Spurs beat Grizz, advance to face Rockets in Western Conference semis

Spurs beat Grizz, advance to face Rockets in Western Conference semis

BOX SCORE

MEMPHIS, Tenn -- Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points, and the San Antonio Spurs advanced to the Western Conference semifinals by beating the Memphis Grizzlies 103-96 Thursday night to take the series 4-2.

The Spurs now have beaten Memphis four of the five playoff series between these teams, and this was San Antonio's second straight win over the Grizzlies in the first round.

Tony Parker added 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting, while LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Patty Mills had 10 points off the bench for the Spurs. San Antonio outrebounded Memphis 46-28, with 16 of those offensive boards. That led to 17 second-chance points.

Their semifinal with Houston will start Monday night in San Antonio.

Mike Conley scored 26 points, leading the five Memphis starters in double digits. Marc Gasol added 18, Zach Randolph 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Vince Carter had 12 points.

The Grizzlies fell to 3-10 in elimination games, losing six straight.

This was a taut game with 16 ties and nine lead changes, especially with four ties in the fourth quarter.

The Spurs took control after the Grizzlies went up 88-81 on three free throws from Conley with 6:29 left. Then Leonard scored eight straight for San Antonio, starting a 22-8 run to finish the game.

Even with Conley and Gasol a combined 2 of 10 in the first quarter, the Grizzlies trailed only 24-22 after Conley knocked down a 3 at the end of the quarter for his first bucket of the game. Conley hit another 3 for the final shot in the second quarter, putting Memphis up 50-45. The team that led at halftime won each of the first five games.

Parker hit his first six shots before finally missing his seventh with 29 seconds left in the first half.

The Grizzlies took their biggest lead at 57-47 on a 3-pointer by James Ennis III. That gave Memphis as many made 3s (9 of 17) as the Spurs had attempted (3 of 9) at that point. Randolph's layup with 7:19 left matched that 10-point lead at 63-53.

Then the Spurs went on a 13-3 run over a 4-minute span to erase that lead on Aldridge's three-point play at 67-66. Aldridge finished with nine points in helping the Spurs lead 75-74 at the end of the quarter.

TIP-INS

Spurs: They improved to 36-15 with a chance to clinch a series under coach Gregg Popovich, who took over in the 1996-97 season. ... Manu Ginobili converted a four-point play with 1:31 left in the third, putting the Spurs up 73-69. ... The Spurs wound up tying the Grizzlies' reserves with 16 points thanks to Mills.

Grizzlies: The Grizzlies set a franchise record hitting eight 3-pointers in the first half, topping the previous mark of seven in the second half May 1, 2005, against Phoenix. ... Conley has 20 or more points in five straight playoff games, the longest such streak in franchise history.

FREE THROW WATCH

Memphis coach David Fizdale earned a $30,000 fine from the NBA for his "Take that for data" rant about the free throw discrepancy in Game 2. Well, Leonard was 9 of 10 at the free throw line through three quarters compared to the Grizzlies' 7 of 8. The Spurs were 18 of 20 through three quarters. The Spurs finished 22 of 25 compared to 20 of 24 for Memphis.

Clippers lose Griffin for rest of postseason due to toe injury

Clippers lose Griffin for rest of postseason due to toe injury

SALT LAKE CITY -- Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin is out for the remainder of the playoffs after injuring his big toe during Friday night's win against the Utah Jazz.

The team announced Saturday that the five-time All-Star was diagnosed with an injury to the plantar plate of his right big toe. Griffin left Game 3 with 3:18 remaining in the second quarter after landing awkwardly following a transition layup. He had 11 points, six rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes, and the team said at the time the injury was a bruised toe. X-rays at the arena were negative, but he was re-evaluated after the game.

Griffin averaged 25 points, 6 rebounds and 2.5 assists in the first two games.

His injury marks another playoff blow to a franchise that has dealt with a series of bad luck and internal turmoil in recent years.

Griffin and point guard Chris Paul were lost to injuries last year, and the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead against Houston in 2015.

During the 2014 playoffs, voice recordings of then-owner Donald Sterling making racist comments surfaced, leading to him being banned by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who forced the sale of the team.

The Clippers were up 2-0 in 2013 before losing to Memphis in six games after Griffin stepped on teammate Lamar Odom and injured his ankle.

Paul said after the latest game that losing Griffin would keep the team from running offense through the post as much, where other players cut and move off of the 6-foot-10, 250-pounder. Paul called Griffin a "dynamic player" who is one of the best passers on the roster.

"Just his leadership, it's just a different feeling when he's on the court," Paul said Friday night.

The Clippers rallied for a 111-106 victory, with Paul scoring a season-high 34 points and the offense running through pick-and-roll between Paul and DeAndre Jordan.

The Clippers have been without injured backup guard Austin Rivers (strained left hamstring) for the first three games of the playoffs.

Jazz center Gobert suffers left knee injury in opening minute vs Clippers

Jazz center Gobert suffers left knee injury in opening minute vs Clippers

LOS ANGELES — Utah center Rudy Gobert sprained his left knee in the series opener against the Los Angeles Clippers on the first play of the game.

Gobert banged knees with Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute on Saturday night. Gobert was setting a screen when Mbah a Moute ran around him in pursuit of Gordon Hayward. After the players made contact, Gobert fell to the court clutching his left leg.

The fourth-year player from France had to be helped off the court, leaning heavily on two people as he made his way to the locker room.

The matchup between Gobert and Clippers center DeAndre Jordan was expected to be a key to the best-of-7 series.

Gobert averaged 14.0 points and 12.8 rebounds in the regular season.