If there were any doubts about Tim Duncan's ability to still lead and take over a game, let the future Hall-of-Famer's 28-point effort in Thursday night's game in San Antonio ease your mind -- or make you nervous, depending on who you favor. Duncan scored 20 in the second half and led his Spurs over a balanced Memphis Grizzlies attack that featured six players scoring in double-digits, 107-97.
After losing to the Jazz when Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili sat out and then coming home and getting pantsed by the L.A. Lakers, 98-84, in a game that saw the Spurs pull down a single offensive rebound, San Antonio came out with more purpose (and more rebounding -- 10 offensive rebounds, to be exact) against Memphis.
The game featured a pretty even effort throughout for the home Spurs, and a pair of significant scoring runs for Memphis, the first of which gave them a four point halftime lead.
Leading the way for the Grizzlies was Rudy Gay with 19 points, joined in double-digits by O.J. Mayo (16), Marreese Speights (15), Marc Gasol (14), Mike Conley (11) and Zach Randolph (10). During their second quarter run, Memphis used a formula that was successful in last year playoffs upset of the Spurs.
The Grizzlies used their post offense to score, as Randolph scored twice and Gay once, with a foul, during a 13-0 run that held the Spurs scoreless for five minutes and gave the Grizzlies an eight-point lead, one short of their biggest lead of the night.
Duncan's night was assisted by Manu Ginobili's 20 points, which included a five-for-five showing at the free throw line in the third quarter. But the reason why the Spurs outscored the Grizzlies by 12 in the third and scorched the nets for a 75-percent shooting quarter was all about Duncan.
Duncan scored 14 points in the quarter, hitting on five of six shots from the field, making a variety of layups, including rebounding his only miss of the six-shot run and laying it gently into the basket. The Spurs finished on a 13-4 run that established an eight point lead heading into the final quarter.
Memphis' second big run came midway through the fourth quarter, as the Spurs had built out their lead to 14 points.
Gasol hit a jump shot, Speights scored on free throws and a nifty spin/bank shot, Conley hit some free throws of his own and Mayo hit transition three to cap an 11-0 run over five minutes, cutting the lead to two points.
But then it was Duncan again, hitting a key three-point play inside of two minutes to go in the game and then adding a tip-in of a Parker runner to give the Spurs a six-point lead with a minute left in the game, wrapping up his season-high, 28 point, 12 rebound, 10-15 shooting night.
Though it's not even close to being the same as losing a playoff series, with the win Thursday night the Spurs swept the season series against Memphis.
For all of Thursday's NBA box scores, check out SI.com's NBA scoreboard.