Memphis, in the playoffs for the fourth time in franchise history, had been swept in each of its previous three appearances.
The 12 consecutive playoff game losses before picking up a win is an NBA record.
With that out of the way, the Grizzlies can focus on chasing another piece of history. Memphis is looking to become the fourth No. 8 seed ever to defeat a No. 1 seed, and just second to do so since the first round expanded to a seven-game series.
The Grizzlies got off to a good start stealing Game 1 in San Antonio, becoming just the 10th No. 8 seed to win Game 1 of the first round.
They still have a long way to go as only two of those previous nine teams were able to translate that Game 1 win into a series victory.
The Grizzlies took the lead for good on a three-point field goal by Shane Battier. That was fitting since Battier is the only member of the current Grizzlies to have played in each of the teams’ previous 12 playoff games, during his first stint with the franchise.
It came shortly after the Spurs had used a 13-to-2 run to turn a seven-point Grizzlies lead into a four-point deficit.
During this stretch the Grizzlies missed four free throws, making it appear Memphis’ playoff futility would continue.
But in the final minute Memphis regained its composure ending the game on a 7-0 run.
Instead it was the Spurs playing without Manu Ginobili, their best fourth-quarter scorer during the regular season, who looked new to the playoffs.
So what exactly does this mean for the Spurs in 2011?
Not much – assuming Manu Ginobili is able to return healthy. This is a familiar position for San Antonio who has now lost the series opener in five of its last seven first round playoff series.
The Spurs have come back to win the series on three of those four occasions.
Spurs With Ginobili On/Off Court
This Season vs Grizzlies
This loss just shows how important Ginobili is to the Spurs, especially against Memphis.
Game tape has shown with Ginobili in the lineup this season, the Spurs averaged 108.9 points per 48 minutes against the Grizzlies, and outscored Memphis by 26 points while he was on the floor.
Without him though, San Antonio shot under 40-percent from the floor, and was outscored by 39 points.
Throughout Ginobili’s career San Antonio is just 1-5 in the playoffs without him, so it is vitally important he return, and soon.