The Memphis Grizzlies earned a huge upset win over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of their first-round 2011 NBA Playoffs series. While Tony Allen and Shane Battier were heroes at the end of the game, hitting key free throws and one magnificent three-pointer, the heavy lifting all game long was done by Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
Gasol missed just one shot all game in hitting 9-of-10 for 24 points to go with nine rebounds and, in the second half at least, solid defense on living legend Tim Duncan. Randolph, a one-time All-Star and a popular pick for the All NBA team, totaled 25 points and 14 rebounds. Randolph got his points on a menu of mid-range jumpers and unnervingly crafty interior flips. Gasol made himself open for his guards and worked on the offensive glass, grabbing three of Memphis' five offensive rebounds.
San Antonio isn't used to giving up production on the frontline, especially not with Duncan healthy. But Duncan struggled in guarding either -- he spent big second-half minutes on Z-Bo -- and the Spurs' other bigs, Antonio McDyess, DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner, were shredded. Tiago Splitter, the Spurs' touted rookie from Brazil and the Spanish league MVP last year, didn't earn a second of play. You have to wonder if that will change for Game 2 on Wednesday.
That Memphis won despite grabbing only five offensive boards in 34 opportunities speaks to the potential for a great series. The Grizzlies were No. 6 in the league in offensive rebounding this season, and Z-Bo rarely has back-to-back games without putbacks.