By Mike Monroe
In the two days that passed between Games 1 and 2 of the Spurs-Grizzlies first-round playoff series, Antonio McDyess had a difficult time getting out of a deep funk.
Limited to just 13 foul-plagued, ineffective minutes in the Spurs’ Game 1 loss, he took it personally. He was embarrassed, admitting he had been “manhandled” by Memphis power forward Zach Randolph, who scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
As McDyess walked out of the ATT Center after the Spurs’ 93-87 Game 2 victory, he managed a tired smile as he discussed a defensive performance that limited Randolph to 11 points and helped the Spurs get an important victory.
“When we lost that first game, I thought I was dreaming — a nightmare actually,” he said. “Me, personally, I’m the type of person I don’t want to see us lose any time we play, especially in the playoffs.
“They had manhandled us. They came out and did what they had to do the first game to get that ballclub a win, and they manhandled us, I must say.”
The Spurs’ oldest player got some encouragement from team captain Tim Duncan, who was just as dissatisfied with his own defensive work on center Marc Gasol in Game 1. Gasol scored 24 points in that one.
“We knew we had to do a better job on them,” Duncan said. “They obviously killed us last game. That was a big part of their win, so we took it upon ourselves to go out there and battle them a little tougher, make everything a little harder, and it helped.”
Randolph was limited to 11 points on 5-of-14 shooting, and just five rebounds. After making 9 of 10 shots in the series opener, Gasol made only 2 of 9 on Wednesday, scoring just 12 points. He did have 17 rebounds, a Grizzlies playoff record.
“Tonight we came out with our minds made up to make it as tough as possible on them, and I think we did that,” McDyess said. “We had a chip on our shoulders.”
The Spurs’ interior defense turned the Grizzlies into a perimeter-oriented team, which worked in the Spurs’ favor when guards O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley missed 18 of 26 shots and small forward Shane Battier missed 6 of 7.
“The Spurs were very physical, and they attacked (Randolph) every time he put the ball on the floor,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. “He had opportunities, but not enough to be effective.
“They did what they set out to do: They took the ball out of his hands.”
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said all the Spurs big men played better in Game 2.
“Well, Zach’s a great offensive player, and ’Dyess takes a lot of pride defensively,” he said. “?’Dyess did a good job. They just didn’t go down for Zach.”
The biggest relief for the veteran came when he scored on a layin off a slick pass from Tony Parker with 2:42 remaining. The basket gave the Spurs a six-point cushion.
“Man, I was thinking, ‘Antonio, you can’t make a shot, can’t make a layup, you got to make this one,’” he said.