Spurs rebound from loss, top Grizzlies
Not since the old days does Tim Duncan remember having the ball run through him so many times.
But forget the old days. He was just relieved to get the San Antonio Spurs back to how they looked last week.
Making good on a guarantee that the West's second-winningest team would start playing like it again, Duncan had 28 points and 12 rebounds and the Spurs shook off their funk to top the surging Memphis Grizzlies 107-97 on Thursday night.
Duncan matched his season-high a night after the Kobe Bryant-less Los Angeles Lakers humiliated the Spurs on their home court. Lakers center Andrew Bynum made Duncan look particularly outplayed while becoming just the second NBA player in the last dozen years to corral 30 rebounds in a game.
''We got back on track. That was the key to the whole thing, getting back on track,'' Duncan said. ''Played awful against the Lakers. Got blown out, came back in there tonight against another good team. A much better effort.''
Manu Ginobili added 20 points and Tony Parker scored 13. The Spurs had won 11 in a row before losing their last two - the Big Three didn't play at all the first one against Utah - and narrowly escaped their first three-game slide this season.
Rudy Gay led Memphis with 19 points. The Grizzlies had their four-game winning streak halted after their rally from a late 14-point deficit fizzled in the final minutes, and fell 1 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 4 playoff seed.
It was only the third loss in 12 games for the Grizzlies since the return of Zach Randolph.
''We got close. We were there,'' Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. ''It was a ball game until the end.''
Duncan, who scored 20 in the second half, guaranteed after the Lakers game that the Spurs would respond from their listless performance. So frustrated was Duncan following Wednesday's night 98-84 loss that he said he was grateful to be playing a back-to-back, which the health-conscious Spurs typically greet with groans.
San Antonio steadily fed Duncan through their signature ''4-Down'' system in the second half, to the point that Duncan said afterward that it felt like the old days.
''He stepped it up to a whole other level,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ''He was phenomenal. He was a monster.''
The Spurs (41-16) are a half-game behind Oklahoma City (42-16) for first place. San Antonio owns the tiebreaker.
After looking helpless against Bynum, the Spurs matched Memphis in rebounding and held Randolph to 10 points and 11 boards. Gay shot just 7 of 22 one night after he had 32 points against Phoenix.
The Grizzlies whittled an 88-74 deficit down to two points with 3 minutes left before losing steam. Memphis staged its comeback despite shooting just 29 percent in the fourth.
O.J. Mayo scored 16 points and Marreese Speights added 15 for the Grizzlies.
''No matter what we do, no matter what success we have, we're still going to have to prove ourselves,'' Gay said. ''You know, I like being in that position. I think everybody on this team likes being in that position.''
Hollins arrived in San Antonio reiterating that he has no intention of returning Randolph to the starting lineup anytime soon.
''I don't know that we're ever going to do that,'' Hollins said. ''Zach can come in and score anytime. He's getting his double-doubles, so what else is there?''
Randolph missed 43 games after injuring his right knee on New Year's Day in Chicago. Since combing back and taking an off-the-bench role for the first time since his second NBA season a decade ago, Randolph is averaging 10.3 points and eight rebounds, well below his All-Star numbers last year.
Yet Hollins said Randolph is nowhere close to being fully back in shape, and he's not complaining with a 9-3 record since his big man returned.
Danny Green added 10 points for the Spurs. Parker had nine assists and shot 5 of 12 after scoring just four points against the Lakers.
Notes: The Spurs swept the Grizzlies 4-0 this season. ... San Antonio's Matt Bonner, who led the NBA in 3-point shooting last season, was 1 of 6 from behind the arc. He has made just 10 of his last 29 attempts.