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DeRozan leads Spurs past Grizzlies as Morant has 44 points

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) shoots against San Antonio Spurs guard Keldon Johnson (3) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) shoots against San Antonio Spurs guard Keldon Johnson (3) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

MEMPHIS, Tennessee – DeMar DeRozan had 28 points and nine assists, Dejounte Murray added 21 points as the San Antonio Spurs used a balanced attack to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 131-119 on Wednesday night, overcoming a huge game by Ja Morant.

Morant -- the reigning rookie of the year -- had 34 of his career-high 44 points in the second half. While that helped carry the Grizzlies offensively, it wasn’t enough to put a deep dent in San Antonio’s double-digit lead through much of the second half.

While the game tipped off the Grizzlies 20th season in Memphis, things were toned down from the normal baptism of a new campaign. FedExForum was void of any fans, leaving any crowd noise to recorded reactions.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points for San Antonio, while Lonnie Walker IV and Keldon Johnson had 16 each, part of seven Spurs finishing in double figures.

Dillon Brooks scored 16 for the Grizzlies, while Jonas Valanciunas added 15 points and 13 rebounds.

The Spurs, who fell behind early as Memphis was connecting on 3-pointers, clamped down on defense in the second quarter. The stingy defense and much better shooting by the Spurs helped San Antonio to a 66-53 lead at the break.

TIP-INS

Spurs: Fourth-year G Derrick White was out recovering from left toe surgery. …Wore their City Edition jerseys with the fiesta colors – teal, pink and orange – across the chest and down the side of the shorts. … G Patty Mills connected on a 3-pointer in the second quarter, moving him ahead of Allen Iverson for 99th on the all-time made 3-pointer list with 1,060.

Grizzlies: Are 9-17 in home openers, and had won six of their last eight entering the game. …Memphis remained without F Jaren Jackson Jr. (left knee meniscus surgery) and swingman Justise Winslow (left hip displacement). … Valanciunas reached 1,000 career rebounds in the third quarter.

UP NEXT

Spurs: San Antonio has its home opener Saturday against the Toronto Raptors.

Grizzlies: Face the Atlanta Hawks in a Saturday matinee before heading out on its first road trip of the season – three games against Eastern Conference opponents.