The San Antonio Spurs led by as many as 20 points in the first half of their Western Conference Finals opener against Memphis, but the Grizzlies made a late second quarter run to bring the score to 51-37 at halftime.
Tony Parker was hot, Zach Randolph was scoreless, and once the two squads settled in, the back-and-forth became more of what was expected prior to tipoff. Now the Grizzlies just need to manage a run of their own to get back into the thick of things.
Here's how the game broke down compared to the three questions heading into the matchup.
Can Tony Allen slow Tony Parker?
Like Lionel Hollins did in Game 1 against the Thunder, he didn't put Tony Allen on the opposition's best scorer off the bat. Mike Conley started the game chasing Parker around screens both on and off the ball, and the results weren't in Memphis' favor.
Allen finally moved onto Parker in the second quarter, but that session began with Parker turning a long rebound into a fastbreak layup due to the crossmatch between Conley and Allen.
All in all, a very strong start for the Spurs point guard, who scored 12 points and had six assists on 5-for-6 shooting in the first half of Sunday's game.
Who dominates pace?
San Antonio shot out of a cannon from the tip, building a 31-14 lead after the opening quarter. The tempo was calculated and dictated to the Spurs' advantage. They pushed when the opportunities were there via turnovers or long rebounds, but otherwise operated just fine in the halfcourt. The ball movement was hectic but organized, and San Antonio was relentless in its attack, which opened up a number of drive-and-kick opportunities. Overzealous help defense sucked the Grizzlies in and San Antonio went 6-for-13 from behind the three-point line.
Who wins on the glass?
The Grizzlies came in as the second-best team in the league in terms of offensive rebounding rate, but they didn't record an offensive rebound until the final five minutes of the half. Reserve forward Ed Davis tipped in a miss on the first second-chance opportunity for Memphis, but prior to that it was San Antonio getting the bigger grabs. The Grizzlies earned three more offensive boards to even the tally with the Spurs at four apiece, but the tone was set early.