TONY Parker came up with a vintage performance as the San Antonio Spurs rallied late and held on to eliminate the Memphis Grizzlies after a 103-96 win in Game 6 of their NBA Playoffs first-round series at the FedEx Forum on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).
Parker had his best game of the series won by the Spurs, 4-2, and he capped his stellar showing with some big baskets in the dying minutes as he finished with 27 points. Kawhi Leonard also played huge down the stretch with 10 of his game-high 29 markers plus some key assists and defensive stops in the fourth quarter that helped the Spurs come back from a double-digit deficit in the third period.
The Grizzlies carried the momentum of a strong second quarter finish early in the third period to take a 10-point lead. But the Spurs, led by LaMarcus Aldridge, went on a 15-3 blitz to regain control, 73-69, before the Grizzlies cut the gap to one into the fourth.
Mike Conley scored nine in a 14-6 blitz to get Memphis up by seven midway through the fourth period. But Leonard countered with his own 6-0 run to cut the gap to one, 88-87, with 4:56.
The Spurs regained control with a Patty Mills triple, but Marc Gasol was quick to tie it up at 92 with a pair of free throws at the 2:48 mark. Leonard though did his damage down the stretch with a nifty assist to a David Lee dunk, a steal on the next play, then another dime on a Parker jumper for a 96-92 edge entering the last two minutes.
After Vince Carter sank a pair of free throws, Parker again came up huge off a broken play with another crucial jumper with 50 seconds to go that put San Antonio up by 4, 94-90. Leonard extended the lead to six with two charities, but Conley had no quit in baiting Aldridge on a three-point attempt.
But after making the first two free throws, Conley missed the third and the Spurs found Parker on the break for a dagger of a layup that put San Antonio ahead, 102-96, with 23.2 left.
Aldridge came up with a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds in the series-clinching win.
Conley finished with 26 points and Gasol added 18 markers for Memphis. Zach Randolph ended up with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds.
San Antonio arranged a Texas showdown in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs with a battle against the Houston Rockets.