NBA

Spurs turn the screw on Grizzlies with Game 3 win

San Antonio can clinch the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round playoff series with a win Sunday after going 3-0 up at the FedExForum.

Spurs turn the screw on Grizzlies with Game 3 win
Frederick Breedon AFP

Kawhi Leonard scored 32 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 96-87 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night in a Western Conference first-round playoff game at FedExForum.

The win gave the Spurs a 3-0 lead in the series. San Antonio can clinch the best-of-seven series with a win Sunday, also at FedExForum.

After being dominated by the Spurs in the first two games of the series -- losses of 32 and 26 points in San Antonio -- the Grizzlies competed from the outset. Memphis trailed by only one at the half and led 71-70 entering the fourth quarter.

A JaMychal Green layup, off an alley-oop pass from Xavier Munford, gave the Grizzlies a 73-70 lead to start the final quarter, but the Spurs recovered. San Antonio scored nine straight for a 79-73 advantage with 8:03 left and never trailed again.

Zach Randolph had 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Grizzlies. Matt Barnes also had a double-double with 17 points and 11 boards.

Memphis outrebounded the Spurs, 48-39, but shot only 41.5 percent.

Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger chose to start a small lineup, inserting 6’4” guard Tony Allen for 6’10” center Chris Anderson. Allen joined 6’6” Vince Carter, 6’7” Barnes, 6’9” Randolph and 6’2” Jordan Farmer in the starting five and the strategy worked.

After being held to 11 first-quarter points in Game 2, the Grizzlies scored 18 in the opening quarter and trailed by eight entering the second.

Despite falling behind by 13 early in the second, the Grizzlies rallied behind reserve guard Lance Stephenson, whose energy and accuracy allowed Memphis to go on a 10-0 run and trim the advantage to 34-31. Stephenson assisted on an Anderson dunk and followed with back-to-back jumpers during the run.

The Spurs were unable to pull away in the final seven minutes of the quarter and the Grizzlies briefly took the lead -- all of 16 seconds -- on two free throws by Barnes with 3:05 to go. A layup by Barnes at the buzzer trimmed the Spurs' lead to one (44-43) at halftime.

Memphis outscored the Spurs, 25-18, in the second quarter after being outscored in the first nine quarters of the series.

The Grizzlies shot 41.5 in the opening half and missed eight of nine 3-pointers. The Spurs shot slightly better (44.7 percent), but were 6 of 12 from long range. Leonard, who was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, had 14 points in the first half.