87 - 111 Final
  for this game

Finley leads Spurs to rout of Grizzlies

Dec 31, 2007 - 5:38 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- Michael Finley had a season-high 22 points as the San Antonio Spurs pulled away in the third quarter for an easy 111-87 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night at the AT&T Center.

The Spurs opened the second half on a 9-0 run en route to outscoring the Grizzlies, 38-18, in the third.

It was the most points San Antonio has scored in the third quarter this season to topple Memphis, which never challenged the rest of the way.

Tony Parker had 24 points, including 12-of-12 from the free-throw line, and seven assists. Tim Duncan had another impressive under-the-radar effort with 24 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists for San Antonio.

Finley hit his first three shots, all 3-pointers, in the first five minutes of the game. But Rudy Gay and Pau Gasol combined to shoot 8-of-9 from the field for 23 points, helping the Grizzlies grab a 32-22 lead after the first quarter.

But the Spurs weren't worried.

"It was just a first quarter. We knew it was still a long game," Parker said. "We knew we weren't playing good defense, so we told ourselves to play better defense, and that's what we did."

The Spurs only allowed 55 points the rest of the game, more in line with their defense-first persona.

"For us, that's always our fuel," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We're a good basketball team when we play defense and back it up with rebounding. We did that tonight after the first quarter."

Memphis has lost five straight games, and Gasol blamed the team's slow second-half starts as the reason.

"The second half was just a different story," Gasol said. "It has been our team's tendency during the last couple of games. We haven't started the second half with the crispness and sharpness needed to win games."

With Manu Ginobili and Brent Barry still recovering from injuries, Matt Bonner was the spark off the bench, finishing with 18 points. He was 3-of-5 from the 3-point line, including two key ones to close out the first half.

After being down by as many as eight in the quarter, the Spurs took the lead, 45-44, after Bonner's 3-pointer with 1:21 left in the first half. He hit another one that gave them a 48-46 lead at intermission.

Bonner said Finley's blazing start may have been a factor in his own hot streak.

"Shooting is definitely contagious," Bonner said. "It creates a lot of positive energy."

Only four players scored in the first half for San Antonio, which got 14 points each from Finley, Parker and Bonner and six from Duncan before halftime.

Gasol scored 19 points and Gay added 16 for Memphis, which trailed by as many as 26 points.

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