Sunday , Apr , 18 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Defending champion Spurs begin playoffs with rout

San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) – Tim Duncan scored 26 points and grabbed
nine rebounds to lead the defending champion San Antonio Spurs to an easy
98-74 win over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their Western Conference
quarterfinal series at SBC Center.

Manu Ginobili netted 15 points and Hedo Turkoglu chipped in 12 for the third-
seeded Spurs, who have won 12 straight games. San Antonio, which won the NBA
title last year for the second time in five seasons, will host Game 2 of the
best-of-seven series Monday night.

“The playoffs are like a whole different season, and this is just the start of
it,” Duncan said.

Tony Parker had 10 points and eight assists and Robert Horry also scored 10
for the Spurs, who had a 50-26 advantage in the paint.

Bonzi Wells had 16 points for the sixth-seeded Grizzlies, who are appearing in
the postseason for the first time in the franchise’s nine-year history.

James Posey added 15 and Pau Gasol scored 14 points for Memphis, which has
lost five straight games overall and six consecutive on the road. Gasol was
only 3-of-11 from the field.

“I wasn’t smart enough to attack them,” said Gasol. “They tried to take me
baseline, they locked me down under the glass and I just took too much time to
make the plays.”

San Antonio made a blazing 41-of-76 shots from the field (54 percent), while
the Grizzlies shot a season-low 35 percent (23-of-66).

Memphis held an 8-6 lead near the midpoint of the first quarter, but the Spurs
answered with an 11-0 surge, capped by Ginobili’s jumper, to forge a 17-8 edge
with 3:57 left in the period. The margin grew to 10 points on Horry’s jumper
later in the frame and San Antonio led 28-19 after one.

In the second, Duncan’s field goal with around 6 1/2 minutes left staked San
Antonio to a comfortable 38-25 lead and the cushion grew to 16 points moments
later. The Spurs went into the intermission with a hefty 49-34 advantage.

Duncan scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Wells paced the
Grizzlies with 12 in the opening 24 minutes.

The Spurs put the game out of reach in the third quarter as Duncan’s field
goal with just under seven minutes left made it 68-46. The gap reached 23
points on Bruce Bowen’s three-pointer just over two minutes later and San
Antonio held a commanding 71-52 lead after 36 minutes.

Duncan’s thunderous slam dunk near the nine-minute mark of the final period
stretched the advantage to 77-55. The Spurs then led by as many as 26 points
and cruised to the lopsided win.