SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Whatever happened during the regular season
means nothing at playoff time. The San Antonio Spurs had been
saying that for two days, and they went out and proved it Saturday
The defending NBA champions gave the Grizzlies a harsh
initiation to postseason play, getting 26 points from Tim Duncan
and taking control early in a 98-74 victory.
The Spurs used their size advantage to produce easy inside
baskets from Duncan and Robert Horry, while their relentless
defense made Pau Gasol a non-factor while holding Memphis to its
worst shooting percentage of the season.
Eighteen of San Antonio's first 25 points came in the paint, and
the Spurs ended up with 50 points inside.
"Even when they pressured, we were able to push it up and get
inside this defense," Duncan said. "If we move the ball and
attack like that, we should do great."
Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Monday night in San
The win was the 12th straight for the Spurs and their 14th
straight at home, coming against a team that beat them three times
during the regular season. Duncan got hurt early in the first of
those losses back in November and was on the injured list for the
other two last month.
Memphis, which entered the league in 1995 as the Vancouver
Grizzlies, never made the postseason or won more than 28 games in
its first eight seasons.
"The playoffs are like a whole different season, and this is
just the start of it," Duncan said.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he protected Duncan for the
postseason after the All-Star forward returned to action in
"I held him back and made sure we didn't put him in a position
where he was tired and got injured because of it," he said. "Now
that it's playoff time, he will play as necessary."
San Antonio led 49-34 at the break, and the lead grew as large
as 28 before the Spurs' regulars sat down for the night.
Gasol, the Grizzlies' leading scorer, went 3-for-11 from the
floor and finished with 14 points.
As a team, Memphis shot 34.8 percent, the Spurs 53.4 percent.
"I wasn't smart enough to attack them," said Gasol. "They
tried to take me baseline, they locked me down under the glass and
I just took too much time to make the plays."
A pair of free throws by Gasol midway through the first quarter
gave the Grizzlies their only lead, 8-6. Duncan then went over Mike
Miller for a layup to tie the score and start an 11-0 run.
The Spurs limited the Grizzlies' starting lineup to only 16
points in the first half on 6-for-17 shooting. Their only bright
spot on offense was Wells, who came off the bench to score 12
points in 12 minutes before the break.
"You cannot shoot 32 percent at the half on the road unless
you're going to force them into that (kind of) shooting," Memphis
coach Hubie Brown said. "In that first half they were quicker than
us and did an excellent job in the transition game."
Gasol, guarded mostly by Duncan and Rasho Nesterovic, was held
without a field goal until he made a driving layup with 19.2
seconds remaining in the half.
The Grizzlies' lowest shooting percentage during the
regular season was 35.2 percent against Toronto on March 23. ...
San Antonio's bench outscored the Memphis reserves, 37-28. ...
Robert Horry's 166 playoff games is second only to Karl Malone's
173 among players in this postseason. ... Wells is the most
seasoned of the Grizzlies with 25 games of playoff experience. ...
San Antonio's Devin Brown did not play because of a rib injury. He
is expected to miss most or all of the series.