Well, I definitely didn't see that blowout coming. Bring on the Heat! OK, way too soon. I picked the Spurs to out-grizzle the Grizzlies in a rough and tumble seven game series, but wow, the Spurs handled Memphis with ease Sunday. Here are a few takeaways from the Spurs surprisingly dominant win over Memphis in Game 1.
Parker nearly perfect.
TP-9 shredded Memphis' vaunted defense for 20 points and nine assists. But it was more than that. Parker ran the offense to near perfection. He got into the lane with ease and his decision making off pick-and-rolls led to crisp ball movement, easy baskets and open looks. Memphis threw everything they could at Parker defensively and not even Tony Allen "accidentally" (yeah right) tripping up TP could stop him.
Green, Leonard and Bonner go bombs away.
These three combined for an insane 11 for 17 3-point shooting performance. You rarely see that during All-Star weekend. Danny Green has developed more confidence along with a nice outside, inside game.
Kawhi Leonard continues to expand his game and just be an overall stud. And Bonner's 12 points Sunday equaled his total output for the entire Golden State series! That's probably the first sign it's your day.
Manu comes thru at right time...again.
The days of Ginobili zig zagging and Euro stepping defenses for 40 minutes may be over, but Manu continues to pick his spots and have a major impact.
A stat line of 8 points, 5 boards and 3 assists won't wow anybody, but six points and an key assist to Bonner came during that 11-1 run to close the third quarter right after Memphis cut the lead to six.
Z-Bo no show and who the heck is this Pondexter guy?
The Spurs used an interesting strategy against Z-Bo in Game 1. Let Gasol take as many shots as he wants and double Randolph even before he gets the touch by fronting the post and getting weak side help on the catch. It worked brilliantly.
Gasol finished with 15 points on 16 shots while Randolph had a measly two points on 1 for 8 shooting. It was his worst playoff performance since he played for the Blazers...in 2002! Oh yeah, and this Pondexter guy. There's nothing good that can be said about Quincy Pondexter leading your team in scoring. Never. Ever.
Hey Memphis, welcome to conference finals.
Not sure what happened here. Maybe they were reading their own hype, maybe it was stage fright, but that was rather pathetic. The Spurs punched the Grizz in the mouth and Memphis never recovered. Yes, it's one game and we saw last year that even a 2-0 lead can be misleading. But Memphis doesn't have a Durant, Harden and Westbrook trio.
Lionel Hollins is a good coach and will make adjustments. Randolph can't possibly be any worse and even the most optimistic Spurs fan has to think their shooting will drop. Yet, the Spurs showed what makes them tough to beat.
They can win several ways with multiple contributors while Memphis usually wins the "grind it out way" with Z-Bo and Gasol controlling the pace. I love the way the Spurs came out. They didn't mess around like they did against the Warriors and made a statement. Your move Grizz.
Finally, can Bill "not too thrilled about being in San Antonio" Simmons please keep picking against the Spurs?
It's been working so far. Thanks Billy Boy!