SAN ANTONIO —
He had a playoff-best 28 points and 14 rebounds in his last game, as Memphis eliminated defending West champ Oklahoma City in Game 5 on Wednesday night.
“Obviously, he’s their best scorer. He’s a beast inside,” Parker said. “We know he’s not going to play like that every game. It’s just sometimes it happens.”
The Grizzlies started to rally as soon as Randolph came out of the game for the first time in the second half.
Quincy Pondexter made a baseline cut for a layup off Darrell Arthur’s pass, then hit back-to-back 3-pointers during a 10-0 burst. Jerryd Bayless’ two-handed, fast-break dunk off a steal got the Grizzlies within 62-56 with 3:43 left in the third quarter.
The comeback was short-lived, though.
Bayless missed a 3-pointer on the next trip, and Manu Ginobili was able to make one at the opposite end to spark an 11-1 response that immediately restored the Spurs’ lead to 16 by end of the quarter. Leonard hit a pair of 3-pointers and Gary Neal had one as San Antonio kept pouring it on in the fourth.
The four regular-season meetings were all won by the team with more points in the paint, but perimeter shooting proved to be a bigger factor in the playoff opener. Memphis, which was second in the NBA by holding opponents to 33.8 shooting on 3-pointers, let San Antonio make 13 of its first 24 from behind the arc and finish 14 of 29.
Danny Green connected three times and scored 16, and Matt Bonner hit four of his five attempts for 12 points.
“We did a good job of moving the basketball, finding each other, trusting each other,” Green said. “Luckily we made some today.”
Pondexter led Memphis with 17 points, Marc Gasol scored 15 and Mike Conley had 14 points and eight assists.
“We were just so hyper, just running all over the place on defense,” Hollins said. “We’d have four guys in the paint and nobody would be out on the perimeter guarding anybody. And that’s not how we play defense.”