Sun04202014

Sports

Grizz grit can’t overcome Spurs’ grip

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When the game is over and your team's players and coach are saying things like the other team is smart, they stick to their system and they hit some tough shots, well, that sounds like a loss.

And it was: San Antonio 102, Memphis 86. The Spurs won both halves, going into the locker room at halftime with a 14-point lead that grew by two points by game's end.

Despite those point gaps, the Grizzlies were not pushovers. Absorbing the loss of center Marc Gasol, who left with a strained left knee in the second quarter, Memphis battled back to tie the game in the second half.

 

 

Down the stretch Friday, the painfully familiar showed itself – Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, with a bit of a slowed-down Tim Duncan to boot.

Tony Parker scored a team-high 20 points, with the troublesome Tiago Splitter adding 17.

San Antonio (11-1) had won eight in a row coming into the game and 11 of 13 against the Grizzlies. In the second quarter, the odds of Memphis breaking San Antonio's grip greater when Marc Gasol injured his left knee while playing defense. He left the game and did not return, with an MRI to come.

Ginobili came off the bench to score 15, adding 7 assists, including one long bounce pass that was an eye-popper.

With Gasol, San Antonio went to work down low. The Spurs shot 57 percent in the first half in building the lead to 14.

Zack Randolph got it going in the third quarter, finishing with his sixth consecutive double-double, 16 pts, 10 rebounds. Mike Conley, who leads the Grizzlies in scoring, dropped in a team-high 28.

Reserve center Kosta Koufos put in some good minutes in place of Gasol. His basket tied the score at 59.

The Spurs didn't wilt. Aided by their bench, which scored 45 points in the game, San Antonio separated itself. Parker was pesky when it mattered.

Despite the loss, Grizz fans generally seemed pleased with the team's effort against San Antonio, which is off to its best start in franchise history. For Memphis, it was the first loss in five games, coming after an impressive four-game sweep on the team's recent West-Coast swing.

NOTE: The Grizzlies confront "The Beard," Dwight Howard and the off-the-bench version of "Linsanity" when Houston's Rockets visit The FedExForum on Monday night.