Griz­zlies

The Commercial Appeal - - Sports -

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.

SOOBUM IM / USA TO­DAY SPORTS

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.

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