But the best postseason run in franchise history hasn't been built on early success: they lost their first two games of the playoffs -- one a blowout against the Los Angeles Clippers, one a Chris Paul buzzer-beater. They won that series in six games, the most recent team to win four straight after losing the first two matchups of a playoff series. They dropped the first game in their conference semifinals, too, falling on a Kevin Durant transition pullup. It was the last win of the season for the Western Conference's top team this year, as the Grizzlies knocked off the Thunder in five.
Of course, their opponent here is not to be trifled with: 14 seasons after his first NBA Championship, Tim Duncan still has San Antonio operating at a juggernaut-esque level. And in Game 1, it hit Memphis where it hurts. The Spurs took the team with the second-best defensive efficiency in the league and got its staunch, disciplined set out of sorts. As Mike Prada showed, they used misdirection on disguised pick-and-rolls to get Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol -- not the spriest on their feet -- off balance and out of position. And as Grizzly Bear Blues showed, the Grizzlies paid for their decision to cheat off the Spurs' wealth of corner three-point shooters, decisions that led to San Antonio drilling 14-of-29 attempts from beyond the arc.
Memphis will be competitive if it can get a better performance team-wide, but to win, it will probably need a strong performance from Randolph. The team's leading scorer in the playoffs, Randolph has dazzled all postseason long with his ability to barrel through, shoot over, and while his way past superior defenders, to the tune of 18.3 points per game, while averaging a team-high 9.1 rebounds. In Game 1? Two points on 1-for-8 shooting, with four boards. Some of it was nice interior defense, but a lot of it was an off-night from a guy who's had relatively few.
Here's the info on Game 2, the only game Tuesday night in a rapidly slimming NBA Playoffs schedule:
Game 2, Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs
Spurs lead 1-0
Location: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Odds: San Antonio favored by 4.5 points
Upcoming NBA Playoff schedule:
Spurs vs. Grizzlies, Game 3: Saturday, May 25, 9 p.m.