Tony Parker has had himself quite a series, but Game 4 was the big, fat Maraschino cherry on top.
Parker led the San Antonio Spurs to a 93-86 victory Monday night, completing their dismantling sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals.
The last three games were tight ones, but in the end it was the Spurs on top in each one. They are off to another NBA Finals series and will have ample time to rest up before it begins. Back in the Eastern Conference, there are at least two more games to be played.
Parker was simply the best player in the game and throughout the series. Game 4 was a show for him, going 15-of-21 from the field for a season-high 37 points and six assists.
He got into the lane, hit jumpers and always had a response for Memphis' attack. Not even a full slate of Tony Allen could slow him. Parker scored 23 of his 37 in the second half, including 11 in the final quarter.
Tim Duncan helped with 15 points, eight rebounds and four blocks, but really the night was Parker's alone on the offensive end.
Quincy Pondexter was the high-man for Memphis, netting 22 points off the bench.
Parker had himself a relatively easy 6-of-9 first half, going for 12 points and three assists. That propelled the Spurs to a 44-38 lead heading into the intermission. Jerryd Bayless entered the second quarter late and had two threes to keep Memphis within striking distance.
Jerryd Bayless breathes life into the place with a 3-ptr to cut Spurs lead to 44-38 at the half. #SPURSvGRIZZLIES— Jeff Caplan (@Caplan_NBA) May 28, 2013
Parker continued to be relentless through the third quarter. He was able to penetrate into the paint at will and use his diverse repertoire of shots from there. Six straight points from the star guard pushed the Spurs ahead 65-54 with 4:31 left in the quarter.
Parker's dribble was unbreakable there. Like a steel yo-yo.— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) May 28, 2013
Pondexter scored nine points, including two threes, during a two-minute stretch late in the third to bring the score to 69-64 with 1:42 to go.
Series MVP (for Grizzlies): Quincy Pondexter— Chris Herrington (@FlyerGrizBlog) May 28, 2013
A Kawhi Leonard trey pushed the Spurs' lead back to 72-66, which is where it would stand entering the fourth quarter. Leonard finished with 11 points and six rebounds and continued to give the Spurs a jolt of athleticism at both ends.
Memphis continued hanging around at the start of the final period, scoring their first seven points on offensive rebounds. Allen grabbed his own miss for a putback, bringing the Grizzlies within three, at 76-73 with 9:37 on the clock.
Tony Allen leaving it all on the floor he needs help from some of the more talented #Grizzlies— Warren Shaw (@ShawSports) May 28, 2013
Parker scored or assisted on seven straight San Antonio points, continually coming up with answers for Memphis' runs.
Tony Parker just being mean at this point.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) May 28, 2013
The veteran point guard had to hit the locker room briefly after being whacked in the head, but the Spurs didn't slow down, as their two other stars kept rolling along. Manu Ginobili and Duncan combined for four quick points to get back ahead 87-77 with 5:18 remaining.
Manu's best skill at this point is his passing. What a wizard.— Beckley Mason (@BeckleyMason) May 28, 2013
Pondexter continued to be the Grizzlies' best offensive option. The Spurs locked down the defensive paint with Duncan and Tiago Splitter coming up with big blocks again and again.
Tiago Splitter's full-immersion into Spurs D is near complete. Dude knows where to be, when to go, what to do.— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) May 28, 2013
Gasol broke a three-minute scoring drought for both teams with a hook shot at the 48-second mark. That bucket brought Memphis back to within three, at 89-86.
Parker netted 4-of-4 from the free-throw line to close things out, while Memphis scored just two points in the final 3:54 to get to the final score of 93-86.
Great season, Grizzlies. Best of luck, Spurs.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 28, 2013
San Antonio now advances to the fifth NBA Finals of the Gregg Popovich-Duncan era. They will await the winner of the the Indiana Pacers-Miami Heat series, which Miami leads 2-1.