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Spurs come out hot, Randolph cold in West finals

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 20, 2013 at 2:11 am •  Published: May 20, 2013
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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Mike Conley wouldn't let Zach Randolph take the blame for the Memphis Grizzlies' blowout loss in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

No one on either team expects him to play so poorly the rest of the series.

Tony Parker had 20 points and nine assists, Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points and the Spurs neutralized Randolph in beating the Grizzlies 105-83 on Sunday. Randolph had just two points — less than in any game this season, regular season or playoffs — after playing brilliantly to lead Memphis past defending West champion Oklahoma City in the last round.

"It's not just him. It is all of us," Conley said. "He was telling us that he is going to do better, but we all have to do better defensively. Offensively, we have to move the ball and get guys open."

The NBA's stingiest defense wasn't up to its usual standards, allowing the Spurs to hit 53 percent of their shots and a franchise postseason-record 14 3-pointers.

San Antonio raced out to a 17-point lead in the first quarter, then came up with a response when Memphis rallied to get within six in the second half. Both teams pulled their starters with over 5 minutes left and the Spurs leading by 21.

"It's as good as we could ever expect," said Spurs cornerstone Tim Duncan, who didn't need a big game with so many outside shots falling. "We shot the ball incredibly well from the 3. Tony controlled the game all around: scoring, passing the ball, on defense.

"We know they're going to play better. They're going to change some things. We know we're not going to shoot the ball as well as we did. We have to be prepared for that. For tonight, right now, that's as well as it could have gone."

Game 2 is Tuesday night in San Antonio.

The Grizzlies will surely be trying to tinker and get back to the formula that got them to the conference finals for the first time: a combination of a suffocating defense and Randolph rumbling for points and rebounds inside.

He had a playoff-best 28 points and 14 rebounds in his last game, when Memphis eliminated the Thunder in Game 5 on Wednesday night.

"Obviously, he's their best scorer. He's a beast inside," Parker said. "We know he's not going to play like that every game. It's just sometimes it happens."

Randolph, who missed his first seven shots before a tip-in for his only bucket, said he told his teammates he has "to do better for them."

"A lot of my shots were just off," he said. "I didn't get the good looks I wanted to."

The Grizzlies started to rally as soon as Randolph came out of the game for the first time in the second half.

Quincy Pondexter made a baseline cut for a layup off Darrell Arthur's pass, then hit back-to-back 3-pointers during a 10-0 burst. Jerryd Bayless' two-handed, fast-break dunk off a steal got the Grizzlies within 62-56 with 3:43 left in the third quarter.

The comeback was short-lived.

Bayless missed a 3-pointer on the next trip, and Manu Ginobili was able to make one at the opposite end to spark an 11-1 response that restored the Spurs' lead to 16 by end of the quarter. Leonard hit a pair of 3-pointers and Gary Neal had one as San Antonio kept pouring it on in the fourth.

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