Gasol, Randolph lead Grizzlies past Leonard-less Spurs
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Grizzlies’ stout defense took advantage of Kawhi Leonard’s absence and held the San Antonio Spurs to their lowest-scoring night of the season.
Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph scored 15 points each to lead Memphis over the Spurs 89-74 on Monday. San Antonio was limited to 37 percent shooting overall and 21 percent from outside the arc — both are season-lows for San Antonio.
“When everybody is connected defensively ... communicating, being consistent and solid and being unselfish defensively, that puts us at a different level,” Gasol said.
The Spurs had just nine points in the fourth quarter, converting only three field goals and allowing Memphis to pull away.
“Just too many defensive errors,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “Obviously, if you make a shot in the fourth quarter, it would have helped, but the shooting was horrendous.”
Mike Conley had 12 points and nine assists for Memphis, which won its second straight and fifth in its last six.
The game was close until Memphis stretched the margin to double digits just past the midway point of the fourth quarter and maintained the cushion the rest of the way.
The Spurs ended a three-game winning streak and suffered through the absence of Leonard, a late scratch with a quad contusion. Leonard averages 25.3 points a game, 11th best in the league.
“Obviously, it’s nice to catch the Spurs without Kawhi and Pau Gasol (out with a broken finger on his left hand),” Memphis coach David Fizdale said, “so I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.”
David Lee led the Spurs with 14 points, converting all six of his shots. LaMarcus Aldridge added 13 points, connecting on only 4 of 19 attempts. Danny Green and Manu Ginobili finished with 12 points each for San Antonio, which began an eight-game road trip.
There were 14 lead changes and six ties. Memphis took the first double-digit lead, 83-70, behind seven straight points with about five minutes left.
Not long after, the Grizzlies led by 17, and Popovich pulled Aldridge, Ginobili and Tony Parker down the stretch.
Spurs: San Antonio had reached 100 points in 27 straight games. ... Spurs officials said Leonard’s injury was a lingering problem. Popovich said the injury occurred in the Jan. 31 game against Oklahoma City. Leonard is listed as day-to-day. ... San Antonio’s previous low for points in a game this season was 83 on Nov. 29 in a loss to Orlando. ... The nine fourth-quarter points matched the lowest for San Antonio in any period this season.
Grizzlies: Memphis is 10 games over .500 for the first time this season. ... After resting Gasol, Allen and Chandler Parsons in Saturday’s win at Minnesota, all of Memphis’ players were available against San Antonio. ... The Grizzlies got their first win over the Spurs since a 95-87 victory on Dec. 30, 2014. The Spurs had won nine straight over Memphis, including five regular season games and a sweep of the Grizzlies in the opening round of last year’s West Conference playoffs.
HEAD ‘EM UP; MOVE ’EM OUT
This was the opening stop on the Spurs’ 15th annual rodeo road trip, when the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo takes over the AT&T Center. This year, the Spurs will play eight games in seven cities, traveling 7,378 miles from Monday to Feb. 26. The Spurs are 82-36 on the rodeo trip.
TURNING BACK THE CLOCK
The game featured the two oldest players in the NBA — Vince Carter of Memphis, who recently turned 40, and the Spurs’ Manu Ginobili, who turns 40 in July. Carter blocked two shots seconds apart in a sequence in the fourth quarter, first denying Aldridge and then stuffing Kyle Anderson. Carter had four blocks in the game.
Spurs: Head to Philadelphia for a game Wednesday night.
Grizzlies: Play the middle game of a three-game homestand against Phoenix on Wednesday night.