Monday , Apr , 26 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Champs end Grizzlies’ magical season

Memphis, TN (Sports Network) – Tony Parker tied a playoff career-high with 29
points and handed out 13 assists, as the San Antonio Spurs swept the Memphis
Grizzlies with a 110-97 victory in Game 4 in their Western Conference
quarterfinal series at The Pyramid.

Tim Duncan, who was celebrating his 28th birthday, netted 26 points for the
third-seeded Spurs, who won the best-of-seven set 4-0 and will play either the
Los Angeles Lakers or the Houston Rockets in the conference semifinals.

San Antonio, which is the defending NBA champion and has won its last 15 games
dating back to the regular season, also got 14 points from Robert Horry, who
made 4-of-5 shots from behind the arc.

“It’s the toughest thing to do to close out a team,” said San Antonio head
coach Gregg Popovich.

The Spurs shot a blistering 59 percent from the field (37-of-63) and converted
11 of their 17 three-point tries (65 percent). Memphis connected on 36-of-75
shots from the field (48 percent) and made 5-of-16 from behind the arc (31

Pau Gasol scored 22 points for the sixth-seeded Grizzlies, who were appearing
in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. James Posey
contributed 20 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

“I can handle this because of who we just went out to,” said Memphis’ 70-year-
old head coach Hubie Brown. “They are a very classy organization. Their coach
(Popovich) I have the utmost respect for. He and his staff countered
everything that we would change. They have class people on their team. They
just play and that is a joy in this day and age. You can understand why they
are world champions and why they are on the top of their game.”

Memphis jumped out to a 10-4 lead on Posey’s breakaway dunk with 9:17 left in
the first quarter. However, the Spurs settled down and used a commanding 14-2
spurt to pull ahead 18-12 near the midpoint of the period. During the San
Antonio run, Parker scored five points and Duncan added four.

The Spurs stretched their advantage to 29-19 on Parker’s jumper late in the
quarter and they eventually enjoyed a 32-21 edge after one.

In the second, the Grizzlies trimmed the deficit to 36-31 on Gasol’s jumper
with around 6 1/2 minutes left in the period, but San Antonio then scored the
next five points to stretch the gap to 10. Memphis did close within five
points two more times in the half, with the latest coming at 42-37, but the
Spurs took over late in the stanza and headed into the intermission with a
57-45 advantage.

Parker scored 17 points and Duncan added 14 for San Antonio, which made 22-
of-35 shots (63 percent) and hit on 6-of-10 from three-point range in the
first half (60 percent). Gasol netted 12 for the Grizzlies, who hit 45 percent
of their tries in the opening 24 minutes (18-of-40).

“Parker and Duncan had great games because they do what they do best,” said

The margin rose to 17 points on a basket by Rasho Nesterovic with around seven
minutes left in the third and the Spurs maintained a comfortable double-digit
advantage throughout the period. San Antonio took an 87-72 lead into the
fourth quarter.

Memphis tried to hang in the game as it began the fourth quarter on an 8-2 run
to pull within 89-80 with 9:44 left in the contest. However, the Spurs would
not let the margin get any smaller as they extended their cushion to 96-83 on
Bruce Bowen’s jumper 6:22 remaining.

San Antonio stretched its advantage to 16 points moments later and was never
threatened the rest of the game.

Memphis, which received a long ovation for its tremendous season after the
game, played at The Pyramid for the final time. The team will move into its
new home called the FedEx Forum next year.