As well as the Spurs played in Game 1, a letdown was almost inevitable. It didn’t happen until the fourth quarter, but happen it did with a 15-2 Memphis run — fueled by Manu Ginobili’s flagrant foul on Tony Allen — that forced overtime. The collapse prevented them from crushing the Grizzlies’ morale, but the fact remains: They lead the series 2-0, a point at which teams have won best-of-7 series 94 percent of the time, and the Spurs are 19-2.

Player of the game

So how to grade Tony Parker? From the standpoint of shooting, he suffered through a nightmare similar to the one that wakes Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade in cold sweats in that Gatorade commercial: 6 for 20, including misses on his last five attempts. He was otherwise sublime, dishing out a playoff career-high 18 assists against just two turnovers. He was especially good in the third quarter, scoring or assisting on 24 of the team’s 30 points.

The turning point

It was a generally quiet performance from Tim Duncan, who struggled with foul trouble late in regulation. He still amassed nine rebounds, three assists, four blocks, two steals and 17 points, including the first three baskets of overtime to carry the Spurs home — a driving layup, a putback and a Parker-esque floater that bounced high off the rim and in, , Don Nelson in the 1969 Finals style, for a 91-87 lead.

Continuation

* Achievement of the Night: Duncan’s blocks gave him 500 for his postseason career, extending his NBA record. (As always, it must be noted that the NBA did not begin tracking blocks until the 1973-74 season, at which point Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell were both retired.)

* Manu Ginobili’s flagrant foul on Tony Allen in the dying seconds of regulation was perhaps the pivotal play of the game. Allen obviously made a meal of it, holding his head while writhing on the ground despite never having made contact. But that almost seemed poetic justice considering Ginobili has made a career selling such fouls. (Lest we forget this gem, and about a thousand others.)

So was it a flagrant or not? You can make a case both ways. Ginobili made no play on the ball, and sent Allen tumbling to the court — head shot or not — by grabbing and yanking his arm. At the same time, it could be argued Ginobili was just making a basketball play, with no malicious intent, to prevent an opposing player from getting an easy layup.