Thursday, May 24, 2018
Sports

Spurs top Grizzlies in West final Game 1

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The Spurs opened the Western Conference final resembling the past champions who've been there so many times before.

The Grizzlies looked like the first-timers still trying to adapt to their first conference final appearance.

Tony Parker had 20 points and nine assists, Kawhi Leonard scored 18 and San Antonio beat Memphis 105-83 in Game 1 on Sunday.

San Antonio raced to a 17-point lead in the first quarter, then responded when Memphis rallied to get within six in the second half. Both teams pulled their starters with more than five minutes left and the Spurs leading by 21.

"I can promise you this: Nobody's happy in our locker room, because we were up 2-0 (in the West final) last year and we lost," Parker said. "It's just one game. It means nothing. We still have a long way to go."

The Spurs avoided a repeat of their Game 1 loss when the teams met two years ago in the first round. The Grizzlies went on to knock the Spurs out.

Memphis has lost its opener in each round in this year's playoffs, recovering from an 0-2 hole against the Clippers and an 0-1 deficit against the Thunder in the West semifinals.

"We just didn't play well. It's not anything specific," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. "It's just that we were running too fast, we missed some layups, we were taking bad shots and our defense was really awful."

The NBA's stingiest defense allowed the Spurs to hit 53 percent of their shots and a franchise postseason-record 14 3-pointers while All-Star power forward Zach Randolph struggled. Randolph had just two points, getting his only basket with 9:26 left in the game.

Perimeter shooting proved to be a big factor. Memphis, second in the NBA by holding opponents to 33.8 shooting on 3-pointers, saw San Antonio make 13 of its first 24 from and finish 14-for-29.

"We were just so hyper, just running all over the place on defense," Hollins said. "We'd have four guys in the paint and nobody would be out on the perimeter guarding anybody. And that's not how we play defense."

Heat, Pacers jab early

The Eastern Conference final doesn't start until Wednesday, but Heat star LeBron James felt obligated to respond when told Pacers coach Frank Vogel referred to Miami as "just the next team" standing between Indiana and a chance to play for a title.

Vogel's Pacers eliminated the Knicks on Saturday, setting up the rematch of last year's conference semifinals, won by Miami.

"We're not just another team," James said. "I don't understand what he's saying. … We're a great team. If we're just another team, you really don't prepare for just another team. You have to prepare for us."

Spurs 105, Grizzlies 83

MEMPHIS (83): Prince 2-5 2-4 6, Randolph 1-8 0-0 2, Gasol 7-16 1-2 15, Conley 5-12 4-6 14, Allen 3-3 2-2 8, Bayless 3-7 2-2 8, Arthur 1-2 0-0 2, Pondexter 6-11 0-0 17, Dooling 0-0 0-0 0, Davis 1-3 3-4 5, Wroten 0-1 0-0 0, Daye 2-5 0-0 4, Leuer 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 32-74 14-20 83.

SAN ANTONIO (105): Leonard 7-10 0-0 18, Duncan 3-9 0-0 6, Splitter 0-1 1-2 1, Parker 9-14 2-2 20, Green 6-9 1-1 16, Diaw 0-2 2-2 2, Ginobili 2-6 3-5 8, Neal 5-8 0-0 11, Joseph 1-5 0-0 2, Bonner 4-7 0-0 12, Blair 2-2 2-2 6, McGrady 0-2 0-0 0, Mills 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 40-76 11-14 105.

Memphis 14 23 20 26— 83

San Antonio 31 20 22 32— 105

3-Point GoalsMemphis 5-12 (Pondexter 5-9, Daye 0-1, Bayless 0-2), San Antonio 14-29 (Leonard 4-5, Bonner 4-6, Green 3-6, Mills 1-1, Ginobili 1-3, Neal 1-4, Joseph 0-1, Diaw 0-1, McGrady 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsMemphis 44 (Randolph, Gasol 7), San Antonio 43 (Duncan 10). AssistsMemphis 20 (Conley 8), San Antonio 28 (Parker 9). Total FoulsMemphis 17, San Antonio 18. A18,581.

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