The Spurs aren’t foolish enough to get too high off one win, even of the blowout variety. Sure, many Silver and Black faithful fans may be looking ahead to LeBron and the Heat after Sunday’s 22-point pounding of the Grizzlies in Game 1, but recent history on several fronts is more than enough reason to remain grounded.
The Spurs, after all, had a 2-0 series lead (and a 10-game playoff winning streak) against the Oklahoma City Thunder last year only to lose four straight in the Western Conference finals. And that other team in the West finals this year just happened to drop the first game of its first two series during this playoff run.
The Grizzlies were humbled, but that 105-83 setback in the series opener wasn’t a knockout punch.
“We still have one more game to try and win here,” said Zach Randolph, the Grizzlies’ leading scorer who tallied just two points in Game 1. “We have to put this one behind us and be ready for Game 2.”
It’s unlikely the Spurs operate any better on the offensive end Tuesday night at the AT&T Center. San Antonio raced out to a 31-14 lead after one quarter Sunday and never trailed from there.
A playoff franchise-record 14 3-pointers dropped through the nets. Matt Bonner, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green each nailed at least three from downtown. The team shot 48.3 percent (14 of 29) from beyond the arc; Memphis had not given up that many 3-pointers in a game in two years.
“We shot incredible,” Manu Ginobili said. “Making 14 3s against one of the best defensive teams in the league is not easy to do. It shows that we moved the ball very well. We attacked. We made the big ones.”
As one might imagine, the ball was moving crisply and accurately against Memphis’ aggressive and gambling defenders. The Spurs dished out 28 assists on 40 made baskets, marking the fifth time in 11 playoff games they dished out at least 25 dimes. San Antonio led the NBA is assists during the regular season and is doing so again in the postseason.
“When we shoot the ball like that, we’re pretty hard to stop,” Tony Parker said. “But we know that it’s not going to happen every game. I’m not even sure we’re going to shoot like that for the rest of the series. Against Golden State we couldn’t hit a shot.”
Remember, the Spurs did this against one of the league’s defensive giants.
“It’s just one game,” Parker reminded. “And we’ll try to do the same thing in Game 2, but I’m sure they’re going to make some adjustments and they’re going to try to do different stuff. So we’ll see what happens.”
Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins has seen his team rebound after dropping the opener against both the Los Angeles Clippers and Thunder. Memphis lost Game 1 to the Clippers by 21 points and also fell in Game 2 before running off four consecutive Ws.
While it might be natural to expect a bounce-back Tuesday, Hollins knows the Grizzlies have to earn it.
“San Antonio played extremely well and we did not,” he said. “That included making shots, that included second and third effort, diving on the floor, getting loose balls, rebounding, every area we didn’t play as well.
“And we have to play better if we expect to be in this series. If we don’t, we won’t be.”
These Spurs aren’t the unproven Clippers or the injury-ravaged Thunder.
“It is a huge adjustment,” Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley said of playing San Antonio. “We are not going to play too many teams like the Spurs who don’t just have one guy, but more like 12 guys that can hurt you. They all have high basketball IQs. They all make plays.”
They sure made a lot more plays than the Grizzlies in Game 1.
“They just play hard and play together,” Memhis guad Tony Allen said. “They threw the first punch early.”
The knockout will have to wait. Follow Art Garcia on Twitter: @ArtGarcia92