Memphis wins series 4-2 (Game 1 of 6)

Memphis wins series 4-2

Game 1: Sunday, April 17th
Game 2: Wednesday, April 20th
Game 3: Saturday, April 23rd
Game 4: Monday, April 25th
Game 5: Wednesday, April 27th
Game 6: Friday, April 29th

Grizzlies 101

(46-36, 16-25 away)

Spurs 98

(61-21, 36-5 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    1:00 PM ET, April 17, 2011

    AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 27 18 25 31101
    SA 22 21 31 2498

    Top Performers

    Mem: Z. Randolph 25 Pts, 14 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Blk

    SA: T. Duncan 16 Pts, 13 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk

    Zach Randolph scores 25 as Grizzlies take opener from Spurs

    Associated Press

    SAN ANTONIO -- Zach Randolph raised his fists above his head. The Memphis Grizzlies carried the motto "Let's Make History" into the playoffs, and in a stunning Game 1 upset, they had already done it.

    Sixteen years after entering the NBA, the Grizzlies finally have a postseason win.

    Randolph had 25 points and 14 rebounds, and Shane Battier hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 23.9 seconds left Sunday to give Memphis a 101-98 victory over the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs.

    It's the first playoff win ever for Memphis, which had been 0-12 in four previous trips.

    "It's nice from an annoyance perspective to have it out of the way, because I don't have to answer questions about being 0 and 13," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said.

    Instead, all the questions are about the 61-win Spurs being down 0-1.

    Playing without All-Star guard Manu Ginobili, who continued to rest his sprained right elbow, San Antonio still had a chance to send the game to overtime. Richard Jefferson missed an open, straight-ahead 3-point look as time expired, then bit down on his jersey collar.

    "I was wide open," Jefferson said.

    Randolph, who scored nine in the fourth and bullied San Antonio's aging frontcourt with all of his 255 pounds, walked past Jefferson with his fists raised in triumph. The rest of the Grizzlies bench spilled onto the court, waving towels and leaping back into the locker room.

    The Grizzlies entered the NBA in 1995 as an expansion franchise in Vancouver. Six seasons there never ended in the postseason, and after moving to Memphis in 2001, the Grizzlies waited two seasons before the first of three consecutive first-round sweeps. The last was in 2006.

    So playoff inexperienced are the Grizzlies that Hollins had never coached in the postseason before Sunday, and eight of his players lacked any playoff experience.

    Not Battier. He was with the Grizzlies for all three of those playoff sweeps, making it somewhat fitting that it was his 3-pointer to seal the franchise's first win.

    "It was awesome. I'm really happy for the city," Battier said. "Beale Street will be a fun place tonight. Most of these guys don't know the history or the heartache that the city has gone through. I'm happy for the city."

    And his big shot?

    "When you're on the road, down two, may as well go for the 3," he said.

    Spurs coach Gregg Popovich wasn't in the mood to dissect it much, either.

    "What do you want to know about it?" Popovich said. "It counted for three. He caught it. He shot it. And he made it."

    Tony Parker led the Spurs with 20 points. But San Antonio sorely missed his backcourt partner, Ginobili, who had been listed as doubtful entering Sunday. Yet between the 33-year-old practicing a day earlier and his teammates convinced he would play, seeing Ginobili in lineup wouldn't have been much of a stretch.

    Popovich played it safe.

    "You know [darn] well he's not happy with me. And you know [darn] well he wants to be on that court," Popovich said. "But I made my decision."

    Popovich wouldn't speculate whether Ginobili might play in Game 2 on Wednesday. But after the Spurs lost their sixth consecutive playoff opener, Ginobili may no longer have such hard time convincing Popovich he's ready.

    The Spurs badly missed their second-leading scorer. George Hill started in Ginobili's place but went just 2 of 7 from the floor and finished with 15 points. The NBA's top 3-point shooting team also suffered without Ginobili's range and penetration to draw in perimeter defenders.

    San Antonio went 6 of 15 from behind the 3-point line. Matt Bonner hit two of those in the final 2:09, his second one putting San Antonio ahead 96-94 with 1:28 remaining.

    The Grizzlies spent the week insisting they didn't tank their final two games to assure they'd get the Spurs. But the way Randolph and Marc Gasol, who had 24 points and nine rebounds, punished San Antonio in the frontcourt, San Antonio certainly doesn't look like a bad matchup for Memphis.

    "Zach played great. He made some great shots with Marc," said Spurs forward Tim Duncan, who had 16 points and 13 rebounds. "They're both big bodies and that's what they're game is based on, having those bigs inside. And them making shots, we have to pay attention to them more, obviously."

    Eighth seeds have eliminated No. 1s just three times in NBA history.

    For now, the Grizzlies are just happy with a start.

    "We're in the playoffs," Hollins said. "It's not important to me that it's our first playoff win ever."

    Game notes

    The Spurs shot a season- and playoff-high 47 free throw attempts. They made 36 of them. ...The Grizzlies are now 3-2 against the Spurs this season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 101 98
    FGM-FGA 37-67 (.552) 28-70 (.400)
    3PM-3PA 6-10 (.600) 6-15 (.400)
    FTM-FTA 21-33 (.636) 36-47 (.766)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 5-38 11-40
    Assists 22 13
    Turnovers 16 10
    Steals 2 7
    Blocks 5 3
    Fast Break Points 5 15
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 33 (1/0) 27 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 7 10

    Top Performers

    San Antonio
    Zach Randolph Randolph
    Points: 25
    Reb: 14
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2
    Tim Duncan Duncan
    Points: 16
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2

    Research Notes

    The Grizzlies have come full circle. The 1st playoff game in franchise history came this exact day to the San Antonio Spurs... today's opponent. Just like that 1st ever playoff game, Shane Battier and the Grizzlies held the Spurs to 98 points, except today's outcome gave the franchise its 1st postseason win.
    So how did the Grizzlies do it? They dominated the bookends, thoroughly controlling the 1st and 4th quarters. The Grizzlies were +12 in the opening and closing periods, scoring 58 points on nearly 64 pct shooting from the field. In the two middle quarters Memphis lost the battle on the boards, was less efficient from the field and as a result, was outscored by 9.
    The Spurs were heavily reliant upon their starting backcourt this season for scoring, ranking third in the NBA in most starting backcourt points per game and first among all playoff teams. And while Tony Parker and George Hill combined to score 35 points, the absence of Manu Ginobili placed Hill into the starting backcourt and as a result, the Spurs bench lost its most potent scoring threat.
    Spurs entered the final quarter with the lead, but have struggled in the 4th... Maybe because they are without their closer, Ginobili..
    Down late in the 4th quarter, the Spurs had missed 3's from both George Hill and Richard Jefferson... Again hurt by the absence of Manu Ginobili... This season Ginobili made 3 of the Spurs 5 FG in the final 24 seconds of a game they were trailing by 3 or fewer...
    Randolph Zach Randolph (right) and Marc Gasol dominated the Spurs in Game 1, combining for 49 points and 23 boards.
    Many would consider the Grizzlies win over the Spurs to be a major upset. And while its true an 8 seed isn't expected to beat a 1 seed, one could make the argument that Memphis was a better team down the final stretch of the regular season. The teams posted nearly identical records after the break, but the Grizzlies posted a better scoring margin and better pace-adjusted scoring margin. And while some may point to the Grizzlies' 40 points in the paint in today's win as a crucial factor, that is actually 15 points FEWER than they had been averaging.
    Zach Randolph scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the Grizzlies win over the Spurs on Sunday. It was just the 2nd time in the Grizzlies brief playoff history that a player scored at least 25 points with 10+ rebounds. The only other time was Pau Gasol 28 and 16 on April 27, 2005 (1st round, Game 2) in a loss to the Suns.
    Since the NBA went to 7 games in the first round in 2002-03, this marks only the 4th No. 1 seed lost their first postseason game. Two of the previous three rallied to win the series, while the 2006-07 Mavs lost in 6 games to the 8th-seeded Warriors. This is the 2nd time this happened to the Spurs, who went on to win the NBA title after losing their first game in 2003.

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