The fountain of youth appears to be accessible to Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. After an impressive game 5 performance by Ginobili, Tony Parker showed that “he’s still got it” with 27 points on 11-14 from the field. Of course, the Spurs are only going as far as their superstar Kawhi Leonard takes them, and tonight he took them to the Western Conference Semi-Finals to meet the Houston Rockets, with a 103-96 closeout victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Leonard scored a team high 29 points on 8-19 from the field, and 12-13 from the free throw line. The MVP candidate continued to dominate on both ends of the floor, adding 3 steals and 9 rebounds to his impressive offensive stat line. Kawhi has shown throughout the series, that he will take over games in crunch time. His offensive game has expanded to the point where he has the ball in his hands on nearly every crunch time possession.
In addition to Leonard, The Spurs continued to receive clutch play from Patty Mills off the bench. Mills finished with 10 points, 6 of which came behind the 3-point line. Mills performance was much needed, as other bench players like Pau Gasol and Manu Ginobili were unable to get going offensively. For all the criticism that Lamarcus Aldridge has received, he still led all Spurs in minutes and rebounds in game 6. While at times Aldridge looked bullied by Zach Randolph in the post, he continued to battle and hit some timely shots down the stretch.
After the home team won each of the first five games, The Grizzlies valiant effort came up short in game 6. Mike Conley put in 26 points on 7-18 shooting, while all five Grizzlies starters contributed with double figure scoring. The 40-year-old Vince Carter left everything on the court with physical defense and timely shooting. Randolph and Gasol played physical on both ends, and James Ennis did everything possible to try and contain Kawhi Leanord. The bench unit didn’t contribute much scoring, but Troy Daniels ability to stretch the floor gave the Grizzlies an added dimension. It simply wasn’t enough.
The Spurs will now head home to meet the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals. It should be a very intriguing matchup between different styles of basketball. The Rockets, known to barrage opponents from 3, have depth with Eric Gordon and Lou Williams, and toughness with Nene and Patrick Beverly. The Spurs will try to combat that with experience and execution. Throw in two MVP candidates in Leonard and Harden, and this could be an epic 7 game series.
Game one of San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets is Monday night. Tip-ff at 9:30 PM EST on TNT
Baseline Times Staff Writer