SAN ANTONIO, March 12 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan
and Steve Smith
made sure the San Antonio Spurs continued their mastery of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Duncan had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Smith added 19 points as the Spurs extended their winning streak over the Grizzlies to 18 games with a 98-84 victory.
Memphis led, 68-66, early in the fourth quarter before San Antonio scored the next 15 points. A layup by Antonio Daniels
capped a 23-3 run and made it 89-71 with just under six minutes to go.
"In the fourth, we got a couple of steals, which gave me an open look to the basket, and the shots went down," Smith said. "We were able to capitalize tonight because of our defense."
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Antonio Daniels was a factor in the run that broke the Grizzlies' backs.
D. Clarke Evans
Although the Grizzlies shot 46 percent (36-of-78), they made just 1-of-12 3-point attempts and only 11 free throws.
The Spurs shot 49 percent (37-of-75), including 4-of-10 from the arc, and converted 20 free throws.
Five San Antonio players reached double figures, including reserves Daniels with 15 points and Malik Rose
with 13. The Spurs' bench outscored the Grizzlies' reserves, 36-15.
"It was a great performance from some of our people," said Duncan, who was on the bench during the burst. "Steve Smith gave us one heck of a boost. Antonio, Malik -- great job, not only on the defensive end but with pushing the ball up the court, which in turn gave us some layups and easy baskets."
"Having Steve make those shots tonight with Duncan on the bench really helped our psyche," Daniels said. "When you're moving the ball around without Tim, we're stressing balance. Running up and down with everyone looking for each other, sharing the ball without Tim, it's more of an emphasis on our team."
scored 18 points, Pau Gasol
had 17 and Lorenzen Wright
15 and 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who have not beaten the Spurs since a 106-101 triumph at the Alamodome on February 12, 1997.
The Spurs are 3-0 against the Grizzlies this season and 23-3 all-time. The 18-game win streak over Memphis is the longest against any opponent in franchise history and the longest active streak in the league.
San Antonio has won seven in a row overall for its longest streak since a 10-game tear from December 4-21.
"A lot of different guys have been playing well," Duncan said. "The main difference being that we have (Bruce) Bowen
and (Danny) Ferry
back. Our subs are set and those guys are coming in and giving us some great performances."
Memphis held a 21-19 edge after one quarter before San Antonio took a 48-43 halftie lead.
The Grizzlies took a 67-66 advantage into the final period.
San Antonio (43-21) is fourth in the Western Conference but trails first-place Sacramento by three games. Midwest Division-leading Dallas is 2 1/2 games ahead of the Spurs.
Memphis (17-47) has the worst record in the West.