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Grizzlies grab 1st ever 3-1 series lead over Spurs

By Teresa M. Walker

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, April 26 2011 1:55 a.m. MDT

San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker, of France, watches during the closing minutes of Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies in a first-round NBA basketball series on Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series.

Lance Murphey, Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Grizzlies are one win away from more franchise history, and Shane Battier is expecting quite a fight from the San Antonio Spurs.

The Grizzlies routed the Spurs 104-86 on Monday night and need just one victory to become the second No. 8 seed to knock off the top seed in a best-of-seven series in the NBA playoffs.

Game 5 is Wednesday night in San Antonio, and Battier is trying to prepare his younger teammates for what lies ahead.

"It's a very difficult situation," he said. "These guys know this could be it. They are going to fight as hard as they have ever fought before as a group. We have to be able to match that intensity and surpass it."

The Spurs won 61 games in the regular season and only lost the NBA's best record by dropping the final two games. But the four-time NBA champs are on the verge losing their opening playoff series 4-1 for the second time in three years.

Battier thinks that makes Wednesday night very dangerous.

"I'd feel better if it was against someone other than the Spurs," he said. "They are very capable of winning three straight in a playoff series. All we've done is held home court."

Memphis made franchise history by winning the series opener for its first playoff victory, then added its first playoff win at home. A win Wednesday night would put the Grizzlies alongside the 2007 Golden State Warriors as the only No. 8 seeds to eliminate the top team since the NBA expanded to a best-of-seven series.

"I know a lot of people didn't expect us to be here," Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said. "It's not like we were expected to be up 3-1 at this point. In our locker room, we're just playing it game by game. We want to come into San Antonio looking to end it there. We're focused and want to be able to move onto the next round."

The Spurs now are placing their hopes in making a stand Wednesday night on their home court. Coach Gregg Popovich pulled his starters with 5:43 left to start resting them for that game.

"They'll need their juice for the next game," Popovich said.

Conley had 15 points and seven assists. Darrell Arthur added 14 points for Memphis. Tony Allen scored 12, and Zach Randolph and O.J. Mayo each had 11 points.

Tony Parker scored 19 of his 23 points in the first half for the Spurs, but also had seven turnovers. Manu Ginobili had 14 points, Gary Neal finished with 11, and George Hill and Tiago Splitter had 10 apiece. Splitter, a rookie from Brazil, had not played in the series previously.

Tim Duncan had six points for the Spurs on his 35th birthday.

"Obviously, the whole team is very frustrated," Parker said. "I mean we go through a whole season and get that first seed, and now we're just one game away to be eliminated so it's most important for us to focus on Game 5. That's the most important thing to get Game 5 and try to get another chance to get a win here."

San Antonio led 50-48 for its first halftime lead of the series, and Memphis coach Lionel Hollins ripped his team at the break.

The Grizzlies responded with a 14-0 run to begin the third quarter. Marc Gasol's two free throws at 11:04 put Memphis ahead to stay at 52-50, and Sam Young capped the surge with a dunk. The Spurs missed their first five shots, had seven turnovers in the quarter and put Memphis on the line early with foul trouble.

"Everybody started to smell blood," Conley said. "I think we started to realize a couple more punches, and we got them. A couple more stops, a couple more layups, a couple more steals."

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