Spurs 110, Grizzlies 96
The Spurs snapped their first three-game losing streak of the season.
“It had a big difference. We won the game,” Duncan said in a deadpan tone about Parker’s absence. “I think that says something. We need to trade (Parker) or get rid of him or something.”
Ginobili, who averaged 25.5 points in the previous two games, was 10-of-15 from the field, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range. His career-best six 3-pointers were among San Antonio’s season-high 14 baskets from behind the arc.
“I only knew about Tony just before the game,” Ginobili said. “I don’t think I had so many more touches (with Parker out), I just happened to make every shot.”
Pau Gasol led Memphis with 24 points, and Mike Miller, who left the game briefly in the third quarter because of a jammed right thumb, finished with 14. Damon Stoudamire added 13 points, and Alexander Johnson had 10.
San Antonio scored the first two baskets of the fourth period to build an 18-point lead, and Memphis never got the deficit under double digits as the Spurs won their sixth straight over the Grizzlies. It marked the first time under interim coach Tony Barone that Memphis has not scored 100 points in its new running style.
“(We) held them to 24 points under what they’ve been averaging,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “With as many possessions as there were in the game, I thought that was a pretty good (defensive) effort on our part.”
As Boston did on Friday night, the Spurs put special emphasis on making sure Miller didn’t get open looks at the 3-point line. Bowen, relieved at times by Ginobili, stayed on the Memphis shooter, chasing him down the floor on breaks and fighting over picks to challenge most shots, keeping Miller out of a rhythm. Miller finished 5-of-13 from the field.
“He commands that kind of respect defensively by the way he plays,” Bowen said. “He’s a shooter, and it’s obvious he’s got talent and can hurt you.”
It was part of the Spurs’ strategy to force Memphis to be more deliberate on offense. Grizzlies reserve point guard Chucky Atkins said San Antonio doubled him on breaks to get the ball out of his hands or used one of its frontline players to stop penetration.
“I think a lot of times we’re playing at such a high pace that when things aren’t necessarily there, we’re not disciplined enough to stay with it and execute it,” Atkins said. “We’re rushing shots, and we’re not getting the best possible shots.
“(The Spurs) kind of throw you off your rhythm offensively. That’s all you really need to do. It’s not about blocking shots or getting steals. If they can throw you off your rhythm offensively, they can make you miss shots.”
Despite Parker’s absence and Duncan missing four of his first five shots, the Spurs still managed to build an 11-point lead midway through the second, and Ginobili’s 3-pointer in the closing seconds helped give San Antonio a 57-45 lead at the break.
Memphis led only once in the game, by two in the early stages, and trailed by as many as 18.
“When they were open, they made all their open jump shots. They made us pay when we helped and we missed a lot of foul shots,” Johnson said of Memphis’ 4-of-10 free throw performance in the first half. “We just didn’t come ready to play. They threw the first punch, and it just tumbled on from there.”
Beno Udrih, the third-year guard out of Slovenia, started in Parker’s place. Parker, who sat on the bench in street clothes, had started all 34 of the Spurs’ games this season prior to Sunday. He’s listed as day-to-day. … The Spurs, who lead the league in 3-point shooting at 40 percent, connected on 14 of 29 for 48 percent against the Grizzlies. … San Antonio avoid its first four-game losing streak since November 2003. … As evidence of the change in style, Memphis was averaging 120.5 points in the first four games under Barone. Prior to Barone taking the helm on Dec. 28, Memphis averaged 94.5. … Popovich drew a technical with 3:28 left in the first quarter for arguing a no-call with official Bennett Salvatore. … Grizzlies’ opponents have scored at least 100 points in 11 straight.
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