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Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs, final score 95-87: Grizzlies prod off Spurs in controlled fashion

Memphis closes the year with a second consecutive victory against the rival San Antonio Spurs

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies rode a monster first quarter from Mike Conley to a double-digit lead, and held on for a 95-87 victory over the San Antonio Spurs to close out 2014. Here are my three takeaways from the win:

1) Mike Conley HAVE IT ALL

Mike Conley's first quarter: 16 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists on 7-8 shooting from the field with the lone miss being a contested heave at the buzzer. There was actually one point near the end of the quarter where I had to rub my eyes to make sure the net hadn't burst into flames NBA Jam-style.

Here's every field goal Conley made in the opening quarter. I tried to fit them all into one Vine, but he made so many shots that this was not possible.

Conley finished with 30 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists, and was absurdly efficient, banging in 10-13 field goal attempts and 4-5 shots from downtown. This was the fifth time Conley has scored 30+ points in a game, and the fourth such occasion in the calendar year of 2014.

2) Jarnell Stokes, the Tiago Splitter Killer

Three minutes into the first quarter, Jon Leuer picked up his second foul while guarding Tiago Splitter in the post, and with Zach Randolph missing the game due to his knee injury, Dave Joerger decided to call upon rookie Jarnell Stokes. This was some of the first "real" action Stokes has seen against elite competition, and while he didn't log many minutes, he made a significant impact on how the game played out.

Due to Stokes' strength, Splitter was completely unable to back him down in the post, and with that in combination with Stokes' rebounding abilities, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich decided to counter by inserting stretch four Matt Bonner, prompting Joerger to sub in Tayshaun Prince as a small-ball four. The same thing happened early in the third quarter when Stokes checked into the game yet again.

It was a fascinating chess match that played out between two of the league's elite coaches, and Stokes was the initial cog that set off the chain of events.

Stokes didn't make an impact in the box score — logging only one rebound and one missed shot in four minutes — but the more important contribution was that his presence limited Splitter to 13 minutes, opening the door for the Grizzlies to attack the paint.

3) Quincy Pondexter Found His Shooting Touch

It's no secret that Pondexter has suffered through an abysmal season from beyond the three-point arc — shooting just 23 percent on 5.3 attempts per 36 minutes — but he finally found the range and splashed in two triples in three tries tonight. Quincy finished with 6 points, a rebound, an assist, and a steal in 19 minutes, making the win the second productive outing in Pondexter's last three games (the other being a 14-point effort in a loss against Houston).

We'll have to wait and see whether this is a blip on the radar or a sign of Q returning to the form that made him a valuable role player to the Grizzlies squad that made the Western Conference Finals in 2012-13.