Sunday's Game 1 of the Western Conference finals was decided by precision and effort — the San Antonio Spurs had great, heaping helpings of both, while the Memphis Grizzlies came up lacking. The former was most evident in San Antonio's half-court execution leading to wide-open looks and knockdown shooting, with the Spurs shooting 52.6 percent from the floor and a scorching 48.3 percent from 3-point range, setting a franchise postseason record with 14 long balls in a 105-83 Game 1 beatdown.
The latter, though, manifested itself most in the Spurs' ability to stymy big man Zach Randolph. The 31-year-old power forward led the Grizzlies in scoring during the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs, but was largely locked up in Game 1, missing his first seven shots, not getting on the scoreboard until 2 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter and finishing with a whisper-quiet two points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes.
After the game, Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley — whose 14-point, eight-assist outing was overshadowed by a brilliant game from counterpart Tony Parker (20 points on 9 for 14 shooting and nine dimes) — said Randolph came to his teammates contrite following the final buzzer, Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports:
Read More »from Zach Randolph tried to apologize to Grizzlies teammates for being taken out of Game 1
"He tried to apologize [in the locker room], and we wouldn't accept that. We said, 'It's not you; it's all of us.' He's just saying that he's going to do better, but we've all got to do better defensively, and offensively we've got to move the ball in order to get other guys open like Zach and play our game." [...]
Randolph, who entered having averaged 19.7 points and 9.3 rebounds in the playoffs, was quick to take blame afterward.
"It's just one of them nights, first game of the series for me," he said. "It was just the rhythm of the game. ... But I've got to be better. Like I told my teammates, I've got to be better for them and we've got to be better as a group."