Gasol, Mills lead balanced Spurs attack over Grizzlies
By CLAY BAILEY
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) LaMarcus Aldridge took a night off to rest, and the San Antonio Spurs replaced his 22.5-point average with a balanced attack.
"We shared the ball, it was great ball movement, 29 assists, a lot of guys in double figures," said Gasol, who finished with 14 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists. "When (Aldridge is) not in the lineup, we just try to maybe create more ball movement, more motion, more flow and then the offense balances itself out."
Bryn Forbes and Danny Green also finished with 14 points each. Davis Bertans and Dejounte Murray each had 11 points. Memphis led only once in the game, after scoring the opening basket, and the Spurs led by 17 early in the fourth.
Memphis cut the advantage to single-digits only once the rest of the way, with about eight minutes left. The Spurs answered with the next six points, including four from Tony Parker to take the lead to 91-76 with about six minutes to go.
Memphis was playing short-handed with several players dealing with injuries and illness, meaning more playing time for the Grizzlies younger players. They got a firsthand look at the Spurs character.
"It's a clinic on how to play the game the right way," Memphis interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "When you watch them play, it's amazing that it is so unique to our league. ... The ball moves, they move. Doesn't matter who shoots it, they just throw the ball to the open man.
"It sounds so simple, but it's the way the game is supposed to be played."
Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Deyonta Davis added 12 points. Dillon Brooks finished with 10 points as the Grizzlies were hampered by 43 percent shooting, including 2 of 18 from outside the arc, and 18 turnovers.
"We weren't following the game plan," Brooks said. "... We didn't compete hard enough on both ends. Very lackadaisical out there. Need to change that around."
Spurs: Joffrey Lauvergne made his first four shots and finished with 10 points. His eight rebounds were a season high. ... Rudy Gay, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard also sat out for San Antonio, each dealing with long-term injuries. ... Bertans started his second game of the season. ... Pau Gasol is 17-10 in games against his younger brother Marc. ... Spurs are 28-1 when outshooting their opponents. ... Have won five straight against the Grizzlies.
Grizzlies: Ivan Rabb, a rookie out of California, made his first career start. His six rebounds were a career high. ... Saw their streak of five straight games with at least 10 3-pointers snapped. The two 3-ponters was a season low. ... Missed all 11 of their 3-pointers in the second half.
CHANGING OF THE GUARDS
Murray, who had a career-high seven assists, started his third straight game after replacing veteran Tony Parker in the lineup. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich spoke highly of the way Parker handled the change.
"He was great," Popovich said of Parker. "He thought it was good for the team, and giving Dejounte a chance to see what he could do. He was mature, and really made it easy on me to make a decision like that. He was fantastic."
Before the game, it was announced that Brooks, the Grizzlies rookie forward, was named to the Rising Stars World Team for All-Star weekend. Brooks is a native of Canada.
"It feels amazing," he said, later adding: "It feels good to be recognized with all the best rookies."
Spurs: Host the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
Grizzlies: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.
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Updated January 24, 2018