SAN ANTONIO – The Spurs responded to another late-game meltdown as they have all season: relying on a little 3-point shooting and a whole lot of Kawhi Leonard.
They also got an assist from the officials, according to Memphis coach David Fizdale.
Leonard had a postseason career-high 37 points and added 11 rebounds, and San Antonio beat the Memphis Grizzlies 96-82 on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.
Game 3 is Thursday night in Memphis.
San Antonio led for all but 13 seconds in winning its 10th consecutive postseason game over Memphis.
“This team has character, besides the talent and the desire to win,” Spurs center Pau Gasol said. “We have to keep that up every single night. We responded well when they made their run, and that’s the mindset we have to have every night.”
Leonard finished 9-for-14 from the field and was 19-for-19 on free throws.
He attempted more free throws than Memphis had as a team, which infuriated Fizdale.
“We don’t get the respect that these guys deserve because Mike Conley doesn’t go crazy, he has class and he just plays the game,” Fizdale said. “But I’m not going to let them treat us that way. I know (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has) got pedigree and I’m a young rookie, but they are not going to rook us. That’s unacceptable, that was unprofessional. My guys dug in that game and earned the right to be in that game, and they did not even give us a chance.”
Memphis closed within 75-71 early in the fourth quarter, but San Antonio responded with 3-pointers by Parker and Pau Gasol in rebuilding their double-digit lead.
The Grizzlies forced seven turnovers while outscoring the Spurs 34-19 in the opening 16 minutes of the second half. Conley, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph accounted for 21 points.
Conley finished with 24 points, Randolph had 18 points and Marc Gasol added 12 points for Memphis.
Tony Parker added 15 points for the Spurs, who had three others score in double figures.
San Antonio had a better start than in Game 1. Leonard made sure of that.
Leonard opened the game by making his first three shots and four free throws as the Spurs built a 13-point lead, the same deficit they faced in the opening period Saturday.
Unlike Game 1, there was no coming back from that deficit for Memphis.
San Antonio had a 26-point lead in the first half on the strength of its outside shooting. The Spurs only had 12 points in the paint, but got two 3-pointers from Parker and Danny Green, in building a 26-point lead in the first half.
Cavaliers 117, Pacers 111
In Cleveland, Kyrie Irving scored 37 points, Kevin Love added 27 and the Cavaliers avoided another fourth-quarter collapse in Game 2, beating Indiana to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
After squeaking out the opener by a point, LeBron James and Co. showed more intensity on defense, more swagger in general and won their 10th straight first-round game over the past three seasons.
However, they nearly blew an 18-point lead in the fourth as the Pacers got within four before Cleveland closed it out at the line.
James added 10 rebounds and seven assists, but had eight of the Cavaliers’ 19 turnovers.
Game 3 is Thursday night.
Paul George scored 32 and Jeff Teague 23 for Indiana, which showed more fight, but now has a steep hill to climb to get back in the series. Cleveland is 12-0 when starting 2-0 in the postseason.