MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Losing to the defending champion San
Antonio makes the end of an amazing season a little more tolerable
for the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Spurs needed just four games to end the Grizzlies' first
foray into the postseason and advance to the second round.
Tony Parker matched his career high with 29 points and had a
postseason-best 13 assists to help the Spurs sweep the Grizzlies
with a 110-97 victory Sunday night.
"We just got taken out by a team that's at the height of their
game," Memphis coach Hubie Brown said.
The Spurs have won 15 straight regular-season and playoff games.
It also was San Antonio's first series sweep since beating Portland
in 1999 en route to its first NBA title.
"This was a great series for us, playing a physical team that
is very explosive, and they've got a lot of guys who can get the
job done," Duncan said. "We are happy it's over, and we are happy
that we played well."
The Grizzlies desperately wanted the franchise's first playoff
victory as a thank-you for their rowdy fans. And the team that set
a record with 50 victories played well enough before a sellout
crowd that had fuzz flying through the air as the fans shook their
promotional towels most of the game.
Adding to franchise history will have to wait at least until
next season when the Grizzlies move into their new $250 million
FedExForum near Beale Street because their best just wasn't good
enough against a team looking for a second straight NBA title.
The Spurs, who haven't lost since March 23, closed out this
series with their best shooting game this season.
"Nothing is easy in this league," Watson said. "You can spin
it any way you want to spin it, but I don't think it's
Memphis had been one of the NBA's best defensive units during
the regular season when it came to forcing steals and blocking
shots. But the Spurs shot 58.7 percent from the floor, including
11-of-17 from 3-point range, and it was easy with nearly every
attempt coming off a wide-open look at the basket.
Horry said despite defeating the Grizzlies by an average of 14
points in this series, the Spurs only wanted to win games and stay
focused on repeating as champions against a team that won the
regular season series 3-1.
"You don't try to send a message," Horry said. "If you send a
message, that's good. Just don't say you're going to go out and
beat this team."
Every time the Grizzlies put up a shot, they had a hand in their
face or were pushing through Spurs to reach the basket in shooting
Memphis started quick enough with a 10-2 run for their biggest
lead at 10-4 on Posey dunk in the opening minutes. But the Spurs
hit their first four 3s, and took the lead for good at 14-12 on a
20-foot jumper by Bowen. Parker had 14 of his points in the first
quarter, and Duncan said he set the tone.
"He took it over early. He had an excellent first quarter, and
he kept it all the way through. He really carried us through the
entire game," Duncan said.
Gasol hit a hook shot to pull Memphis to 18-17, then the Spurs
answered with 12-2 spurt and led 32-21 at the end of the first
Memphis got within five a few times in the second, but Duncan
scored 10 points in the quarter in helping the Spurs lead by as
much as 17.
The Grizzlies made one last run and got within nine twice in the
fourth quarter, the last on a 3-pointer by Mike Miller at 92-83
with 7:44 to go. Parker once again answered with a pair of free
throws, and the Spurs just pushed that lead back to double digits
to put it away.
It was a very tightly officiated game, but one call got the fans
chanting, "We want new refs" at the end of the third quarter.
Watson was given a foul after a scramble for the ball lost by
Parker as he went into the paint on the Spurs' end.
It was San Antonio's first sweep in the first-round since
1995 when it beat Denver in three games in what was then a
best-of-five series. ... Parker's previous best for assists was
nine against the Lakers on May 7, 2002.