The San Antonio Spurs soundly defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 106-74 to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
These two teams came into this game ready to play after distinctive regular seasons. The Spurs had the most wins by any non top-seeded team in NBA history. The Grizzlies used an NBA record 28 players this season, illustrating their plaguing injury situation and the resulting roster flux.
Solid defense was the story for these two grinding teams early on. The Grizzlies started 1-11 from the field and the Spurs began just 2-6, and the poor shooting continued through the 1st quarter.
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Without Marc Gasol and Mike Conley to contribute on offense, the Grizzlies were going to need extra production from their supporting cast. Vince Carter scored their first 7 points, doing his part to reduce the negative effects of the Grizzlies being without two star players.
In Gasol’s absence, Chris Andersen also left his mark early in the game with his energetic brand of rebounding intensity.
The Grizzlies’ best lock-down defender, Tony Allen, ended up playing this game despite a hamstring injury, but found himself in foul trouble early on and never had a huge impact on the game’s narrative.
The Spurs ended the opening quarter on a 10-2 run, and took a 22-13 lead after the 1st quarter.
Carter continued to score the ball for a Grizzlies team lacking sufficient offensive options, and the Spurs remained ice cold shooting the ball as the 2nd quarter began.
Kawhi Leonard energized the Spurs with his defense, which lead to fast-break opportunities on the other end of the court.
The Grizzlies made 7 shots in a row during the middle of the 2nd quarter, but still found themselves trailing. The Spurs were active on the offensive glass, resulting in second chance points to pad their lead.
Lance Stephenson joined Carter in creating offensive chances for the Grizzlies, but they ended the 2nd quarter on a massive field goal drought.
Tony Parker was able to cap off the 2nd quarter with a couple nice drives to the hoop, and the Spurs rode an 11-2 run to give themselves a 48-37 lead at halftime.
Carter’s performance was refreshing for the Grizzlies, as he played like he was ten years younger. He made 6 of his first 7 field goals of the game.
Parker looked confident in the 3rd quarter, leading the Spurs on a 9-2 run to expand the lead. The Spurs hit 10 shots in a row at one point in the 3rd. The large cushion allowed Gregg Popovich to take his starting unit out near the end of the 3rd quarter for extra rest. The third quarter ended with a gigantic 81-51 lead for the Spurs.
The Spurs closed the game out with a sharp 4th quarter from their second unit, giving their home fans a 106-74 victory.
The Grizzlies averaged less than 13 turnovers per game in the regular season, but committed 17 in this game due to the Spurs’ top ranked defense.
Leonard lead the Spurs in scoring with 20 points, and also added 4 steals and 3 blocks. Tim Duncan grabbed 11 rebounds, and Parker dished out 6 assists in a team effort to secure the win.
Game 2 of this series will be in San Antonio on April 19.