The Memphis Grizzlies are poised to shoot themselves right out of the postseason as they trail the San Antonio Spurs, 44-38 in an elimination game in front of their home fans at FedExForum on Monday night.
The story of the game thus far is the dismal shooting by the Grizzlies. Memphis is just 33 percent from the field and 2-for-6 from the three-point line.
Tony Parker leads all scorers with 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting while adding three assists.
The Grizzlies shot a dismal 29 percent in the first quarter and went 0-of-3 from the three-point line. Parker got off to a fast start to lead the Spurs to a 52 percent mark from the field and went 4-of-5 on his own to finish the first frame with eight points and two assists.
SB Nation's own Jason Patt asked three important questions in a preview of Game 4. Through 24 minutes, it's worth taking a look at them once again:
Can the Grizzlies' defense return to form?
Memphis had little issue with stopping opponents during the regular season, leading the league in that regard with an opponent scoring average of 89.3 points per game. The Spurs execute so well, that they've exposed the Grizzlies' weaknesses in defending the paint, moving the ball with effortless fluidity in this game.
After scoring 24 points in the first quarter Memphis tightened up in the second, allowing just 20 points. Though they only forced six total turnovers, they are rebounding and challenging shots at a better rate.
They're doing something right on defense, and proof of that is in the fact that they're only down six points while their big three have a combined 16 points. A defensive battle favors Memphis.
Who wins the battle down low?
So far, it's all San Antonio as the Grizzlies have struggled to control the paint. Whether it's been Parker penetrating to create for himself or others, or the Spurs' frontcourt getting its share of high-percentage looks, Memphis will seek a big turnaround by mitigating their opponents' effectiveness inside.
Does good Manu Ginobili show up again?
The beauty of the Spurs is that good Manu hasn't had to show up for the Spurs to succeed in Game 4. Cory Joseph, Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner have taken on the scoring roles off the bench and have 10 combined points.
Still, Ginobili is finding other ways to contribute and has three assists and three rebounds.