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(Monday, May 27th)
Final Score: San Antonio 93, Memphis 86
Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - The San Antonio Spurs have waited six years for another chance to compete for the NBA title.
After capping a grinding Western Conference run with their second sweep of the postseason, they're going to get that opportunity.
Tony Parker was the driving force behind a series clinching 93-86 victory, as San Antonio punched its ticket to the NBA Finals by ousting the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference title set in four games.
Parker was sensational, pouring in a game-high 37 points while also handing out six assists to get San Antonio back in the championship series for the fifth time in 15 years.
Tim Duncan checked in with 15 points, eight boards and four blocks and Manu Ginobili registered six points, six boards and six assists to position the Spurs four wins away from the franchise's fifth championship.
"I promised to him (Duncan) that we would go back to the finals," said Parker. "That we'd get an opportunity to win the whole thing. I tried to do my best, be aggressive every night. I think everybody on the team really wanted to do it for him."
The veteran nucleus of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have been the mainstays of San Antonio's dominance over the last decade, which has seen the club reach at least the conference finals eight times.
Duncan and coach Gregg Popovich have been a part of all five of the championship runs and will seek a fifth ring together, while Parker and Ginobili will chase their fourth rings.
Memphis, the first team to be swept in a conference final in 10 years, played from behind nearly the entire game in shooting 37 percent for the contest.
Quincy Pondexter kept the Grizzlies within striking distance by posting 18 of his 22 points in the second half, while Marc Gasol tallied 14 points, five boards and three blocks.
Zach Randolph was just 4-for-13 from the field in posting another disappointing effort. He scored 13 as Memphis was swept in a postseason set for the first time since 2006.
The Grizzlies didn't make it easy for San Antonio, however, continuing to show resiliency despite never leading after the opening minutes. They cut the margin to three points four times over the last 13 minutes of play, but one thing kept them from pulling any closer.
They had no answer for Parker.
Tony Allen got a putback to bring Memphis within 76-73 in the fourth, but Parker nailed a triple at the other end, then found Duncan for a dunk on the next possession.
Allen got Memphis within six by fighting for an offensive board, yet Parker responded with a step-back jumper to keep the teams eight points apart.
Then, after Gasol's jumper with under a minute left got the Grizzlies within three to give them one last hope, Parker knifed through the lane with a series of crossovers to draw a foul.
He calmly sank both free throws with 29.7 seconds left, and the end result was never in doubt from there.
"He was outstanding the whole series," said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins. "He controlled the whole series with his penetration, his made shots, he made plays. One game he has 18 assists, today he has 37 points."
Tayshaun Prince scored the first two baskets of the game, but the Grizzlies then misfired on 13 of their last 17 shots in the quarter. The Spurs surged ahead with a quick 8-0 run, Parker followed with six straight points and they took a 24-14 edge into the second.
Memphis pulled within six, 44-38, at the break thanks to a pair of late 3- pointers from Jerryd Bayless, but things began to look bleak again in the third.
Parker connected on a 16-footer, a tough fadeaway and a driving score in succession for San Antonio to re-open a double-digit edge at 65-54 with 4 1/2 minutes left in the period. Pondexter, though, helped keep them alive.
He hit two three's and scored nine of his 12 third quarter points during a 12-4 run for Memphis. Randolph, fouled away from the ball on Pondexter's second triple, hit the bonus free throw and added a runner in the lane to get the Grizzlies within 69-66.
However, he missed a layup and two free throws in the closing minute which could have brought Memphis closer. A triple from Kawhi Leonard late in the session gave San Antonio a six-point edge heading into the fourth.
San Antonio will make its first NBA Finals appearance since 2007, when the team defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers. It will await the winner of the Eastern Conference final set between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers ... Leonard totaled 11 points, six rebounds and five steals ... The Spurs shot 51 percent from the field ... Memphis had 16 offensive rebounds, but only totaled 16 second chance points.
05/28 01:15:32 ET
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