Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Sports

Spurs oust Grizzlies, reach NBA Finals

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Spurs are back in the NBA Finals for the first time since they won their last championship in 2007.

Tony Parker scored 37, his best game this postseason, and San Antonio finished off a sweep Monday night of the Grizzlies, 93-86 in the Western Conference final.

The Spurs have won six straight, handing two straight losses to a team that had been undefeated on their own court in their best postseason in franchise history. Memphis finished its best season ever swept by the same franchise that needed four games to knock the Grizzlies out of their first playoff appearance in 2004.

Parker hit 15 of 21 and all six free throws, earning the Spurs plenty of rest before Game 1 of the Finals on June 6.

"He's been amazing," center Tim Duncan said of Parker. "Every year he gets better and better and better. You can see tonight he carried us the entire game."

Duncan hugged guard Manu Ginobili and celebrated the chance at a title that slipped away a year ago when the Spurs blew a 2-0 lead to Oklahoma City. Duncan had 15 points and eight rebounds.

"We want to get back there," Duncan said of making the Finals. "We've had some really close years where we fell right on the verge of getting back. It feels like forever since we've been there."

Parker's previous best this postseason came in Game 3 when he had 32 points against Golden State in the semifinals.

The Spurs shot 51.3 percent (39 of 76) from the floor and outscored Memphis 52-32 in the paint. Memphis led only briefly and the last at 6-4.

Zach Randolph finished with 13, continuing his struggles at the line where he was 5 of 8.

"It's just effort. We didn't come up with some magic defense,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of limiting Randolph.

PACERS PONDER lebron: LeBron James' post game played a big part in the Heat's 114-96 Game 3 victory at Indiana on Sunday, overpowering and dominating All-Star forward Paul George, but Pacers coach Frank Vogel doesn't plan to overreact in making adjustments for tonight's game.

"LeBron, I think we charted him for five baskets in the post," Vogel said. "Which is, uh, you know, 10 points. How many did they score? 114. So we're not going to overreact and just bring the whole world after LeBron in the post. Obviously we don't want to give him that many or make it that easy for him in the post, so we'll make adjustments there."

Those adjustments include double-teaming of James and more active help on defense.

James had no turnovers and finished with 22 points, four rebounds and three assists.

"I made a conscious effort to get down in the post, to put pressure on their defense," James said. "I could work down there all game now. That's something I probably couldn't have done two years ago."

"I've just got to battle and push him out a little further," George said. "He's obviously gifted physically and he's strong, so it's tough."

Miami outscored Indiana 56-32 in the paint. Miami matched the highest scoring output in a quarter during this season's playoffs with 34, broke the franchise playoff record for points in a half (70) and fell one point short of tying the third-highest total in a playoff game in franchise history.

"It was something we wanted to get just to help settle us and get into a more aggressive attack," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of posting up James.

AROUND THE LEAGUE: The Bobcats and Lakers assistant Steve Clifford reportedly agreed on a three-year head coaching deal for just less than $6 million. The defense-minded Clifford, a Magic assistant from 2007-12, replaces the fired Mike Dunlap.

Spurs 93, Grizzlies 86

SAN ANTONIO (93): Leonard 5-7 0-0 11, Duncan 7-15 1-1 15, Splitter 4-8 1-1 9, Parker 15-21 6-6 37, Green 2-6 0-0 5, Ginobili 1-6 4-5 6, Diaw 2-5 0-0 4, Joseph 2-3 0-0 4, Neal 0-1 0-0 0, Bonner 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 39-76 12-13 93.

MEMPHIS (86): Prince 3-8 2-2 8, Randolph 4-13 5-8 13, Gasol 5-12 4-5 14, Conley 4-13 1-2 9, Allen 2-9 0-0 4, Pondexter 7-11 5-7 22, Arthur 4-8 0-0 8, Dooling 0-2 0-0 0, Bayless 3-10 0-0 8. Totals 32-86 17-24 86.

San Antonio 24 20 28 21— 93

Memphis 14 24 28 20— 86

3-Point GoalsSan Antonio 3-13 (Parker 1-1, Leonard 1-2, Green 1-2, Joseph 0-1, Neal 0-1, Ginobili 0-3, Bonner 0-3), Memphis 5-14 (Pondexter 3-6, Bayless 2-4, Prince 0-2, Conley 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsSan Antonio 48 (Duncan 8), Memphis 51 (Randolph, Allen 8). AssistsSan Antonio 23 (Parker, Ginobili 6), Memphis 19 (Conley 7). Total FoulsSan Antonio 25, Memphis 22. A18,119.

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Published: 04/23/18