Spurs hold off Warriors, face Grizzlies in Western Conference finals

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OAKLAND, California – The San Antonio Spurs booked a return trip to the NBA Western Conference finals on Thursday, holding off the Golden State Warriors 94-82 to win their second-round playoff series.

San Antonio’s Tony Parker endured a difficult night of 3-of-13 shooting, but two of those baskets were crucial three-pointers in the final four minutes to help the Spurs fend off the determined young Warriors team.

The Spurs won the best-of-seven series four games to two and will face the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference finals for a place in the league’s championship series.

San Antonio will host the Grizzlies in game one on Sunday. The teams split the regular-season series, each winning twice on their home floor. Two years ago, the Grizzlies shocked the Spurs in the first round, but the Spurs returned to the Western Conference finals last season.

Tim Duncan scored 19 points to lead the Spurs. Parker and Manu Ginobili both struggled with their shooting but combined for 19 assists.

Ginobili scored five points on 1-of-6 shooting — his only basket of the night a driving layup to stretch the Spurs lead back to five points after Golden State’s Klay Thompson had drained a three-pointer to trim the deficit to three points with 10 minutes remaining.

Kawhi Leonard scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who got 14 points from Tiago Splitter and 11 from Danny Green.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 22 points on 10-of-25 shooting but only scored six points in the second half.

Jarrett Jack added 15 points for the Warriors, who were without forward Harrison Barnes in the fourth quarter after his frightening fall near the end of the first half.

Barnes came down hard on his right side, his head hitting the court. He needed six stitches in a cut over his right eye, returned to the game in the third quarter but then departed complaining of a headache. AFP

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