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Energized Marc Gasol helps Grizzlies end slump, defeat Spurs

/ 05:02 PM January 10, 2019
Marc Gasol

Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) controls the ball next to San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Grizzlies center Marc Gasol snapped out of a recent slump with a more energized performance to help Memphis end a six-game slide.

Gasol had 26 points and 14 rebounds, and Memphis led from the second quarter on in a 96-86 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

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Gasol had played poorly in recent games but converted 9 of 16 shots, including 3 of 5 from outside the arc, to help the Grizzlies lead by 16 during the fourth quarter. With four minutes left, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich had all reserves in the game.

“(He) came out aggressive, came out assertive and you could see the energy in his face and his actions. That’s the guy we need, and he knows it,” Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley said of Gasol.

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In the previous two games, Gasol was held to single-digit scoring and missed all six of his 3-point attempts. Against the Spurs, the Grizzlies center was much more animated and engaged.

“I was trying to be a little more aggressive, obviously, and stay aggressive,” Gasol said. “It wasn’t just where I had one quarter that I was aggressive, I’ve got to build on it and create those habits for the team.”

Conley added 15 points and six assists for Memphis, and Jaren Jackson Jr. and JaMychal Green scored 12 points each.

Marco Belinelli and Bryn Forbes scored 14 points apiece for the Spurs, who ended a five-game winning streak. LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills had 13 points each for San Antonio.

“I thought both teams were pretty sloppy in the first half,” Popovich said. “Neither team played that well in the first half, but I thought they picked it up in the second half.”

San Antonio shot 36 percent and committed 15 turnovers. Aldridge was 4-of-12 shooting, Forbes went 5 of 14, and leading-scorer DeMar DeRozan made just 4 of 15 with nine points. The Spurs 86 points were a season low.

Memphis held a 42-31 lead at the half, maintained the lead after three periods and stretched the advantage to 16 when Gasol converted a 3-pointer with 3:16 left.

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“That sense of urgency is the way we have to play every single night,” Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.

TIP-INS

Spurs: F Rudy Gay missed his second straight game with a sprained left wrist. … DeRozan’s nine points marked only the second game this season where he was held under 10. … Davis Bertans was ejected in the third quarter when he collected his second technical of the game. … San Antonio’s 31 first-half points matched a season low in a half.

Grizzlies: The game marked the first home appearance for G Justin Holiday, obtained in a trade with the Chicago Bulls last Friday. He finished with six points. … Memphis, among the league leaders in blocks at six per game, had a half dozen at halftime and finished with eight, including three by Kyle Anderson. … Gasol recorded his 16th double-double.

WHAT GOES UP…

All was not perfect for Gasol. With about eight minutes left in the third, Gasol headed down the lane and cocked his arm for a big dunk, but it clanked it off the rim.

“Gravity is a hell of a thing,” Gasol said with a laugh

“I gave him five of 10,” Conley said. “He got halfway there.”

UP NEXT

Spurs: Entertain the Thunder on Thursday, the first of two straight games against Oklahoma City.

Grizzlies: Play Saturday in Miami against the Heat.

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