Parker has hot hand, scoring 37 to lead way
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The San Antonio Spurs are back in the NBA Finals for the first time since they won their last championship in 2007.
Tony Parker scored 37 points in his best game this postseason, and the San Antonio Spurs finished off a sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies with a 93-86 win on Monday night in the Western Conference final.
The Spurs have won six straight in these playoffs, handing two straight losses to a team that had been undefeated on its own court in its best postseason in franchise history. Memphis finished off its best season ever swept by the franchise that needed four games to knock Memphis out of its first playoff appearance in 2004.
Parker hit 15 of 21 shots and all six at the free throw line earning the Spurs and Tim Duncan plenty of rest before Game 1 of the Finals on June 6.
“He’s been amazing,” Duncan said of Parker. “Every year he gets better and better and better. He’s been carrying us. You can see tonight he carried us the entire game.”
Duncan hugged Manu Ginobili before heading off the court, celebrating the chance at a title that slipped away a year ago when the Spurs blew a 2-0 lead to Oklahoma City, losing four straight. The 37-year-old Duncan finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. Kawhi Leonard added 11.
“We want to get back there,” Duncan said of making the finals. “We’ve had some really close years where we fell right on the verge of getting back. It feels like forever since we’ve been there.”
Memphis coach Lionel Hollins had talked about how his Grizzlies needed to dig deep for something they didn’t know they had to take the first step back into this series. But they couldn’t outshoot the Spurs and got beaten once again at their own inside game.
The Spurs shot 51.3 percent (39 of 76) from the floor and outscored Memphis 52-32 in the paint, even though the Grizzlies had a 41-34 edge on the boards. Memphis led only briefly and the last at 6-4 as the Spurs took control early.
The Grizzlies also got a career-high 22 points from reserve Quincy Pondexter, 18 in the second half. Zach Randolph had 13 and Marc Gasol had 14.