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Grizzlies finish off No. 1 seeded Spurs in 6 games

By Teresa M. Walker

Associated Press

Published: Friday, April 29 2011 9:50 p.m. MDT

Ginobili also had a big shot to help the Spurs stay alive. This game, he had an even more amazing shot, beating the buzzer at the end of the third quarter as he tossed up the ball from half court off balance and trying to beat the clock. He had been 3 of 10 from the floor before that lucky attempt pulled the Spurs to 70-66.

Forward Shane Battier called it a perfect team effort by the Grizzlies against a team in the Spurs that never quit.

"Those guys are like vampires. We're trying to kill them, but they kept getting up. We kept missing the heart," Battier said. "When (Matt) Bonner is hitting bank 3s and Ginobili is hitting a halfcourt shot at halftime, 'You're saying, 'Gosh, go away. Please go away.'"

It just wasn't enough for a team that couldn't beat the Grizzlies in Memphis during the regular season and or the postseason. The Spurs ended this season dropping nine of the last 10 on the road and 16 of the last 19 in the postseason away from San Antonio.

Asked if this was a big upset, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich defended the strength of the Western Conference.

"It doesn't matter what your seeding is in the West. As has been evidenced year after year, we all know that everybody's basically as good as everybody else," Popovich said.

The Grizzlies were criticized for ending the regular season with two losses. Hollins rested Randolph and Allen with critics accusing them of trying to avoid the Lakers and draw the Spurs.

Popovich credited Memphis' athleticism with really hurt a team that had been the NBA's best 3-point shooters. The Spurs shot only 31 percent through the first five games and were just 5-of-22 Friday night.

"They closed out really well, sagged in the paint and were still able to close out on shooters, and it's a credit to them," Popovich said.

Parker opened the game with a pair of free throws, then the Grizzlies took over. Allen scored on a floater in the lane, Randolph tipped in the ball as the start of 10 straight points by the Grizzlies. That prompted Popovich to scream at a referee for a timeout. But Vasquez and Allen scored for a 14-0 spurt before Parker finally answered with a layup.

For Memphis, it was almost as dominant as the third quarter of Game 4 when the Grizzlies outscored the Spurs 30-15. This time, the Spurs didn't score from the floor for the first five minutes as the Grizzlies opened with a 28-16 lead after the first 12 minutes and led by as much as 14. The Spurs had six turnovers in the period.

Duncan, who turned 35 on Monday, looked every bit of those years early as he almost stumbled trying to drive to the basket. He later added an emphatic dunk that pulled the Spurs within 46-43 at halftime.

Conference semifinals

Best-of-7

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Chicago vs. Atlanta

Monday: Atlanta at Chicago, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Atlanta at Chicago, 6 p.m.

Friday: Chicago at Atlanta, 5 p.m.

May 8: Chicago at Atlanta, 6 p.m.

Miami vs. Boston

Sunday: Boston at Miami, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Boston at Miami, 5 p.m.

May 7: Miami at Boston, 6 p.m.

May 9: Miami at Boston, 5 p.m.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

L.A. Lakers vs. Dallas

Monday: Dallas at LAL, 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Dallas at LAL, 8:30 p.m.

Friday: L.A. Lakers at Dallas, 7:30 p.m.

May 8: L.A. Lakers at Dallas, 1:30 p.m.

Oklahoma City vs. Memphis

Sunday: Memphis at OKC, 11 a.m.

Tuesday: Memphis at OKC, 7:30 p.m.

May 7: OKC at Memphis, 3 p.m.

May 9: OKC at Memphis, 7:30 p.m.

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