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 Manu returns and Spurs beat Grizzlies

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PostSubject: Manu returns and Spurs beat Grizzlies   Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:47 pm

MEMPHIS, Tenn.(AP) Manu Ginobili returned
from his offseason left ankle surgery, and the San Antonio Spurs
celebrated with a victory.Ginobili, who missed San Antonio's
first 12 games, scored 12 points to help the Spurs beat the Memphis
Grizzlies 94-81 on Monday night."I felt pretty good about it,''
said Ginobili, who played 11 minutes in his first outing. "I didn't
rush it a lot. I took my time, found the open seam, made a couple of
shots. I wasn't thinking about a great game on my first one, so I'm
happy with what I did.''Rookie George Hill scored 20 points and
Roger Mason added 18 to lead the Spurs. Tim Duncan added 14 points, 11
rebounds and four blocks for San Antonio, which has won five of its
last six games.O.J. Mayo scored 23 of his 26 points in the
second half to lead Memphis, which has dropped seven of its last eight.
Rudy Gay scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Darko Milicic
had 11 points and 11 rebounds.Ginobili entered the game with
5:34 left in the first quarter and promptly made his first two shots,
the first from outside the arc with the shot clock running down, and
the second on a dunk."I didn't want to take a quick one because
I'm kind of rusty,'' Ginobili said of the 3-pointer he hit 1:27 after
entering the game. "In that situation, you don't have any other options
with the shot clock winding down, so, I took it. It was good for my
confidence that it went in.''Ginobili was part of a key 20-6 run
to close the third quarter after Memphis pulled within 52-49. Ginobili
had six in the rally, as did Mason. Hill led the streak with eight
points.When Mason hit a 3-pointer, his fifth of the night, San
Antonio had rebuilt the lead to 69-53. That helped the Spurs take a
72-55 lead, their biggest of the night at that point, entering the
fourth period."He gave us a boost when everything went dead,''
Duncan said of Ginobili. "We gave him the ball a couple of times in a
row, and he was able to get to the free throw line."He really picked us up in a time that we were struggling.''The
Grizzlies started the 7-foot Milicic at forward in place of rookie
Darrell Arthur. That allowed Milicic to battle with Duncan early rather
than putting Gasol, also a rookie, on the All-Star.Duncan still
was getting the ball deep in the post, but Milicic was at least making
life difficult for the Spurs forward. He led San Antonio with 12 points
in the half, but was 5-of-13 from the field. Duncan's first-half play
helped the Spurs take a 41-36 lead into the halftime break.In
the third, the Grizzlies were able to pull within a basket on several
occasions, but the Spurs always had an answer, the final one coming on
the 20-6 run to close the period. The led to San Antonio outscoring
Memphis 31-19 in the period, and the Grizzlies are 0-9 when they are
outscored in the third."Each night is a little bit different,''
Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "Tonight, I don't think it was in the
beginning, but I think it was more towards the end of the third quarter
where we had some defensive breakdowns. They made threes, and all of a
sudden, there is a big lead.''There was a big difference in the
Spurs in the game with Ginobili on the floor, even if he was rusty and
only played 11 minutes. He would like to steadily increase playing
time, but said afterwards that the ankle felt good."I'm not
having the explosion right now because I'm a little bit out of shape
game shape,'' Ginobili said. "I've been running a lot, but the game
shape is something that you get when you play and practice a lot.''Still,
the return of the team's leading scorer from last season, and the hopes
that injured guard Tony Parker will return soon, gives the Spurs a more
optimistic view."It's a tremendous boost,'' Duncan said. "He
played well. I think psychologically more than anything, having him on
the floor and seeing him move around is going to be great for the team.
I know it's great for me personally because it is good to start seeing
our team getting back to full strength.''Notes: While Ginobili
returned to action, Tony Parker's return from his ankle injury could be
less than two weeks away. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said before the
game that he expected the point guard could return in under two weeks.
The Spurs are 6-2 in the eight games since Parker was injured Nov. 7.
The Grizzlies are expected to announce Tuesday that they are sending
Hamed Haddadi, the 7-foot-2 center from Iran, to the NBDL's Dakota
Wizards to get playing time. Haddadi has not played in any of the
Grizzlies 14 games this season and was on the inactive list for Monday
night's game. The Grizzlies were held to 36 points in the first half,
their lowest for a first half this season. The previous low was 37 on
opening night at Houston.
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