The San Antonio Spurs held off a strong charge from Mike Conley and the Memphis Grizzlies at AT&T Center on Tuesday night to capture a 116-103 Game 5 win and take a 3-2 series lead.
Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker headlined proceedings for the Southwest Division champions with 28 and 16 points, respectively, but the real story was the play of San Antonio's bench.
A game after all Spurs reserves combined to score 17 points, players comprising San Antonio's second unit poured in 46 points.
Chief among those contributors was Manu Ginobili, who was held scoreless in the first four games of the series. But on Tuesday, the 39-year-old regressed to the mean, just as Parker predicted at shootaround, as the San Antonio Express-News' Tom Orsborn noted:
All told, Ginobili posted 10 points, three assists and three steals in 17 minutes off the pine.
Then there was Patty Mills, who was scalding hot from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter and finished with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 5-of-7 from three. The Spurs were also a team-best plus-22 with Mills on the floor.
NBA TV provided a look at Mills' fifth three of the night, which all but iced Memphis:
According to Jeff McDonald and Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News, Mills' shooting stroke can be the X-factor for a Spurs team that has been searching for consistent supplementary scorers alongside Leonard:
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, were paced by 26 points, six dimes and four steals from Conley—who came alive and put a scare into the Spurs in the third quarter.
The fearless floor general was in a zone after the Grizzlies entered the break down six, and he proceeded to drop 17 points in the period to keep them alive briefly before the Spurs erupted late.
However, ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon noted Conley's success against the Spurs backcourt may not bode well for San Antonio even if it is able to advance to Round 2:
Speaking of which, the Spurs are now one win away from advancing to the Western Conference semifinals.
Game 6 will tip off Thursday evening (9:30 p.m. ET) at FedExForum in Memphis.
Should the Spurs become the first team in the series to win on the road, they'll cement a second-round showdown against the Houston Rockets—who eliminated the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 105-99 Game 5 win Tuesday night.
But if the Grizzlies take Game 6, Game 7 will take place Saturday evening back at AT&T Center.