LOS ANGELES, USA – Kawhi Leonard tallied 20 points as the San Antonio Spurs routed the Memphis Grizzlies 106-74 to take the opener of their Western Conference first round playoff series.
The Spurs dominated the middle two quarters but were especially effective in the final 8 minutes of the third against the Grizzlies, who were led by 39-year-old journeyman Vince Carter.
LaMarcus Aldridge collected 17 points, Tony Parker and Patty Mills scored 15 points each for the Spurs and Kevin Martin added 10 points, all in the fourth quarter.
“It all started with our defense. They only scored 74 points so that is pretty good,” said Parker.
“This team understands we have a big goal. We have respect for Memphis. We have to keep that mindset and we will be OK.”
Tim Duncan had 7 points and 11 rebounds as San Antonio hit on 42 of its 81 shots (52 percent), outrebounded the Grizzlies 44-35 and had 9 blocked shots to Memphis’ 3.
“It is never easy to start the playoffs but we did it well,” said Spurs forward Boris Diaw.
Carter, who has played for 6 teams in his NBA career, led the Grizzlies with 16 points while Lance Stephenson scored all but two of his 14 points in the second half in front of the crowd of 18,600 at AT&T Center arena.
Memphis, which has now lost all 5 games its played against the Spurs this season, was held to a season low in points, shooting just 39 percent. The Grizzlies went to the charity stripe only a half dozen times.
San Antonio took command by outscoring the Grizzlies 24-6 over the final 8:04 of the third quarter and led 81-51 heading into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was left to mostly the bench players, with game two in the series to be played Tuesday in San Antonio. – Rappler.com
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