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Ginobili, Spurs hold off pesky Grizzlies

Nov 1, 2007 - 3:59 AM By Jason Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Tony Parker and Tim Duncan carried the San Antonio Spurs early, and Manu Ginobili buried the Memphis Grizzlies late.

Ginobili scored his team's final nine en route to 30 points off the bench as the Spurs held on for a 104-101 victory over the Grizzlies at FedEx Forum in the second game of a season-opening back-to-back for the defending champions on Wednesday.

Duncan and Parker added 17 points apiece for San Antonio, which was coming off a 106-97 season-opening victory at home over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday.

The duo scored 14 of their team's first 16 points to set the tone early, helping drop the Grizzlies to 0-7 in season openers since the club moved from Vancouver.

"It's always tough in a back-to-back, especially after the ring ceremony, so it's a great win for us," Parker said. "It's always hard to focus and get that energy, especially in Memphis with their first game and Opening Night. We knew they were going to come out and play with a lot of energy."

But Ginobili provided the final margin with three seconds left on a pair of free throws.

"The difference in the game is that Manu Ginobili willed it. He just willed it," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He saved the day for us."

Ginobili admitted that he's feeling energized this season.

"I feel great," said Ginobili, who finished 13-of-14 from the free-throw line and 5-of-9 from 3-point range. "This is the best I've been conditioning-wise in a while. Of course, it's not the same the second night of a back-to-back, but I thought we did good."

Led by forward Pau Gasol's 22 points, Memphis had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but second-year forward Rudy Gay's desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer failed to find the rim.

Gay added 16 points and point guard Damon Stoudamire scored 18 for the Grizzlies.

Matt Bonner netted 11 points for San Antonio, which - after trailing by three points to start the fourth - outscored the Grizzlies, 11-2, over the first 3:57 of the quarter to regain the lead.

"We played well in spurts," said Memphis guard Mike Miller, who added 10 points and team-highs of eight rebounds and five assists. "They executed a little better down the stretch than we did. We just have to try to get better."

Memphis led by six points at the 1:11 mark of the third quarter after Gay drained a jumper from the left corner to cap a 13-4 scoring run.

Duncan, who added nine rebounds, didn't score a fourth-quarter point until his bank shot with 1:42 left to play tied the score at 95-95. Ginobili followed with a layup over Gasol on the Spurs' next possession to make it 97-95.

Ginobili then connected on 7-of-8 free-throw attempts over the final 19.7 seconds to hold off Memphis.

"If you stop one guy, there are still three more guys that can put up numbers," Gasol said. "We are a team still trying to figure things out."

San Antonio led by as many as seven points in the first half, but Memphis responded midway through the second quarter with a 10-0 scoring run sparked by Gay.

Gay scored six of his 16 points during the spurt, which helped give Memphis a 48-43 advantage with less than three minutes left in the half.

But Parker and Ginobili combined to nail three straight 3-pointers on consecutive trips down the floor, giving San Antonio the lead again at 52-48. The Spurs finished 7-of-11 from 3-point range in the first half and 12-of-23 overall.

"I thought we had several chances to win the game, but we just couldn't keep the momentum going," first-year Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "I was proud of the effort we gave tonight. I was very pleased with the way we played; just not satisfied with the outcome."

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