The Associated PressMEMPHIS (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs are looking for more consistency on defense. They came up with one of their better efforts of the season against the faltering Memphis Grizzlies.
The Spurs held Memphis to 41 percent shooting, forced 16 turnovers and pulled away in the fourth quarter sending the Grizzlies to their 10th straight loss with a 95-79 triumph Friday night.
“We’re not consistent,” said Spurs reserve guard Manu Ginobili, who had 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
“We’ve had some games where the activity is great like [Friday], where we hustle, went for loose balls. We were very aggressive. Some other games we are passive ... Consistency is what we are after.”
The defensive consistency, coupled with 22 points from LaMarcus Aldridge and 18 more from Rudy Gay, led the Spurs to their fourth straight victory. Patty Mills had 10 points. Memphis’ 79 points were two short of the season-low for a San Antonio opponent.
Memphis, which trailed 68-59 heading into the fourth, let the game slip completely away when San Antonio ripped off a 16-1 rally in the middle stages of the final frame, taking the Spurs lead to 25.
“What bothers me the most is how we laid down at the end of the game, especially on the defensive end,” said Marc Gasol, who led the Grizzlies with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
“I understand when things don’t go well for you offensively. You may go in a weird place mentally, but the defense has no excuse.”
The Grizzlies did come out with more energy at the start of the game than the overall tone of play during the losing streak. The more spirited effort came in the second game under interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who took over after David Fizdale was fired Monday.
George, Adams carry Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — It took a scoring burst by Paul George and a perfect performance by Steven Adams for the Oklahoma City Thunder to finally win a close game.
George had 35 points and nine assists and Adams scored a career-high 27 points on perfect shooting from the field and the free throw line to help the Thunder beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 111-107.
It was Oklahoma City’s first win by fewer than nine points this season, and all but two of the team’s 12 losses this season have been by nine or fewer points.
This time, the Thunder made the tweaks that coach Billy Donovan has been preaching about all season.
“I think we checked all the boxes down the stretch,” George said. “Played great team defense to close the game out. We made our free throws. We just had a winning mentality, and it resulted in a win for us.”