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Sunday, April 24, 2011
Grizzlies halfway towards upset

By ESPN Stats & Info

First ever playoff victory (check). First ever home playoff win (check). First ever playoff series victory…not quite yet. However after the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the San Antonio Spurs they moved one step closer to accomplishing that goal as they took a 2-1 series lead.

The Grizzlies are just the seventh No. 8 seed to be up 2-1 in a series since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams during the 1983-84 campaign. This is only the third time its happened since the first round expanded to a seven-game series in the 2003 playoffs.

Memphis still has some work to do though as of the six different No. 8 seeds to lead a series 2-1, only two of them went on to win the series.

Still the Grizzlies now have proven they can beat the Spurs in the playoffs with Manu Ginobili in the lineup. In fact it was Ginobili who had the ball in his hands at the end of the game with a chance to tie, but was unable to even get a shot off.

Much like its Game 1 victory, Memphis was led by their frontcourt tandem of Zach Randolph (25 points) and Marc Gasol (17). The duo combined for 42 of the teams' 91 points, and outscored their counterparts Tim Duncan (13) and Antonio McDyess (8) by 21 points.

In the two wins for the Grizzlies this series, Randolph and Gasol have outscored Duncan and McDyess 91-to-40. However in the Grizzlies Game 2 loss the duo combined for just 23 points, only outscoring Duncan and McDyess by two.

Looking ahead to Game 4, the Spurs may have found a better way to match up with the Grizzlies front court, particularly Randolph.

After Randolph scored 14 points (6-11 FG) against McDyess and DeJuan Blair in the first half, Duncan shifted over to guard the Memphis forward for much of the final two quarters.

He held Randolph to seven points in the second half, helping the Spurs make up a nine-point halftime deficit before falling by three.

Like they did in Game 1, the Spurs struggled to make jump-shots in Game 3. San Antonio was tied for fourth in the NBA during the regular season, making 40.2 percent of its jump shots. In its two losses this series, the Spurs were held to just 30.8 percent.

Credit Memphis for closing out on shooters in the series as the Grizzlies allowed opponents to make 38.8 percent of jump-shots in the regular season, tied for 16th in the NBA.

The Grizzlies defenders really bothered the Spurs on three-point field goals as they went just 2-for-15 from beyond the arc in Game 3. During the regular season the Spurs were the NBA's best three-point shooting team making 39.7 percent of their attempts.