Memphis opens 3-game home stand with loss to San Antonio
Leonard scores 27 as Spurs defeat Grizzlies 103-83
Clay Bailey, Associated Press | 12/4/2015, 1:53 p.m.
Kawhi Leonard gave the Memphis Grizzlies a good look at why he ranks among the top 3-point shooters in the NBA.
Leonard scored 27 points, shooting 7 for 9 on 3s as the San Antonio Spurs eased to a 103-83 victory over Memphis on Thursday night.
"I've been confident in it," said Leonard, who entered the night making 46 percent of his 3-pointers. "Tonight, I got hot so I kept shooting until I missed. Shots just fell for me."
Leonard's career-high 3s were part of the Spurs going 10 of 18 from behind the arc.
Tony Parker had 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists as San Antonio won for the seventh time in eight games. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 18 and Manu Ginobili finished with 13.
Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Mario Chalmers scored 15 apiece for Memphis, and Jeff Green finished with 10 points.
Leonard's long-distance baskets helped San Antonio build a 15-point lead early in the second half. The Spurs coasted the rest of the way as the lead reached 23 in the fourth quarter.
San Antonio shot 50 percent overall while limiting Memphis to 38 percent. The Spurs also outrebounded the Grizzlies 48-37, led by 10 from Tim Duncan and eight from Leonard.
Parker converted 8 of 11 shots in the first half for 16 points as the Spurs carried a 45-36 lead into the break.
The Spurs immediately increased their lead to 15 early in the third quarter as Leonard converted a pair of 3-pointers. Aldridge, limited to one point in the first half, had 10 points in the period. Leonard had 11.
"The first half I got a lot of good looks," Parker said. "My teammates set some great picks and my shot was going. The third quarter, Kawhi shot the ball very well."
"It was just everybody got a good rhythm at some point in the game," he said.
The Spurs caused several early turnovers by double-teaming Memphis' big men when the ball went into the post. Gasol had four of his five turnovers in the first half.
Memphis never seemed to get into any flow after halftime. Chalmers scored 11 points in the final two quarters, but the Grizzlies never made a significant dent in the Spurs lead.
"They didn't feel threatened by our offense," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. "They could take free and loose shots offensively, move the ball around and get what they wanted. And, if they didn't get it, it wasn't that big of a deal because we were struggling at the offensive end."
Spurs: Leonard's previous high for 3-pointers was five against Miami last season. ... San Antonio has won 13 of the last 15 in the series. .It was the 16th time this season San Antonio held an opponent under 100.
Grizzlies: Wore their throwback Memphis Sounds jerseys, the last ABA team to play in the city. ... Jeff Green missed his first free throw of the game, breaking a franchise-best streak of 40 straight. ... This was the opener of a three-game homestand for Memphis.
KAWHI FOR 3: With his performance against the Grizzlies, Leonard is shooting 50 percent for the season (39 of 78) and took over the league's top spot in the category. "He's been shooting the ball very well this year from the 3-point line," Parker said. "I think his decision-making is improving and he's taking great shots."
POP'S RIGHT: Told that coach Gregg Popovich said the Spurs played sloppy in the first quarter, Parker laughed and said: "I would not agree with Pop on that one," later adding though: "Coach is always right."
Spurs: Host Boston on Saturday.
Grizzlies: Host Phoenix on Sunday.