The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 116-95 on Sunday in the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs to end the series with a clean 4-0 sweep. While the Spurs rest until their next opponents are determined (the winner of the series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks), Gregg Popovich surpassed Phil Jackson as the NBA coach with the most four-game sweeps in NBA Playoffs history.
With the victory, the Spurs become the only team in the Western Conference to escape the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs without suffering a loss. The Cleveland Cavaliers, scheduled to play Game 4 against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night, are the only team in the Eastern Conference with a chance to sweep their opposition in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs in 2016.
With Sunday’s win over the Grizzlies, the Spurs continue to build their legacy as one of the most dominant NBA teams over the last decade.
Spurs vs. Grizzlies — Game 4
As the Grizzlies tried to avoid elimination from this year’s NBA Playoffs, they managed to keep the game close for the first half. Despite being outscored 25-19 in the first quarter, Memphis came back in the second quarter and trailed by just two points at halftime, 47-45. Unfortunately for Memphis, San Antonio would really turn things up after halftime.
Beginning the second half with a 22-8 run, the Spurs outscored the Grizzlies 37-21 in the third quarter, and Memphis was never able to recover. While the fourth quarter wasn’t as harsh for the Grizzlies, the final score was a painful 21-point loss, 116-95.
Kawhi Leonard — the 2016 NBA Defensive Player of the Year — led the San Antonio Spurs in points (26) and assists (4), while also grabbing seven rebounds and recording two blocked shots. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 10 rebounds, and David West had 11 points off the bench. Everyone from San Antonio played less than 28 minutes on Sunday.
Lance Stephenson of the Grizzlies had a game-high 26 points coming off the bench. Mike Conley (achilles tendinitis), Jarell Martin (sore foot), and Brandan Wright (MCL sprain) were forced to watch from the bench due to injuries.
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San Antonio Spurs — NBA Playoffs history
With the series against the Grizzlies in the books, the San Antonio Spurs broke two NBA Playoffs records. Prior to Sunday’s game, Gregg Popovich and Phil Jackson were tied for the most four-game sweeps in NBA Playoffs history at eight a piece. Popovich now holds the record at nine, all of which came as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs.
Additionally, according to Shane Young of BBallBreakdown.com, the Spurs set an NBA Playoffs record by racking up a combined 88 points more than the Grizzlies over the course of what turned into a four-game series.
The year 2016 marks the 19th consecutive year that the San Antonio Spurs have reached the NBA Playoffs, a longer streak than any other team in the NBA currently. During that time, the Spurs have won five NBA Championships and six Western Conference Titles.
Where to Watch
Having defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, the San Antonio Spurs will face the winners of the the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks series. Dallas is trailing Oklahoma City 3-1 in the series. For Game 5, the Thunder host the Mavs in OKC at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Tickets are still available through the box office to see the game live on Monday, April 25.
Coverage of the game will begin at 8 p.m. EST on TNT, and will be immediately followed by Game 4 between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Portland Trailblazers.
[Photo credit Frederick Breedon/Getty Images]