with 23.9 seconds left to give the Grizzlies the lead for good. Several hours later, his second child was born in Houston. How good of a day was it for Battier?
Player of the game: Randolph was a player who the Spurs didn’t have an answer for throughout the game. He finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds, flummoxing the Spurs with his post play with an occasional jumper thrown in for good measure. Randolph scored at least 21 points in every game against the Spurs this year, picking up Sunday where he left off during the regular season.
Player of the game II: If Randolph was Batman for the Grizzlies, Gasol was a pretty effective Robin as he ripped the Spurs for 24 points and nine rebounds and even added three assists and two blocked shots for good measure. Gasol hit his first five shots before missing a 13-footer with 8:24 left in the third quarter. He finished by hitting his last four field-goal attempts en route to a 9-for-10 shooting effort.
Most unsung player: Memphis point guard Mike Conley harrassed Parker to a struggling offensive game and added 15 points and 10 assists for good measure. Conley did a nice job getting the ball inside to his big players and providing tough defense.
Quote of the day: “They beat me up down there, but I expected it. This is the San Antonio Spurs and they are a physical team. They know how to get things done,” Randolph on San Antonio’s defensive efforts.
Quote of the day II: ”If you are writing a movie, it’s a pretty good Hollywood ending,” Shane Battier on his game-winning shot and having his second child born on the same day..
Stat of the game: The Spurs produced only 13 assists. Five of them came on their first five baskets of the game. They produced only eight assists over the final 44 minutes of the game. Those 13 assists matched their lowest single-game total of the regular season, notched against Dallas on Nov. 26.
Stat of the game II: Parker converted only 4-for-16 from the field (.250 percent). It was his worst playoff shooting game since he shot 3-for-15 from the field (.200 percent) against Dallas on May 19, 2006.
Curious stat of the game: Tim Duncan had a double-double effort with 16 points and 13 rebounds. The Spurs have lost the last four playoff games where Duncan has notched a double-double. During the past regular season, the Spurs were 23-4 in games where Duncan had a double-double.
Injuries: Manu Ginobili still is listed as doubtful for Wednesday’s Game 2 with a sprained right elbow. Memphis guard Tony Allen was briefly sent to the locker room with a strained right calf muscle after colliding with Parker, but he returned to the game. Randolph complained about a headache after the game, but should be ready to go in Game 2.
One losing streak starts, another one continues: Memphis snapped a 12-game playoff losing streak with the defeat. The Spurs saw their playoff losing streak stretch to five, when the four losses from the Phoenix series last season are added. It matches the longest losing playoff losing streak of the Gregg Popovich/Tim Duncan era set earlier with the final four games of the 2004 Western Semifinals against the Lakers and the first game of the 2005 first round against Denver.
Walking in Memphis, as well as celebrating: After playing 417 games with the Grizzlies and seeing the franchise drop all 12 playoff games, Battier understands how excited Memphis fans will be after their upset victory in Game 1. ”I’m happy for the city. I know Beale Street will be a fun place tonight,” Battier said. “Most of these guys don’t understand the history and the heartache the city has gone through in the playoffs.”
What it means: Ginobili can’t get healthy fast enough for the Spurs. San Antonio’s offense bogged down without one of its prime penetrators in the lineup. His enthusiasm and energy were missing, as well as his ability to provide clutch plays in late-game situations. The Spurs are now 1-5 without him in playoff games he has missed because of injuries.
The numbers say: Teams that win first games in the series have gone on to win 320 of 408 (.784 percent) best-of-7 series. The Spurs have won two series in the three preceding seasons after losing Game 1. They lost homecourt advantage in the first game, but can win it back quickly enough in Memphis over the weekend — providing they can win Game 2 on Wednesday. But considering the way the Grizzlies dominated them in the paint, this is going to be a long, bruising series.