Kawhi Leonard scored 10 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter as the Spurs came from behind to close out the Grizzlies on the road. Leonard’s play on both ends as well as several clutch shots by Tony Parker led San Antonio to a 103-96 win.
A microcosm of the series as a whole, game six was another tough, grueling matchup between the two squads. Memphis took a lead going into the second half on the back of its two stars. Mike Conley and Marc Gasol each played 45 minutes as they attempted to extend the series to seven games.
But the Spurs were too much, even for a Grizzlies team getting huge contributions from the likes of Vince Carter and James Ennis and a Grizzlies team who hit an uncharactersitic 12 threes (eight in the first half).
Leonard willed the Spurs to victory in the fourth quarter, doing it all on both ends of the court. He finished the game with 29 points, nine rebounds, four assists (two coming in clutch moments), and three steals. It was truly an MVP-caliber performance from the former Finals MVP.
The Grizzlies made some big mistakes in the closing minutes as well. Gasol did not register a single shot attempt in the fourth quarter, they surrendered too many offensive rebounds (the Spurs out-rebounded Memphis 46-28 for the game), and Conley missed a free throw that could have cut the lead to three with 28 seconds remaining, leading to a Parker fastbreak layup.
Parker finished the game with 27 points on 11-14 shooting, adding four assists and two rebounds.
But in the end, it’s hard to find much fault in how the Grizzlies performed. They took on a Spurs team with the second-best record in the NBA without their big free agent accquisition in Chandler Parsons and showed that they could compete through the majority of the six games. That’s not to mention the entertainment they provided on and off the court.
The Spurs, meanwhile, will now get ready for the second round where they will meet a hungry Houston Rockets squad with an MVP candidate of their own. Game one of that series will be played on Monday at 8:30 PM EST.
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