Little men have dominated the first round of the playoffs, but Memphis seized a 2--1 series lead over top-seeded San Antonio with some good old-fashioned brawn. Marc Gasol, the European center with the American game, overwhelmed the Spurs in the paint in Game 1 with 24 points (on 9-of-10 shooting) and swatted away two shots in the Grizzlies' first playoff victory in 13 attempts. And power forward Zach Randolph, the 29-year-old NBA vagabond, ground out 25 points in Game 3, including a game-clinching three-pointer (yes, a three-pointer) that had the FedEx Forum crowd up and chanting his name. Neither Randolph nor Gasol is especially nimble, but packing 518 pounds between them, they've made the paint a no-drive zone and have formed a human wall in the post against Tim Duncan. As a result San Antonio, which had the league's second-most-efficient offense in the regular season, was shooting just 41.7% in the series. Says Memphis forward Shane Battier, "When you have bigs like this who can get it done, it makes a difference."
This is an article from the May 2, 2011 issue