Leonard gets help, Spurs get Game 5 victory

San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard is challenged by Memphis Grizzlies centre Marc Gasol as he drives for a lay-up during their Game Five NBA first-round play-off series. Leonard scored 28 points to lead the Spurs to a 116-103 win.
San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard is challenged by Memphis Grizzlies centre Marc Gasol as he drives for a lay-up during their Game Five NBA first-round play-off series. Leonard scored 28 points to lead the Spurs to a 116-103 win.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

SAN ANTONIO (Texas) • This time, the San Antonio Spurs supplied the help necessary to avoid wasting another big game by Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard scored 28 points, Patty Mills added 20 and Tony Parker 16 as the Spurs used balanced scoring to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 116-103 on Tuesday night and take a 3-2 lead in their National Basketball Association (NBA) Western Conference first-round play-off series.

Game Six is today in Memphis.

On Saturday, Leonard scored a career-best 43 points but the Spurs lost Game Four in overtime. He converted seven three-pointers in that game, but his team-mates missed 18 of 20.

On Tuesday, back-up point guard Mills made five three-pointers - four in the fourth quarter - while finishing with a career-best play-off scoring total. The Spurs finished 14 of 28 from long range.

"We did not play defence at all," Grizzlies coach David Fizdale said. "The Spurs did what the Spurs do. Every mistake, they capitalised on, and it ended in a three every time."

LaMarcus Aldridge added 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds for the Spurs.

All that help was needed to stem a Memphis rally. The Grizzlies had trailed by 18 points in the third quarter, but made a 17-3 push to get within four points with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.

But Mills came off the bench to make his four three-pointers, and ruin a superb performance by Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, who scored 17 of his 26 points in the third quarter.

"You get guys like Patty and Kawhi wide-open looks and you're going to lose every night," Conley said.

Despite the win, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was not impressed with his team's defence down the stretch.

"I wouldn't say we stopped anybody," he said. "But we made shots, and that's what we didn't do in the last game."

The Utah Jazz are also closing in on a second-round berth after a 96-92 victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Gordon Hayward scored 27 points and pulled down eight rebounds for the Jazz, who took a 3-2 series lead.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2017, with the headline 'Leonard gets help, Spurs get Game 5 victory'. Print Edition | Subscribe