SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard matched his postseason high with 32 points and the San Antonio Spurs rolled to a 111-82 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points, and Tony Parker added 18 to help San Antonio win its ninth straight over Memphis in the postseason.
Marc Gasol had 32 points, but only seven in the second half as the Grizzlies fell behind by as many as 36 points. Mike Conley was the only other Grizzlies player in double figures, finishing with 13.
The start of this game showed the challenge the Grizzlies face, they raced out to a 22-9 lead on the Spurs behind the play of Gasol and Conley, but once the benches came in the Spurs quickly erased the lead and took command of the game.
Memphis was without defensive lynchpin Tony Allen. He’s out indefinitely with a calf injury, and Leonard took advantage for his fourth career playoff game of 30-plus points.
Game 2 is Monday night in San Antonio.
This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.
The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.
With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.
Emphasis on “almost.”
The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.
The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.
After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.
The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.
Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.
The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.