In what has been a physical battle between the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies, the series is finally over with the Spurs winning, 103-96, Thursday evening at the FedEx Forum to advance to the second round.

It was a back-and-forth battle all game long with neither team creating separation, as the biggest lead by any of the two was 10. Tony Parker got the Spurs off to a quick start, while Vince Carter and Andrew Harrison carried their team in the first quarter.

Evenly played second quarter

The second quarter was very even, as both teams kept answering each other on the offensive end. It wasn’t until the final minute where the Grizzlies were able to create a small gap to take a five-point lead into the half.

The Grizzlies came out of the locker room with some energy and determination, taking an early 10-point lead, but the Spurs crawled back into it behind LaMarcus Aldridge’s tenacious play midway through the quarter. San Antonio overcame the early deficit to take a one-point lead at the end of the third.

An intense final quarter

With the intensity and physicality rising in the second half, the two teams got into a dog fight in the final period. The action kept swinging back-and-forth with multiple lead changes and ties. However, the Spurs fell behind midway through the period, but Kawhi Leonard instantly brought them back into the game.

Down the stretch, Leonard became a facilitator, setting up David Lee for an easy layup after a nice dish, and then finding Tony Parker at the wing for a long jumper.

Parker essentially iced the game with a clutch 13-foot bucket with 50 seconds left and followed it with a late-game layup to clinch the victory.

Mike Conley had a chance to make it a one-possession game with 28.7 seconds remaining, but he missed a crucial free throw, which sealed the deal. The Spurs escaped with a seven-point victory to eliminate this tough Memphis team.

Leonard and Parker’s amazing night

Leonard concluded with a game-high 29 points to go along with nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals on 12-of-13 shooting from the free-throw line. Parker tacked on a season-high 27 points and four assists on an efficient 11-of-14 shooting from the field to help the Spurs close the series.

For the Grizzlies, Conley led the way with 26 points and five assists, while Marc Gasol added 18 points, six assists, and five rebounds. The two played 45 minutes each, playing the entire fourth quarter. The Grizzlies fought all the way to the final buzzer, pushing the Spurs to the limit with their Grit-and-Grind style.

The road ahead for San Antonio

The Spurs advance to the second round to tangle with their Texas rivals, the Houston Rockets. In a matchup that will feature one of the best defenses against one of the best offenses, it should be incredibly entertaining to watch, not to mention the battle between two other MVP candidates, Kawi Leonard and James Harden.

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