Aldridge, Leonard lead Spurs to 97-90 win over Grizzlies
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 points, Kawhi Leonard added 19 and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Memphis Grizzlies 97-90 on Thursday night in a possible first-round playoff preview.
San Antonio opened a four-game homestand by moving two games behind idle Golden State for the league's best record. The Spurs (55-16) close the homestand against the Warriors (57-14) next Wednesday.
Memphis (40-32) is seventh in the Western Conference, which would result in a first-round matchup with San Antonio if the standings remain.
Mike Conley had 22 points and six assists for Memphis, which lost its third straight to fall 1 ½ games behind Oklahoma City for sixth place.
Marc Gasol, who had 13 points, was the only other Grizzlies player in double figures.
San Antonio lost the first two meetings between the teams, both in Memphis, by a combined 23 points but won at home behind its starting forwards.
Aldridge reached 15,000 career points with his final basket, a 13-foot jumper that gave San Antonio a 90-81 lead with 2:10 remaining.
The 11-year veteran had nine points in the first quarter on 4-for-8 shooting, including a 3-pointer. Aldridge scored six straight points late in the opening period, including a 21-foot jumper off an inbounds steal after he hit a 13-footer.
Leonard finished 7 for 15 from the field while battling the aggressive hands-on defense of Tony Allen and James Ennis III.
Leonard would respond with his own defense to preserve the win. The 6-foot-7 forward sprinted in front of Allen to tip away a pass and leapt out of bounds to save the ball to Aldridge. The play led to a three-point play by Patty Mills after he was fouled on a 3-on-1 layup for an 88-80 lead with 4 minutes remaining.
Mills was 3 for 6 on 3s, finishing with 15 points.
San Antonio finished 8 for 26 on 3-pointers.
Grizzlies: Allen had eight points and four rebounds in 29 minutes after being listed as questionable due to an injured left knee. . Memphis has lost two straight following a four-game winning streak. . The Grizzlies have lost four straight in San Antonio, last winning at the AT&T Center on Dec. 17, 2014, in triple overtime. ... Memphis is 19-18 on the road after finishing 16-25 away from home last season. . The Grizzlies made 10 3-pointers, extending their franchise record for 3s in a season to 669. Memphis is making 9.3 3-pointers this season after averaging 4.3 in the previous six seasons combined.
Spurs: San Antonio is 13-2 with Dewayne Dedmon in the starting lineup alongside Leonard, Aldridge, Danny Green and Tony Parker. . Rookie PG Dejounte Murray missed his seventh straight game with a left groin injury. .. David Lee had six rebounds, giving him 7,266 for his career to surpass former Indiana standout Jermaine O'Neal (7,261) for 91st in league history. . Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was issued a technical foul with 16.9 seconds left in the first half after berating Sean Wright near the baseline for failing to call a foul when Leonard lost the ball after being knocked down.
Grizzlies: At Golden State on Sunday night.
Spurs: Host New York on Saturday night.