Basketball

Spurs maul Grizzlies, Cavs down Pacers

Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale ripped into the officiating after his team slumped to a 96-82 play-off loss to San Antonio Spurs yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Kawhi Leonard finished with 37 points, 11 rebounds and two assists as the Spurs took a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series at San Antonio's AT&T Center. A furious Fizdale complained that the officiating crew had unfairly skewed the free-throw count against his players.

"It was a very poorly officiated game. First half, we had 19 shots in the paint and had six free-throws. They shot 11 times in the paint and had 23 free-throws," he said.

"I'm not a numbers guy but that doesn't seem to add up. Overall, we shot ball in the paint 35 times and had 15 free-throws - for the game.

"They shot 18 times and had 32 free-throws. Explain it to me."

Fizdale, who is likely to face disciplinary action from league chiefs for his rant, added: "That's unacceptable. That's 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."

CAVS TAME FIGHTBACK

Over at the Quicken Loans Arena, Kyrie Irving scored 37 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a fierce late fightback from the Indiana Pacers to hold on for a 117-111 victory and take a 2-0 series lead in their Eastern Conference play-off duel.

The reigning NBA champions appeared to be cruising to an easy win after opening up an 18-point lead at the end of the third quarter.

But a Paul George three-pointer saw the Pacers close to within four points with 18.1 seconds remaining to set up a nervous finale, as Cleveland's recent inability to close out wins reared its head once more.

With an upset looming however, Cleveland regained the initiative and two late free-throws from Irving put them 117-109 ahead as the final seconds counted down. - AFP

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