point night on 5-of-14 shooting. Conley had difficulty getting to his favorite spots on the floor and seeing clean looks at the basket. At times, Conley looked flustered. After Green blocked a Conley shot at rim in the second half, Conley then threw an errant pass intended for Troy Daniels out of bounds. That error came out of a timeout and Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored to put the Grizzlies behind 66-55 midway through the third period.
3. Tony Parker still has game
One question surrounding the Spurs had to do with how much veteran point guard Tony Parker could give them opposite Conley. Memphis witnessed a Parker resurgence, if only for one night. Parker, who had back trouble this season, moved around the court with ease and made open 3-pointers when he was dared to shoot. His longrange dagger put the Spurs ahead 41-38 with 4:36 before halftime. Memphis trailed 52-49 at the intermission. Parker’s play went beyond neutralizing Conley. The Spurs won that matchup, and that must change going forward if the Grizzlies want to be competitive in the series. Consider this: March 6 was the last time Parker erupted offensively against an elite team. He finished with 19 points against the Houston Rockets.
4. It takes a village to replace Tony Allen’s perimeter defense.
Grizzlies coach David Fizdale put rookie Wayne Selden in the starting lineup to replace injured swingman Tony Allen, who likely will miss the series with a right calf strain. The result? Leonard matched a career playoff high with 32 points.
Vince Carter started out defending Leonard, who made his first five shots. Selden and James Ennis also took turns trying to slow him down. An example of Leonard’s prowess happened in the third: Carter went over a screen but chased Leonard into the paint from behind. Leonard scored on a floater and was hacked by Carter. Leonard later dribbled to the free throw line and elevated over Ennis to score a mid-range jump shot that sent the Spurs into the fourth quarter with an 84-64 advantage.
5. The Grizzlies’ defense has work to do, and Brandan Wright is an absentee voter as it relates to how series will be decided.
Memphis’ defensive struggles were twofold: The Grizzlies watched the Spurs make 10 of 19 3-pointers, and they couldn’t keep the Spurs out of the paint. Also, athletic forward/center Brandan Wright couldn’t find his way on the floor. He logged just five minutes, all in the first half.
Reach Tillery at Ronald.Tillery@ commercialappeal.com or on Twitter @CAGrizBeat.
Spurs point guard Tony Parker dribbles the ball as Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, left, defends during Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Saturday in San Antonio.