Spurs rest regulars, lose to Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The lowly Memphis Grizzlies are closing out their season on a high note against playoff-bound teams, even if the better opponents aren't exactly putting out maximum effort.

Pau Gasol scored 25 points,grabbed 15 rebounds and had six assists to lead the Grizzlies to a 101-91 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night.

Gasol connected on nine of his 15 shots to lead five Grizzlies in double figures.

The Grizzlies, who also defeated the playoff-bound Denver Nuggets on Saturday night, have won two straight, matching their longest winning streak of the season.

"It feels good for us," said rookie Tarnece Kinsey, who finished with 12 points. "We needed it. ...We didn't have a lot of opportunities to win, but the one we did win felt good. Putting together back-to-back wins on the last home game of the season felt pretty good."

Both teams were without key players. Spurs Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili took the night off because San Antonio was no longer playing to enhance its third seed in the West. It was the first game this season Duncan has missed.

"It's a fine line between staying away from injury and giving the body a little bit of a break," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "But as much as the body, it's the mental side of it. This late into the season, I don't think somebody is not going to get into or out of shape."

The absences left little-used Spurs such as Jackie Butler and James White starting their first games of the season.

White said his 39 minutes probably equaled "all the [game] minutes and practice together."

"I was surprised," White said of Popovich deciding the rookie guard from Cincinnati would start. "He put my name up on the board right before we went out. It was like JW. I was like: 'JW? Is that me? Are you sure you didn't mean JV? Jacque Vaughn?' "

Memphis starters Mike Miller and Damon Stoudamire didn't play because of knee injuries, and rookie Rudy Gay left in the second quarter after aggravating an ankle injury.

Chucky Atkins scored 19 for Memphis, while Dahntay Jones finished with 16 points. Stromile Swift added 10.

White and Michael Finley led the Spurs with 17 points apiece, while Butler and Beno Udrih scored 12 each. Butler also grabbed 10 boards.

"It's an opportunity for other guys," Spurs forward Bruce Bowen said of the situation. "Those are guys who practice all the time, and it's a great opportunity for them."

San Antonio, which trailed by as many as 21 early in the fourth period, got the deficit under 10 with 5:18 to play, and eventually got within 91-86 on Butler's 15-footer with 3:19 left. But San Antonio, which never led in the game, could get no closer, dropping its second game in as many nights.

"We didn't make good plays at the end, probably from a lack of experience from guys like myself," White said.

Memphis held a 56-43 lead at the half as Gasol scored 20 points, including a 43-footer as time ran out in the second period. The 7-foot Spaniard ran off the court with his arms outstretched like an airplane before bumping chests with Swift.

Atkins added 10 points for Memphis. No Spurs were in double figures, White and Robert Horry registering eight points apiece.

The Grizzlies led by as many as 15 in the opening half while shooting 54 percent.

Memphis continued to extend the lead in the early stages of the third period. Atkins 3-pointer with 9:17 left in the quarter gave the Grizzlies a 20-point lead, and Memphis maintained an 82-66 advantage entering the fourth.

"If it's a consolation prize, it's for the fans," Jones said. "It's two wins they can be proud of us and show them that we are still working hard to win games."

Game notes
Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley said before the game if he didn't have an offer to buy his majority share by May 1, he would end his yearlong effort to sell the franchise and take it off the market. ... With other San Antonio starters taking the night off, Bowen continued his consecutive games streak, playing in his 434th straight, longest active streak in the NBA. He played only 14 minutes. ... Duncan, Parker and Ginobili weren't the only ones sitting out. The stat sheet said San Antonio G Brent Barry didn't play because of a "tummy ache." ... Officials reviewed Gasol's desperation shot at the end of the first half before ruling it good. It was only Gasol's third 3-pointer of the season. ... Kinsey, the undrafted rookie out of South Carolina, has reached double figures in 12 straight games. ...Gasol's double-double was his team-leading 32nd of the season. ...San Antonio had won seven straight in the series before Monday night.