SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs have always prided themselves in their defense. Their defense turned things around and took the bite out of the Grizzlies to take game one of the best of seven first round matchup, 111-82.
The Spurs allowed the Grizzlies to get off to a hot start. Memphis hit their first five shots and before the fans could get to their seats Memphis was on a 10-2 run and got the lead up to 22-9.
The hot start was mostly due in part to Mike Conley hitting his first four shots and Marc Gasol going 5-6 for 11 points.
"They started really hot, they made a lot of tough shots," said Pau Gasol.
The Grizzlies were up 28-15 when the Spurs started to turn it around thanks to that defense.
"Once we settled down we got a few more stops, we were more the aggressor things started going our way," Gasol said.
They got that lead down to five by the end of the first quarter 30-25 and then closed the bear trap in the second and third quarters, only allowing 19 points in the second and 15 in the third.
Tony Parker had eight in the second quarter and finished with 18 points.
"I just had some opportunities, just being aggressive, it was just one of those games, it happens sometimes," Parker said.
LaMarcus Aldridge started to come alive with ten in the quarter and finished with 20 points while Kawhi Leonard finished with 32 on 11-14 shooting.
But it was Danny Green and his defense that stood out. He took over guarding Conley who had three points in the second and that was it for the rest of the night. Conley finished with 13, but Green didn't want to take all the credit.
"I think it was a group effort it wasn't just me, Patty (Mills) did a great job on him, Kawhi (Leonard), Tony (Parker) we had different spurts on him threw different looks on him tried to ware him down a little bit," Green said.
Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale was not surprised at Green's performance.
"You notice he did not hesitate to take that job when they moved him on to Mike so he really took the challenge," Fizdale said.
"I have got to be better, I am going to be much better next game," Conley said, who scored he last points with just over 8 minutes left to play in the second quarter.
Green finished with four blocks and five rebounds along with two points but not everything shows up in the boxscore.
Green did get some help. After scoring 25 in the first half, Marc Gasol was held to just seven in the second half and finished with 32.
"They chip at you, that's what they do. They chip at you and wait for you to break you know in little area's and they take full advantage of it," Fizdale said.
"We went down early but we stayed in it, got physical, got some stops and we got rolling from there," said Kawhi Leonard.
It's the ninth straight playoff win for the Spurs over the Grizzlies. Game Two of the series is Monday night in the AT&T Center.