NBA Playoffs 2011: Spurs vs. Grizzlies Game 1 Postgame Reaction
In many one-versus-eight matchups, fans can typically expect the one seed to control the first game at home. After watching the Pacers give the Bulls all they could handle yesterday, fans and analysts were excited to see the Grizzlies play the injured Spurs.
The main storyline from this game was the absence of Manu Ginobili. With a recently hyper-extended elbow, San Antonio decided to sit its reliable shooting guard.
Here are the key players, matchups, stats and overall analysis that allowed Memphis to win its first-ever playoff game in San Antonio.
Memphis needed Randolph to come up huge if they wanted a chance to win, and Randolph stepped up in a big way. Randolph finished with 25 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks in 41 minutes. "Z-Bo" also went 10-for-15 from the field and 5-of-8 from the line.
The way Randolph did it was the most impressive. He out-hustled and out-rebounded DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner possession after possession.
Neither Blair nor Bonner had the combination of strength, athleticism, smarts and high energy to contain Randolph. If Memphis wants to be serious about contending in this first-round series, Zach Randolph will need to continue his dominant ways at power forward.
Marc Gasol vs. Tim Duncan
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Continually banging down low, centers Marc Gasol and Tim Duncan were the best matchup on Sunday afternoon. Gasol went for 24 points and nine rebounds, while Duncan posted 16 points and 13 boards.
Fortunately for Memphis, the ending stretch of the game belonged to Gasol. He effectively got to the line and was able to get in the mind of Duncan. After Duncan got called for repeated fouls in the third quarter, you could just sense the frustration settling in on Duncan.
The bottom line reads that the young legs of Marc Gasol outworked Tim Duncan on Sunday. However, we're still talking about Tim Duncan.
Expect "Mr. Fundamental" to rebound in a big way in Game 2.
Tony Parker vs. Mike Conley
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This matchup was as big as any. The veteran Tony Parker went up against the first-time playoff point guard Mike Conley.
In the first half the game belonged to Mike Conley. Conley finished with 12 points and five assists, effectively putting the game in his control.
However, Parker rebounded in a big way in the second half. Parker was able to beat Conley off the dribble and get to the rim possession after possession.
Parker finished with 20 points on just 4-of-16 shooting. Even though he made just four shots, Parker was able to hit 12-of-16 free throws.
Continue to watch these two in the first round as most games could be decided by their play running the show.
George Hill and Gary Neal
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With Manu Ginobili out, the Spurs needed their backup guards to step up. Without thinking twice, San Antonio would most certainly rely on George Hill and Gary Neal.
The duo played solid, but the chances to really have a great game were there. In 41 minutes, George Hill scored 15 points on 2-of-7 shooting. Known as a solid three-point shooter, Hill unfortunately missed all three of his long-range attempts.
Gary Neal was decent but not great in his performance. Neal posted 10 points and zero assists in 25 minutes.
Even though Manu Ginobili is expected to return for Game 2, the Spurs will need Neal and Hill to step up throughout the playoffs.
Shane Battier's Late Three-Pointer/Richard Jefferson's Late Missed Three-Pointer
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Memphis acquired Shane Battier from Houston to do exactly what he did on Sunday. He played defense, made good decisions and made shots when he needed to. In Game 1, Battier showed exactly what type of shots he is capable of hitting.
The veteran out of Duke had 10 points in 25 minutes and was able to hit both of his three-point attempts. Conveniently for Battier, the second of his two made threes was to take the lead with 23 seconds left on the clock.
After Battier made the go-ahead three, San Antonio had the ball with 10 seconds left down just three points. They started with the ball in George Hill's hands, went to Tim Duncan and then found Richard Jefferson wide open with an opportunity to send the game in overtime.
Jefferson bricked the attempt and gave Memphis their first-ever playoff win. After playing so bad in the fourth quarter, Jefferson and the Spurs missed a great opportunity to steal a game they probably didn't deserve to win.
Fully expect Jefferson and the Spurs to come out with a vengeance in Game 2.