Over the last three seasons, the Memphis Grizzlies offense has never really hummed, but it doesn't sputter much either because of the work Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph do inside. This was never more evident than in the 2011 playoffs, when Randolph shredded the San Antonio Spurs as Memphis eliminated the silver and black in six games.
The 2013 Western Conference Finals is already off to a better start than the 2011 first round series, thanks in part to the work the Spurs' defense did on Randolph.
Z-Bo scored just two points Sunday and didn't go to the free throw line once as the Spurs played masterful defense on him. Whether it was Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw and yes, even Matt Bonner, San Antonio seldom let Randolph get the positioning he likes and there was always help the few times he did get the ball in his sweet spots.
After the game, Randolph said he just didn't get the shots he wanted.
"They were disrupting my rhythm. It was just one of those nights," Randolph said. "I played like I did against the Clippers in L.A. We still have one more game to try and win here."
So now the adjustments come.
No doubt the Grizzlies will try to get the high-low game between Gasol and Randolph going. That could prove folly as long as the Spurs don't have a reason to respect the Grizzlies shooters. Memphis made a respectable 5-12 three-point attempts, but all five of those makes came from Quincy Pondexter, who led the Grizzlies with 17 points off the bench.
In fact, no Memphis starter even attempted a three. The Spurs also seemed fine with Gasol taking jump shots, as just two of his field goals came closer than 10 feet from the rim.
It's possible that Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins could shake up his roster by inserting Pondexter, but that seems unlikely as Tony Allen started all 79 of the games he played in this season and Tayshaun started all but one of his games after being traded to Memphis. What's more likely is we see Mike Conley, Jr. and Tayshaun Prince attempt more three-pointers. If one of them gets hot that means Tony Parker or Kawhi Leonard can't just pack the paint. Maybe we'll see more Jerryd Bayless with Conley, but that would mean sacrificing some defense, which also feels likely after a 22 point loss.
The fixes to get Randolph going aren't easy, but we can expect that Spurs to play a little worse Tuesday night and the Grizzlies to play a little better. That's my bet anyway.
Until then let's just all enjoy the fact that Matt Bonner outscored Randolph by 10 points in Game 1.