(The Sports Xchange) - The San Antonio Spurs had stars and depth as they swept the injury-riddled Memphis Grizzlies in their first-round Western Conference series.
Veteran forward Matt Barnes said that his undermanned Grizzlies were “bringing spoons to a gunfight.”
The end of the fight came on Sunday in Memphis as the Spurs took a two-point halftime lead in Game Four and ran it out to a 116-95 victory and a 4-0 sweep.
Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points to lead the Spurs and LaMarcus Aldridge posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Point guard Tony Parker chipped in 16 points.
“This is one of the best teams and one of the best coaches, so they’re like a machine,” said Memphis forward Zach Randolph. “You really can’t turn the ball over or make mistakes.”
The Grizzlies did both as the Spurs scored 18 points off 17 turnovers. The Spurs led by as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter. But Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had nothing but praise for the Grizzlies.
“They played with a lot of heart and a lot of fortitude,” he said. “That will serve them well as they move forward next season. For our part, that physicality will help us in the next round.”
San Antonio, seeded second in the Western Conference, went 8-0 against Memphis this season overall and Sunday’s victory marked the Spurs’ 10th sweep of a postseason series in franchise history.
Beset by injuries, including those to center Marc Gasol and point guard Mike Conley, the Grizzlies used an NBA-record 28 players. When including the end of the regular season, they lost 14 of their last 15 games.
Barnes (15 points) and fellow vet Vince Carter (14 points) insisted on being on the court when the game ended as the fans that remained waved gold “growl towels” and gave the overwhelmed Grizzlies one last sendoff.
“The first thing Pop (Popovich) said to me when I congratulated him was that it wasn’t a fair fight,” Barnes said. “The thing I kept relaying to my team is we’ve got to go down swinging and I think we did that.”
Blown out by the Spurs in the first two games in San Antonio, the Grizzlies carried a one-point lead into the fourth quarter of Game Three and lost by nine points.
”We understood coming in it was going to be tough,“ said Memphis swingman Tony Allen. ”Take your hat off to the (Spurs). They were who we thought they were.
“They came in and handled their business.”
Editing by Andrew Both