San Antonio Spurs 112, Memphis Grizzlies 106: Eventually, the Spurs will lose a close game
AT&T CENTER — The pass went traveled quickly from Tony Parker to Manu Ginobili. And just as soon as it touched the hands of Ginobili, it was in the air, destined for Richard Jefferson. A beautiful alley-oop dunk to finish off another Spurs win.
The San Antonio Spurs had a five point lead with under a minute left in the fourth quarter and were about to finish the Memphis Grizzlies off. But then, things didn’t go as they should’ve. Jefferson fumbled the ball and never even got a shot off.Â Instead, the ball went out of bounds and Memphis had a chance.
The Grizzlies went the other way and OJ Mayo scored a layup. After Tony Parker missed a jumper with about 38 seconds left, Mayo nailed a 3-pointer with 21.6 seconds left. Tie game. What should’ve been an insurmountable lead just seconds ago was now a contest in limbo.
The Spurs missed on their final attempt of the fourth quarter. Manu Ginobili considered taking a step-back 3-pointer for the win, but dished off to Tim Duncan cutting through the lane. Duncan passed to Jefferson in the short corner but RJ air balled the shot and the game went to overtime. The Spurs outscored Memphis 12-6 in overtime and won the game 112-106, but their performance left much to be desired.
“I thought it was a sloppy game on our part, but we did maintain our effort and the effort never let up and finally got us an opportunity to win it at the end,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said after the game.
Every time the ball went in the air and caromed off the rim, it seemed like a lost cause. Almost a quarter of the time during the Spurs’ win on Saturday night at the AT&T Center, the ball ended up in Zach Randolph’s hands.
“We were fronting Zach Randolph, so when the shot goes up, you’re on the wrong side to box out,” Spurs forward Matt Bonner said. “That definitely made a difference.”
The Spurs kept trying to pull away in the third and early fourth quarter, but the Memphis Grizzlies wouldn’t let them. And Randolph, who finished the game with 24 points and 21 rebounds, was a major reason why. Randolph grabbed 10 offensive rebounds on the night, more than the entire Spurs team.
“Zach Randolph is maybe one of the best rebounders that weâ€™ve seen in the league, especially at the offensive end,” Coach Pop said. “He does that all the time. Itâ€™s no surprise.”
Offensively, OJ Mayo was ridiculous for Memphis, he scored 27 points on 11-19 from the field, including 5-8 from the 3-point line. But even more ridiculous was the line from Tony Parker. The Spurs point guard put up 37 points on 15-21 shooting and nine assists.
The Spurs were able to weather the storm of the Grizzlies dominance on the offensive glass, Memphis outrebounded San Antonio 48-41 overall, and take their record to an NBA-best 23-3. Even if the Spurs play .500 ball for the rest of the season, they would still finish with 51 wins. It’s amazing to think about that considering the struggle last season appeared.
The Spurs host the new-look Suns on Monday night.