Parker, Spurs take opener of NBA Western Conference finals
SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs opened the Western Conference finals resembling the champions who’ve been there so many times before. The Memphis Grizzlies looked like the first-timers still trying to adapt to the conference finals.
Tony Parker scored 20 points and handed out nine assists to lead a balanced attack that carried the Spurs past the Grizzlies 105-83 in Game 1 on Sunday. Game 2 is scheduled for Tuesday in San Antonio.
The Spurs opened a 17-point lead in the first quarter, then came up with a response when the Grizzlies rallied to get within six in the second half. Both teams pulled their starters with more than five minutes left and the Spurs leading by 21.
‘‘I can promise you this:
Nobody’s happy in our locker room because we were up 2-0 [in the conference finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder] last year, and we lost,’’ Parker said. ‘‘It’s just one game. It means nothing. We still have a long way to go.’’
Kawhi Leonard added 18 points, Danny Green 16, Matt Bonner 12 and Gary Neal 11 for the Spurs, who shot 52.6 percent from the field. Quincy Pondexter scored 17 points, Marc Gasol 15 and Mike Conley 14 for the Grizzlies, but Zach Randolph was held to two points on 1-for-8 shooting.
‘‘Obviously . . . he’s a beast
inside,’’ Parker said of Randolph. ‘‘We know he’s not going to play like that every game. It’s just sometimes it happens.’’
‘‘We just didn’t play well; it’s not anything specific,’’ Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. ‘‘It’s just that we were running too fast, we missed some layups, we were taking bad shots and our defense was really awful. And the Spurs played well.’’