After defeating Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games, the Memphis Grizzlies became many experts’ choice to win the NBA Finals. It was just one contest, but the Game One matchup between Memphis and the San Antonio Spurs might have left some questioning their pick.
In Sunday’s Western Conference Finals opener, the Spurs were dominant from start to finish. They outscored the Grizzlies by 17 points in the first quarter and never looked back, winning by 22.
On Tuesday, Memphis will look to steal home-court advantage and even up the series in Game Two. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. ET on ESPN, right after the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery. Viewers can watch a free live stream online at watchespn.com.
If the Grizzlies want to pull off the upset on Tuesday, they’ll have to get better performances from their top players. Marc Gasol needed 16 shots to score 15 points, and Zach Randolph may have had his worst game of the 2012-2013 season. “Z-Bo” scored just two points and grabbed seven rebounds, while compiling a -28 plus/minus rating. He was outplayed by Tim Duncan, who was held to six points on three of nine shooting.
"It's more frustrating than embarrassing," said Randolph after the game. "It's basketball. It happens to the best of them. Muhammad Ali, he got knocked down before. What made him the greatest fighter in the world is he always bounced back."
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For Memphis to have any chance, they will have to get Randolph back on track, especially if they continue to be overmatched in the backcourt. Mike Conley seemed to emerge as one of the better NBA point guards in the playoffs, but he could come close to matching Tony Parker on Sunday. The three-time champion led all players with 20 points and nine assists.
The Grizzlies are far from an offensive juggernaut, so they won’t win when they allow the Spurs to hit 14 of their 29 three-point attempts. Parker got several of his teammates involved from beyond the arc, as Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Matt Bonner combined to make 11 shots from three-point range.
The betting odds at most Las Vegas casinos have the Spurs favored in Game Two. They are giving the Grizzlies five points.
Prediction: San Antonio 94, Memphis 90