The Spurs took their opponent's best punch in the first half of Game 1, enduring a barrage of three-pointers and off-balance finishes by Marc Gasol and Mike Conley and finding themselves suddenly trailing by double digits just nine minutes in.
With Grizzlies guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol sidelined by injuries, Memphis played with a huge handicap in the postseason series.
The Grizzlies made their first five shots and jumped out to 13 point lead in the first quarter.
San Antonio did not take its first lead until there was 8:53 remaining in the second quarter, but raced to victory once it did.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points for San Antonio as the Spurs reached 100 points for the first time in five games against Memphis this season. He said the Spurs need to approach Monday's game (8:30 p.m. tip) with the right mentality, because he knows the Grizzlies will be playing desperation basketball.
Is Grit & Grind still the mantra of the Memphis Grizzlies? Although (Pau) Gasol has begun to come off the bench, his minutes are still significant and the impact that he makes will still be crucial. When one of these players got exhausted they were rotated.
The Grizzlies and Spurs squared off in Southwest Division games on February 6, March 18 and 23 and April 4 during the regular season, with each team winning twice.
The Spurs are simply deeper and more versatile than Memphis without sacrificing athleticism or youth. The majority will come on ESPN and TNT, but they could also be broadcast on TBS, ABC, ESPN2, ESPNews, or even NBA TV.
In Los Angeles, Joe Johnson hit the clutch victor as time expired, lifting the Utah Jazz to a 97-95 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.
"(San Antonio) just got after us - they upped their pressure", Memphis coach David Fizdale said.
"A lot of people were probably counting us out when (Gobert) went down, but man, we stuck together, fought hard for 48 minutes", said Johnson. "You've just got to deal with that". The 31-year-old only averaged 17.3 points per game during the regular season-his lowest mark since he was a rookie with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2006-07-and hadn't hit the 20-point mark since a March 23 contest against the Grizzlies. Oklahoma City is in the unfamiliar role of underdog after reaching the Western Conference finals last season before also being eliminated by the Warriors.
Both the Spurs and the Grizzlies rank towards the very bottom of the league in pace and in transition as a percentage of offensive possessions. "I thought we got better as the game went on".
"Him being aggressive and knocking down shots and just penetrating, and getting the defense to get an extra guy to go to him is big for us", Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard told reporters.
But the Spurs have a formula that won 61 games for a reason.
Not even a 29-point loss in Game 1, a game played without injured (knee) defensive stopper Tony Allen, has shaken their confidence.style="text-align: center;"