"We learned that winning isn't easy and winning championships is one of the hardest things you can possibly do," Pondexter said. "I think our guys really dug deep to get as far as we did, and San Antonio's a tremendous team. We're going to take a couple pages out of their book."
Duncan had taken care of the Grizzlies scoring the big points in overtime in each of the last two games. Parker took over this time as he hit 14 of his first 18 shots, and he hit the biggest shot with 9:15 left when he knocked down his lone 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of both Tony Allen and Randolph after Memphis gotten within 76-73 with fans sensing the most life out of the Grizzlies all night long.
Parker and Duncan took turns making buckets before Parker got hit in the eye by Gasol's outstretched hand after missing a shot. When Parker returned with 4:43 left, Gasol went over to him and Parker told him he was fine. Parker then hit a jumper with 4:13 remaining for an 89-81 lead.
"He was outstanding the whole series, and he controlled the series with his penetration," Hollins said of Parker. "He made shots, made plays. One game he has 18 assists, today he has 37 points. He was huge. But their team played well. You've got to give them credit."
The Grizzlies made one last run and got within three one last time when Gasol scored on a runner in the lane with 48.7 seconds left at 89-86. But Parker hit four free throws in the final 29.7 seconds to seal the victory for San Antonio and its first Western Conference title since the Spurs' last NBA title in 2007.
The Spurs made it impossible for Memphis to get off to a quick start as they had more points in the paint (16) than the Grizzlies scored in the first quarter as San Antonio went up 24-14 shooting 52.4 percent (11 of 21).
The Spurs cooled off a bit in the second quarter, missing six of seven shots in a stretch. Memphis got into the bonus early, and the Grizzlies used the free throw line to keep San Antonio from doubling up its lead by hitting 8 of 10 at the line. Even Randolph, who has struggled mightily at the line in this series, breathed a sigh of a relief when his first attempt went down, and he knocked down two straight.
The Grizzlies also got a couple 3s from Bayless, the second after Memphis got its best break of the first half when officials called a 5-second call on the Spurs inbounding the ball. Danny Green missed his would-be buzzer beater, leaving the Spurs up just 44-38.
Gasol's frustration spilled over in the third quarter as he headed to the bench for a timeout when he smacked the press table with both hands. He also went to his knees when officials blew their whistles after he rebounded a miss. But Pondexter, who missed 23 games to a sprained left knee suffered Dec. 29 against Denver, kept the Grizzlies close almost singlehandedly as he scored 12 points in the third.
"We're going to be better because we played against, to me, one of the greatest teams there's been in the past 15 years," Gasol said.
Notes: Parker's previous best this postseason came in Game 3 when he had 32 points against Golden State in the semifinals. ... Teams are now 108-0 when leading a series 3-0. ... The Spurs now are 11-1 in closeout games since their last title in 2007. .. The Grizzlies had owner Robert Pera in the stands for only the second home game this season. ... The Spurs missed their first eight 3-pointers before Green finally hit in the third quarter.
- Wright Words: BYU QB Taysom Hill talks about...
- Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings University of...
- Morning links: Steve Young quotes Joseph...
- Ute recruit Tyler Huntley posting huge...
- Felt's Facts: Breaking down the Utah high...
- Underrated East Carolina will test BYU's defense
- BYU vs. East Carolina: How to attend, watch,...
- BYU football: East Carolina in 6 numbers
- Morning links: 'Big 12' cartoon... 53
- Morning links: Utes in the playoff?;... 46
- Wright Words: BYU QB Taysom Hill talks... 40
- Utah Utes football: The California... 30
- Utes back in the college football... 27
- BYU coaches continue helping players... 22
- Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings... 22
- Underrated East Carolina will test... 19