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Ginobili return rights Spurs, evens series vs. Grizzlies

Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, sporting a sleeve on his sprained elbow, scores 17 to thwart the upstart Grizzlies in Game 2.

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Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, sporting a sleeve on his sprained elbow, scores 17 to thwart the upstart Grizzlies in Game 2.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Guard Manu Ginobili scored 17 in the All-Star's return after missing Game 1 with an elbow sprain, and the Spurs beat the Grizzlies 93-87 Wednesday night to even the first-round series.

Ginobili wore a thick sleeve to protect his right elbow but played as physically reckless as usual. He stayed questionable until just before tipoff, yet even with Ginobili, the top-seeded Spurs didn't have it easy.

Sam Young led Memphis with 17 points. The Grizzlies opened the series with a stunner for their first franchise playoff win, and a 2-0 lead seemed possible in the final seconds Wednesday. Young's 3 with 14.9 seconds left made it 89-87 before George Hill sealed the win at the free-throw line.

Game 3 is Saturday in Memphis.

Tim Duncan had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs.

Exactly one week after spraining his right elbow in the regular-season finale, Ginobili finally returned after unsuccessfully lobbying coach Gregg Popovich to play in Game 1.

Ginobili struggled with his shot, going 5-for-13 from the field, but he got to the free-throw line 13 times.

Spurs 93, Grizzlies 87

MEMPHIS (87): Young 7-13 2-2 17, Randolph 5-14 1-1 11, Gasol 2-9 8-11 12, Conley 6-15 1-2 13, Allen 7-13 1-1 15, Battier 1-7 0-0 3, Arthur 4-5 0-1 8, Mayo 2-11 1-2 5, Vasquez 1-1 0-0 3, Powe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 35-88 14-20 87.

SAN ANTONIO (93): Jefferson 5-8 3-4 16, Duncan 7-12 2-2 16, McDyess 2-6 1-2 5, Parker 6-14 0-0 12, Ginobili 5-13 7-13 17, Bonner 1-3 0-0 3, Hill 3-9 8-9 16, Blair 1-4 0-1 2, Neal 2-4 1-1 6, Green 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-73 22-32 93.

Memphis 17 27 21 22— 87

San Antonio 17 24 25 27— 93

3-Point GoalsMemphis 3-14 (Vasquez 1-1, Young 1-2, Battier 1-5, Conley 0-2, Mayo 0-4), San Antonio 7-17 (Jefferson 3-6, Hill 2-2, Neal 1-2, Bonner 1-3, Parker 0-1, Ginobili 0-3). Fouled OutDuncan. ReboundsMemphis 56 (Gasol 17), San Antonio 54 (Duncan 10). AssistsMemphis 17 (Mayo, Conley 4), San Antonio 21 (Parker 7). Total FoulsMemphis 25, San Antonio 23. TechnicalsMemphis defensive three second, San Antonio defensive three second. A18,760.

Thunder edge now 2-0

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Thunder is more than just Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Way more.

A game after scoring a combined 72, the All-Star duo got plenty of help to build a commanding first-half lead and beat the Nuggets 106-89 in Game 2. The first-round Western Conference playoff series shifts to Denver on Saturday with Oklahoma City leading 2-0.

"Everybody chipped in tonight," Durant said. "That's what we're going to need."

Durant scored 23 and Westbrook added 21, but everyone else contributed to an early stretch that produced a 26-point lead in the second quarter. James Harden had 18 points and Serge Ibaka added 12.

Ty Lawson scored 20 to lead Denver, which could only get as close as 10 in the fourth quarter.

"When it looked like we could get it under 10, a 3-ball would go in or an offensive rebound would break our heart," Denver coach George Karl said.

Thunder 106, Nuggets 89

DENVER (89): Gallinari 3-8 0-2 7, Martin 2-6 3-4 7, Nene 2-8 12-18 16, Lawson 7-13 5-5 20, Chandler 0-6 4-4 4, Felton 5-11 4-4 16, Smith 1-6 0-0 2, Andersen 0-0 0-0 0, Harrington 6-9 0-0 15, Koufos 1-1 0-0 2, Forbes 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-69 28-37 89.

OKLAHOMA CITY (106): Durant 7-15 6-7 23, Ibaka 5-8 2-2 12, Perkins 2-6 3-5 7, Westbrook 7-18 4-4 21, Sefolosha 3-7 0-0 6, Collison 4-5 2-2 10, Harden 5-9 6-6 18, Mohammed 0-1 0-0 0, Maynor 1-6 1-2 3, Cook 2-7 0-0 6. Totals 36-82 24-28 106.

Denver 15 29 22 23— 89

Oklahoma City 31 28 22 25— 106

3-Point GoalsDenver 7-16 (Harrington 3-4, Felton 2-4, Lawson 1-2, Gallinari 1-3, Smith 0-1, Chandler 0-2), Oklahoma City 10-30 (Westbrook 3-6, Durant 3-7, Harden 2-5, Cook 2-7, Maynor 0-2, Sefolosha 0-3). Fouled OutPerkins. ReboundsDenver 40 (Nene 9), Oklahoma City 61 (Ibaka 12). AssistsDenver 12 (Lawson 3), Oklahoma City 19 (Westbrook 7). Total FoulsDenver 21, Oklahoma City 26. TechnicalsDenver Coach Karl, Martin, Denver defensive three second, Oklahoma City defensive three second. Flagrant Fouls—Perkins. A18,203.

Love most Improved: Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, who went from sixth man last season to an All-Star and the league's leading rebounder, will be named the league's most improved player today, the Associated Press reported.

Around the league: Memphis forward Zach Randolph signed a four-year extension (terms were not disclosed). … Former player Oliver Miller, 41, was arrested and accused of pistol-whipping a man at a cookout near his Maryland home. Anne Arundel County Police charged him with assault, reckless endangerment and other offenses.

Ginobili return rights Spurs, evens series vs. Grizzlies 04/21/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 21, 2011 1:30am]
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