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Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

In 2011, the number one-seeded San Antonio Spurs lost Game 1 in the opening round of the NBA playoffs to a then eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzles. Two seasons later in 2013, the Spurs began the Western Conference Finals with a victory over the Grizzlies in convincing fashion, 105-83.

Tony Parker lead the team with 20 points and nine assists but is not resting on Game one’s performance. “I can promise you this: Nobody’s happy in our locker room, because we were up 2-0 (in the West finals) last year and we lost,” Parker said. “It’s just one game. It means nothing. We still have a long way to go.”

The Spurs exploded to an early 17-point lead in the first quarter led by Parker and Danny Green who each scored eight points in the quarter. The Grizzlies’ offensive attack finally cut the Spurs lead to within six points with 3:43 left in the third quarter. The Spurs answered with a 13-1 run to end the quarter and never looked back.

As a team, the Spurs out rebounded the Grizzlies 17-14 in the first half and held Memphis to 48.6 percent shooting from the field and 33.3 percent from behind the 3-point arch. Additionally, the Spurs forced the Grizzlies to turn the ball over seven times, which lead to seven points for the Spurs.

“We just didn’t play well. It’s not anything specific,” Head Coach of the Memphis Grizzlies Lionel Hollins said. “It’s just that we were running too fast, we missed some layups, we were taking bad shots and our defense was really awful. And the Spurs played well.”

Zach Randolph shot a career low 1-for-8 from the field and finished the game with only seven rebounds. A bright spot for the Grizzlies, however, was Quincy Pondexter’s performance. Pondexter was 6-for-11 from the field, five of which were 3-pointers. He finished the game as Memphis’ leading scorer with 17 points.

The key to the Spurs Game 1 victory and possibly for the entire series, for either team, will be how well the role players perform. The Spurs got timely shooting from forward Matt Bonner who shot 3-for-5 from 3-point range to lead the Spurs bench in scoring with 12 points. Gary Neal chipped in with 11 points off the bench while Manu Ginobili contributed 8 points of his own.

The Western Conference Finals is far from being over as Game 2 tips-off from the AT&T Center on Tuesday, May 21 at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

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