Everything that went wrong for the Memphis Grizzlies in the first half of Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Finals went right early in Game 3, as they used hustle, good outside shooting and a ton of uncharacteristic Spurs turnovers to jump out to an early 19-point lead. The Spurs, however, were able to climb back in to the game and trail just 44-40 at halftime.
The Spurs didn't score until over four minutes in to the game. The Grizzlies meanwhile capitalized off of those early San Antonio turnovers, scoring 11 points off eight San Antonio turnovers, in the first quarter alone. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was so upset with his team's play that he benched all five starters coming out of a timeout as the Spurs trailed 29-13 at the end of the first quarter.
The Spurs opened the second quarter on a 7-0 run to trim the Memphis lead to single digits in just 90 seconds. The Grizzlies responded and were able to score enough to keep the lead between eight and 11 for much of the quarter. San Antonio was able to just keep chipping away, and found themselves down by just four heading in to halftime. Before the game, Tom Lewis looked at three keys to Game 3. Here's where they stand so far.
1. Can Zach Randolph bring out Z-Bo?
Not really. Of all the things that went right for the Grizzlies in the first half, Randolph's play wasn't one of them. He didn't do anything especially wrong, he just still hasn't been able to get going on offense and at times was getting out-hustled by Matt Bonner. He ended the half with just five points, but he did grab eight rebounds.
2. Can the Spurs maintain their edge on the road?
Looked pretty bad early for them. There were a ton of lazy passes early that resulted in a lot of layups for Memphis. The second quarter went better, as the Spurs cut down their turnovers and were able to pick up the pace of the game. Tim Duncan responded well to his first-quarter benching, as he scored all seven of his points in the second quarter.
3. Can the Grizzlies' bench keep pace with the Spurs reserves?
In a word, yes. In two words, Quincy Pondexter. The Grizzlies' backup small forward scored eight first-half points on 3-of-6 shooting, including two three-pointers. The Spurs bench still has a 16-13 advantage for the game, but the goal for Memphis is to keep the scoring close and more importantly, keep the Spurs' bench scoring low.