The San Antonio Spurs made eight consecutive shots near the end of the second quarter en route to a 46-31 halftime lead over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday.
The Spurs broke open a hotly-contested game when they found their form on offense after a slow start while continuing to shutdown the Grizzlies on defense. San Antonio held Memphis to a 25 percent clip from the floor and forced 14 straight misses to close out the half. The Grizzlies scored one point -- on Jerryd Bayless' free throw with a half-second left -- in the final five minutes.
Here's how the three keys to the game have played out thus far:
What's up with Zach Randolph?
The Spurs' defense. Tiago Splitter made life difficult for Randolph once again in the early part of Game 2, holding the Memphis big man to a 1-of-10 shooting performance. Randolph went to the bench after picking up his second foul at the 5:41 mark in the second quarter, at which point the Spurs began to capture momentum. Randolph returned to the floor but was kept off the scoreboard for the rest of the half, though he did pick up eight rebounds.
Can the Spurs keep shooting like this?
It didn't look like it in the first quarter, when San Antonio went 7-of-22 from the floor, including 0-for-8 to end the quarter. However, the Spurs recovered to make 11-of-18 shots in the second quarter, including back-to-back threes by Danny Green to cap off an 8-0 run which gave San Antonio an 11-point lead with three minutes left in the half. The Spurs made 45 percent of their shot attempts overall in the first half.
Will Memphis capitalize in the paint?
All five of the Grizzlies' first-quarter buckets came in the paint, but they weren't able to continue the trend in the second quarter, finishing the half with just 12 while allowing the Spurs to score 20 points in the paint. San Antonio blocked nine shots, including two in a sequence with less than 30 seconds left in the half in which Memphis missed seven layup attempts.