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VOL. 130 | NO. 1 | Thursday, January 1, 2015

Grizzlies Hope to Continue Building Off Spurs Defeat

CLAY BAILEY | The Associated Press

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – The Memphis Grizzlies made sure early that they didn't go to triple overtime again against the San Antonio Spurs.

Fueled by 16 first-quarter points from Mike Conley, the Grizzlies built an early 10-point lead, eventually led by 16 and weathered a fourth-quarter push by the Spurs for a 95-87 victory over San Antonio on Tuesday night.

"It was good that we didn't have to play 50-something minutes," said Marc Gasol, who had 17 points and nine rebounds. "We did that by executing defensively especially. Offensively, we did a pretty good job of moving the ball and taking the open shot."

The teams went to triple-overtime in San Antonio on Dec. 17 before Memphis left with a 117-116 victory. This time, after a couple of early one-point leads by the Spurs, Memphis never trailed again.

After losing four straight going into Christmas, it was obvious the Grizzlies needed to rest their tired legs. But after another win over the Spurs, the team is looking to a strong 2015.

(AP Photos/Brandon Dill)

Conley finished with 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists to lead the Grizzlies. Tayshaun Prince scored 12.

"Well, he did have a great start," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Conley in his brief postgame remarks.

The victory assured Memphis of at least a tie in the season series. The Grizzlies have won the last two after dropping 15 of 17 to the Spurs, including a sweep in the 2013 Western Conference Finals.

"That team has had our number for three or four years," Conley said. "With or without their starters, they seem to always beat us. It's a huge win for us at home and a huge statement. Hopefully, we can just continue building off of it."

Marco Belinelli and Cory Joseph scored 18 points apiece for the Spurs. Patty Mills scored 10 points for San Antonio, but was 3 of 10 from the field and missed all four of his 3-pointers, part of the Spurs going 5 of 22 from outside the arc. Belinelli was 4 of 7 from 3-point range, while the rest of the Spurs missed 14 of 15 from distance.

The Spurs noted Memphis didn't waste any time building its lead. Conley hit his first seven shots, including two from outside the arc, for 18 first-half points.

"We just got ourselves in the hole," Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. "We were just fighting out of it the whole time."

Forward Danny Green added: "They came out energized for sure. We were working hard, putting in effort, but things weren't falling for us."

Memphis led 52-38 at halftime, benefiting from the Spurs seeming a step slow in the first half, the remnants of a December in which San Antonio played 18 games, including seven back-to-backs.

With Memphis leading 74-63 after the third, the Spurs reserves looked like they were prepared to threaten. Consecutive baskets by Kyle Anderson to open the fourth cut the lead to seven. Duncan scored two straight field goals later to slice the lead to 80-77 near the midway point of the fourth.

Upcoming Grizzlies games

Friday, Jan. 2, 9:30 p.m.
LA Lakers (away)

Saturday, Jan. 3, 8 p.m.
Denver Nuggets (away)

Monday, Jan. 5, 7 p.m.
New York Knicks (home)

Wednesday, Jan. 7, 6:30 p.m.
Atlanta Hawks (away)

Friday, Jan. 9, 7 p.m.
New Orleans Pelicans (away) 

But the Memphis advantage never fell under five points in the final 5:30.

"Our guys competed from start to finish," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. "There were times where they looked a little crazy in the fourth quarter, but, by and large, I thought our defensive effort was tremendous."

TIP-INS:
Grizzlies:
Forward Zach Randolph missed his fifth straight game with a sore right knee. ... Memphis recorded its sixth sellout of the season. ... It was Conley's second game of at least 30 points this season.

Spurs: Guard Tony Parker missed his 11th game with a strained left hamstring. He played three games over that period. Forward Kawhi Leonard also was out with a bruised right hand. ... Duncan finished with nine points and 10 rebounds, leaving him one game short of Karl Malone for sixth place all time with 814 double-doubles.

SEE YOU IN THE SPRING: The two teams played three times in December, but won't have their final meeting in the season series until March 29 in San Antonio.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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