Grizzlies, Miller fall to Spurs 101-94 in opener
By DANNY SANCHEZ
The Sports Xchange
SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker had 13 points and nine assists to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 101-94 win over the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night in a rematch of last year's Western Conference Finals.
Kawhi Leonard and Boris Diaw each scored 14 points and Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills each had 12. Tiago Splitter added 11 points for the Spurs, who are looking to rebound from a season that ended with a heartbreaking 7-game series loss to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
It only took a quarter, but San Antonio went on a 20-3 run midway through the second period led by Mills, who scored all 12 points of his points in a five-minute span to help push the lead to 38-22 halfway through the quarter.
The Spurs were bolstered by a bench that outscored the Grizzlies 28-7 in the first half. They went into the locker room up 48-27 after Kawhi Leonard slammed home the final points of the half. San Antonio needed it, as the Big Three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined to go 5 of 15 before the break.
Duncan left the game at the beginning of the third quarter with a chest contusion and did not return. He finished with three points and six rebounds in 17 minutes.
Memphis, which led 20-18 at the end of the first quarter, could only manage two field goals in 18 attempts in the second quarter.
The Grizzlies cut their 20-point deficit to five in the fourth quarter on a bucket by Quincy Poindexter with 7:08 remaining, making it 80-75. San Antonio answered with back-to-back 3's from Danny Green and Parker.
Tony Allen topped all Memphis scorers with 15 points. Marc Gasol added 14 points and nine re-bounds, Mike Conley had 14 points and six assists and Poindexter finished with 13 points. Mitchell native Mike Miller had 11 points, three assists and four rebounds in 25 minutes for the Grizzlies.
Memphis, which lost all eight games against the Spurs last year, struggled to get production from Zach Randolph. He had two points on 1-for-6 shooting with seven rebounds.
NOTES: San Antonio traditionally features strong international representation, and this year is no different. Ten of the 14 players are foreign, representing seven countries, the most of any team in the league. ... New Memphis head coach Dave Joerger is very familiar with the Grizzlies. He spent five seasons as an assistant to the man he replaced, Lionel Hollins. ... San Antonio entered Wednesday 15-1 on opening nights under coach Gregg Popovich, the most wins in openers among active coaches. ... The Grizzlies were coming off their most successful regular season in franchise history. They went 56-26 in 2012-13 and reached the Western Conference finals for the first time.