The San Antonio Spurs held serve on Sunday afternoon, dismantling the Memphis Grizzlies, 105-83, to take Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
Tony Parker led the Spurs with a game-high 20 points, adding nine assists and two steals to cap off a dominant performance.
Moving the ball efficiently all game long, the Spurs finished with 28 assists on 40 made field goals, shot 52.6 percent from the field and hit on a staggering 48.3 percent (14-of-29) of their looks from three.
However, the Spurs were challenged briefly in the second half after torching the Grizzlies 51-37 over the game's first 24 minutes.
Midway through the third quarter the Grizzlies hit their stride and ripped off a 10-0 run that cut the Spurs' 16-point lead to six. Thanks to an 11-point outburst from Quincy Pondexter in the third quarter the Grizzlies were able to chip away, but the Spurs responded with an 11-1 run of their own to end the quarter and entered the fourth up 16.
Tim Duncan was rather quiet offensively (six points on 3-of-9 shooting), but he pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds and played superb interior defense on the tandem of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
Picking up the slack for Duncan was the Spurs' collection of wings. Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Matt Bonner were particularly efficient, combining to score 46 points on 17-of-26 shooting.
The Spurs got off to a brilliant start, firing on all cylinders offensively. As a team, the Spurs started 7-of-8 from the field and scored 14 points four minutes into the first quarter. By the end of one, Gregg Popovich's group led by 17, with six different players registering points over the game's first 12 minutes.
Memphis looked lethargic on both ends of the floor early, and its lack of raw playmaking was evident. The Grizzlies struggled to feed the ball to Randolph (two points on 1-of-8 shooting, seven rebounds) and were subsequently forced to settle for jump shots.
Gasol looked comfortable shooting from as deep as 18 feet out, posting up or driving to the cup in the first half (12 points), but he scored just three points in the second half to finish with 15 points and seven rebounds.
The Grizzlies shot 43.2 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three, as just two starters finished in double figures.
Spurs essentially playing the same D on the Grizz as they did vs. the Lakers. Fronting the post & making Memphis hit outside shots.— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) May 19, 2013
Mike Conley was one of the few bright spots for the Grizzlies, as the ambidextrous point guard finished with 14 points and eight assists in 32 minutes. One of the few Grizzlies players who didn't continually settle for jumpers, Conley was aggressive attacking the rim and shot 5-of-12 from the field.
Both teams employed deep benches in the blowout, but it was the Spurs reserves who outscored the Grizzlies reserves, 44-38. Manu Ginobili totaled eight points, while Pondexter was the high man off the bench for the Grizzlies, scoring 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
Game 2 tips off Tuesday evening at 9 p.m. ET from San Antonio.
The Spurs got off to a quick start, with a gimpy Kawhi Leonard taking advantage of Tayshaun Prince from the corner.
Got the corner three right off the bat. Not what you want to see from Tayshaun.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 19, 2013
San Antonio knocked down six of its first seven looks from the field, including two from beyond the arc. Looking to muddy up the action, that's not how the Grizzlies wanted to start.
Spurs are getting their three point looks. Grizz can't let that happen.— Noam Schiller (@noamschiller) May 19, 2013
Green was finding gaps in the Memphis defense early, and he took advantage by scoring eight first-quarter points.
Danny Green has 8 points already. He averaged 5 points per game in four games against Memphis this season, with a high score of 9.— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) May 19, 2013
Thanks to Green, Leonard and Bonner, the Spurs hit four first-quarter threes. By comparison, the Grizzlies didn't hit one.
Memphis, we'll remind, was second in the league in the regular season at defending the 3-point line.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) May 19, 2013
Randolph struggled mightily in the first half, failing to register a point on 0-of-3 shooting.
Nearly two full quarters in the books, and Zach Randolph is scoreless.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) May 19, 2013
And Randolph's struggles against the Spurs this season are nothing new.
Not totally stunning that Z-Bo's struggling against the Spurs -- shot just 36.2% against them this season, third-lowest vs. any opponent.— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) May 19, 2013
Reminder: The Grizzlies lost Game 1 against both the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder yet wound up winning both series.
Memphis lost game 1 in the previous two series as well.— Nate Jones (@JonesOnTheNBA) May 19, 2013
And here's how you know the Spurs won this one going away.
T-Mac. Former NBA scoring champion. Playoff victory cigar.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) May 19, 2013
For the Grizzlies to respond in Game 2, they'll need to contain the Spurs' lethal three-point shooting.
The Spurs have made 14 three-pointers, a franchise playoff record.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 19, 2013