Basketball: Spurs maul Grizzlies, aim to close out first-round play-offs

They maul Grizzlies at home twice and look to close out first-round play-offs by Sunday

LOS ANGELES • Patty Mills scored 16 points off the bench, as the San Antonio Spurs made things look easy from the opening tip and defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 94-68 on Tuesday, in Game 2 of the two NBA teams' Western Conference first-round play-off series.

The Spurs own a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, which moves to Memphis for Game 3 tomorrow and Game 4 on Sunday.

San Antonio led from the start and methodically took apart the Grizzlies. The Spurs built their lead from 11 points after one quarter to 14 at half-time, 17 after three quarters and as much as 28 in the fourth while playing their bench players for the majority of the final period.

The 68 points were Memphis' lowest offensive output of the season, supplanting the 74 points the Grizzlies scored on Sunday in a 106-74 defeat in the first game.

Kawhi Leonard, who on Monday was selected the National Basketball Association's Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, added 13 points despite not playing in the fourth quarter.

He did most of his damage from the inside, where he took advantage of his size mismatch against Memphis' defenders to attack the basket. Three of his first four made baskets came on dunks after driving to the hole, and all of his free throws were products of fouls when he worked in the paint.

San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard dunking in front of Memphis' Zach Randolph in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round series at AT&T Centre. The Spurs led by such a huge margin in the 94-68 win on Tuesday that their substitutes played for most of
San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard dunking in front of Memphis' Zach Randolph in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round series at AT&T Centre. The Spurs led by such a huge margin in the 94-68 win on Tuesday that their substitutes played for most of the fourth quarter. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Kevin Martin and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 10 points each for the Spurs, who are 6-0 against Memphis this season. All 13 San Antonio players who saw the floor scored.

Memphis were led by Tony Allen's 12 points, eight of which came in the first half. Zach Randolph added 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

The Spurs' defence put the clamps on Memphis from the start, holding the Grizzlies to 25 per cent shooting in the first quarter while allowing just 11 points, forging a 22-11 lead at the end of the initial 12 minutes of play.

Mills' three-pointer that bounced high off the back of the rim and then into the net with 0.7 of a second left in the period gave San Antonio their first double-digit advantage of the game and capped an 11-1 run over the last 3min 30sec of the quarter.

The Spurs fashioned a 15-6 run in the second quarter and eventually settled for a 49-35 lead at half-time.

"So far, we just did our job by winning our two games at home," guard Tony Parker said.

"We just have to make sure we take care of the ball (in Memphis) and stay focused.

"It's the play-offs. (We need to) respect the opponent and know that over there it's going to be a lot harder."

Memphis' Matt Barnes called on his team-mates to "go down swinging".

"We are coming into a gun-fight armed with spoons," he said.

"We have to make some shots. We have to roll the dice a little and find a way to switch things when we get home. It doesn't matter where we play - here, at a YMCA or in Memphis, we just have to play better.

"I don't know how good our chances are. I just know I want to go down swinging."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2016, with the headline 'Spurs make it look easy'. Print Edition | Subscribe