Welp. That epic Spurs-Grizzlies matchup which seemed to be destined for seven games – heading into Sunday afternoon, preemptively calling the series was a nightmare – got off to an incredibly unimpressive start in Game 1. Blame San Antonio – they didn’t just defeat Memphis 105-83. They knocked the Grizzlies out, kicked them in the ribs once for good measure, took their mother out for a lovely seafood dinner and never called her again.
Tony Parker paced his team with 20 points, but what really made the difference was the Spurs’ diverse collection of role players. From the jump, Matt Bonner, Gary Neal, Danny Green and star-in-the-making Kawhi Leonard were hitting shots at a pace the Grizzlies just couldn’t hang with. The four combined for 57 points on 12-21 three-point shooting.
That pace would be tough for any team to hang with, but Memphis proved especially susceptible to such an up-and-down style of play. Lost in the accolades and attention of their fun playoff journey are two harsh realities.
1. Memphis is a bad three-point team. Not a single starter attempted a three-pointer on Sunday. With only one legitimate three-point threat on their roster (Quincy Pondexter), the Grizzlies are not equipped for shootouts.
2. Memphis has limited depth. If their Conley-Gasol-Randolph troika aren’t all scoring 20 points, it’s hard to envision them coming out ahead.
San Antonio specializes in this kind of game. They executed their gameplan incredibly well, sharing the ball between an incredibly varied group of talent; even a taskmaster like Greg Popovich will find little to complain about. If Memphis wants a shot at their first Finals in franchise history, some major defensive adjustments will need to be made. The Grizzlies will not beat San Antonio in a shootout.