(AP) Randolph struggles, Grizzlies routed in Game 1
By RAUL DOMINGUEZ
The Memphis Grizzlies have lost the opener in each round of this year’s playoffs, but not like this.
Tony Parker had 20 points and nine assists, and the San Antonio Spurs made a franchise postseason-record 14 3-pointers in routing Memphis 105-83 on Sunday in the Western Conference finals.
As disconcerting as the blowout loss was, Zach Randolph’s performance was just as troubling. Randolph was held to two points, going 1 for 8 from the field in 28 minutes.
He had a playoff-best 28 points and 14 rebounds in his last game, as Memphis eliminated defending West champ Oklahoma City in Game 5 on Wednesday night.
Randolph missed his first seven shots Sunday, including an open 2-foot jumper midway through the third quarter after he created space by pushing Tim Duncan under the rim. Randolph shook his head after the missed attempt.
Duncan primarily defended Randolph, matching the burly forward’s physicality, push for push and elbow for elbow.
Randolph’s first basket did not come until there was 9:26 left in the game on a tip-in of Mike Conley’s missed layup.
He was so shaken by his season-low in points that he apologized after the game.
The NBA’s stingiest defense wasn’t up to its usual standards, allowing the Spurs to hit 53 percent of their shots and go 14 for 29 on 3-pointers.
Memphis got back into the game with Randolph watching from the bench.
Quincy Pondexter made a baseline cut for a layup off Darrell Arthur’s pass, then hit back-to-back 3-pointers during a 10-0 burst. Jerryd Bayless’ two-handed, fast-break dunk off a steal got the Grizzlies within 62-56 with 3:43 left in the third quarter.
The comeback was short-lived, though.
Bayless missed a 3-pointer on the next trip, and Ginobili was able to make one at the opposite end to spark an 11-1 response that immediately restored the Spurs’ lead to 16 by end of the quarter. Leonard hit a pair of 3-pointers and Gary Neal had one as San Antonio kept pouring it on in the fourth.
Both teams pulled their starters with over 5 minutes left and the Spurs leading by 21.
Green made three 3-pointers and scored 16, and Matt Bonner hit four of his five attempts for 12 points.
Pondexter led Memphis with 17 points, Marc Gasol scored 15 and Conley had 14 points and eight assists.
The Spurs asserted themselves early, scoring on their first seven possessions and also getting a couple head-to-head defensive stops from their veterans while claiming a quick 23-8 lead. Parker swiped the ball from Conley on Memphis’ second possession, running out for a layup, and Hollins burned a timeout in the first 2 minutes.
Duncan snuffed out the ensuing play by blocking Randolph’s shot, and the Spurs’ strong start continued. Bonner hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a 17-point edge late in the first quarter, and San Antonio pushed out to a 43-23 advantage following consecutive baskets by Parker with 6:06 left before halftime.
It was the largest first-half deficit for the Grizzlies during the playoffs.
The Spurs avoided a repeat of their Game 1 loss when the teams met two years ago in the first round. The Grizzlies went on to knock San Antonio out of the playoffs as the top seed that time.
But Memphis has its own history to fall back on. The Grizzlies recovered from an 0-2 hole in the first round against the Los Angeles Clippers and an 0-1 deficit against Oklahoma City in the West semifinals.
Game 2 is Tuesday night in San Antonio.