In their first game since Parker sprained his ankle Wednesday, the Spurs got 18 points from backup George Hill and plenty of help from Manu Ginobili and Roger Mason Jr. in a 104-97 victory over the Grizzlies on Friday night.
"Tony's aggressive, so you have to make up that aggressiveness," said Hill, who set the tone in the first half with a pair of crowd-pleasing fast-break layups in traffic. "The main point was trying to be aggressive and get people involved."
Mason and Ginobili led the way as San Antonio rolled up a 42-21 edge in points off the bench. Mason scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, and Ginobili finished with 14 points and seven assists.
"This team is built for its depth," Mason said. "For me, running the point definitely helps my game. I was mad at myself; I had a few turnovers [three, with one assist]. But the biggest thing is, you just touch the ball [at point guard]. You get in a rhythm and you get other guys involved, and then when you get opportunities it's a little sweeter."
Ginobili praised Hill, who was making his ninth start but just his fifth without Parker also in the lineup. Parker also missed time in November with an ankle sprain.
"Early in the game he was impressive attacking in transition and on fast breaks, going sometimes one-against-three, which is something Tony does quite often," Ginobili said. "Of course, he needs a little more time to adjust and be 'the man.' But he did a very good job ... it was good to see him like that. We needed him."
The Grizzlies came in having won three straight and six of seven, including a 92-86 victory over the Spurs 13 days ago in Memphis, to move a game behind San Antonio for second place in the Southwest Division.
"We seemed to be playing from behind the whole game," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. "They're a smart, experienced team, and they kept playing with the lead they had. We'd run it down, they'd run it back up. Roger Mason hit some big shots coming down the stretch, a couple of big 3s.
"We thought we could get back. We just couldn't get the stops that we needed," he said.
Mayo nailed a 3-pointer and Mike Conley hit two free throws after a Spurs turnover to trim San Antonio's lead to 100-95 with 33.8 seconds left, but Memphis got no closer.
"Under six minutes, we felt like we really couldn't get a stop," Mayo said. "They were making shots. Roger Mason did a good job of spreading the floor. George and Ginobili did a great job of attacking and making plays for others."
Seven Spurs scored in the first period as San Antonio moved to a 28-21 lead. The margin grew to 11 early in the second quarter, but Memphis chipped away. Consecutive fast-break layups by Mayo in the final minute closed the gap to a point before a short jumper by Tim Duncan with 3.9 seconds left put the Spurs up 53-50 at the break.
Duncan, who led the Spurs with 19 points, and Ginobili combined for 15 points in the third period, fueling a surge that rebuilt the Spurs' lead to 11 on four occasions before they settled for a 77-70 edge entering the fourth quarter.
"I felt pretty good active, a lot of energy so I tried to attack a bit more knowing that TP was not there, and he's our main guy attacking the rim," Ginobili said.
The next game for each team could be affected by the winter storm gripping the central United States. The Grizzlies are scheduled to host the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday, but the Memphis airport was closed to most air traffic Friday. A team spokesman said after Friday's game that the Grizzlies still planned to fly home that night. If weather conditions worsened, he said, alternative plans had them flying to Nashville or Little Rock, Ark., and busing home; remaining overnight in San Antonio was also a possibility. The Spurs' next opponents, the Denver Nuggets, played Friday in icy Oklahoma City with a noon Sunday tipoff scheduled at the AT&T Center. ... The Spurs listed Michael Finley on their roster for the first time since Dec. 5, when he sprained his left ankle against Denver. Finley did not play.
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