Tony Allen (hamstring) did not play. Vince Carter took his spot in the starting lineup, with Joerger not wanting to give Jeff Green whiplash. It was VC's first start as a Grizzly.
The Spurs hit 7 of their first 10 to run off a 14-4 early lead, but the Grizz steadily worked their way back to within 2 by the early second quarter. Zach Randolph carried the load in the first, canning 8 of the team's first 15 points and grabbing 5 early boards. The bench announced itself in the second with a pair of dunks, a one-handed smoothie by Jeff Green and a vicious slam by Koufos off an Udrih assist. We won't talk about Green's inexplicable own-goal. Here, watch this instead:
But despite pulling within 2 at one point, the Grizzlies found themselves down 9 at halftime, 51-42, with little help from a pouty Marc Gasol (1-5 from the field in the half).
Gasol and the gang seemed re-energized after halftime, cutting the lead to 7 and then 3 on a deeeeeep Beno Udrih three-pointer. Jeff Green led the charge off the bench, finishing with 19 points, and was a bright spot in an otherwise stagnant offense. Memphis was somehow still within 4 at the start of the fourth, but then Kawhi Leonard blew it open for San Antonio. The Spurs hit their first 9 shots of the final quarter, and Leonard's 25, nearly a career high for him, were enough to withstand a meager final push by the Grizzlies' closing unit, which (notably?) subbed Green for Vince Carter.
Zach Randolph, at least, was back in the groove with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Notes in the Margin
• The Grizz shot better from 3, 43% to 23%, so they had that going for them, which was nice.
• Kawhi Leonard could palm the planet Mercury. Then he would make a 3 with it.
• Conley had a few filthy chase-down steals. He also assisted on five straight buckets in the third quarter. (I'm reaching, here.) (Ed. Note: So was Conley. Nailed it! -KY)