With 5:25 left in the fourth quarter on Tuesday and the San Antonio Spurs well on their way to their 27th victory of the season leading the Memphis Grizzlies by 16 points, it looked like the Spurs’ key players would get an extra five minutes of rest as they were scheduled for a back-to-back with the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.
However, Mike Conley (30 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists), James Johnson (15 points) and the Grizzlies had other plans.
In the final 5:25 minutes of the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies forced overtime behind 11 points from Conley in the closing five minutes and a daring 3-pointer that went in from Johnson in the final minute.
In overtime, it would be Tim Duncan (24 points, 17 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks) who put the Spurs on his back as he scored 6 of their 12 points in overtime. But it wouldn’t be the 37-year old Duncan finishing the job for San Antonio, instead that final task would come from the player just a year younger than Duncan; Manu Ginobili.
Prior to the last 1.8 seconds of overtime, Ginobili wasn’t having the best night with just 7 points on 2-of-11 shooting. However, in the final seconds, the Spurs ran a play for Ginobili where he caught the pass, ran from the right to left side of the key off a screen and was able to squeeze in a left handed layup through the Grizzlies’ interior defense for the game winning play with 1.8 seconds left. The Spurs would win 110-108 in overtime.
The Spurs came out with a productive flow and pace set by their starting unit of Tony Parker, Marco Belinelli, Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, and Jeff Ayres (in place of the injured Tiago Splitter) as their lead got as high as eight, but the Grizzlies would finish the first quarter on a 6-1 run to cut the Spurs’ lead to three points going into the second quarter. In the second, the Spurs’ second unit got the offense going again as they built a 14-point lead and went into halftime leading by 12 points.
The Spurs’ offense sputtered in third quarter with just 21 points, while they still kept the Grizzlies at bay with 23 points in the third. 13 points. The third was a quarter of inconsistent runs as the Spurs built a 15-point lead at one time and then the Grizzlies clawed back within five points. By the time the fourth was ready to begin, the Spurs were heading into the quarter with a 10-point lead. The Spurs had the early edge to start the fourth, but as mentioned above, the Grizzlies would comeback down 16 points in the final five minutes to force overtime.
Tim Duncan: Duncan scored six points in the first quarter, as he made more of his outside shots but also went retro by getting physical and posting in the paint for his points. By halftime, Duncan was working with 11 points. Duncan would stay productive in the third quarter, but it would be overtime where he really made an impact on the game with six points. With Marc Gasol still out due to injury, Kosta Koufos and the Grizzlies frontline had little work with to defend Duncan.
Manu Ginobili: Though he didn’t have his best shooting night (3-of-12), the Spurs wouldn’t have walked away with the win had it not been Ginobili’s game-winning layup. Ginobili also was responsible for six of the Spurs’ 24 team assists.
Marco Belinelli: Most of Belinelli’s production came in the first half where he scored nine points in the opening quarter, mainly off his movement off the ball in cutting to the basket for backdoor layups. By halftime, he had already scored 14 of his 19 points. He was however responsible for a turnover in the closing seconds of regulation as he got caught by a double-team, turned the ball over and Johnson hit the tying 3-pointer.
Kawhi Leonard: Leonard finished the game with 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals. He had a solid game going 7-of-9 from the floor as he score in balance with nine points in the first half, and eight points in the second half. He was key in overtime as Duncan fed him a pass, he drew two defenders in the paint, spun, and found Boris Diaw in the paint for an open layup.
Check out Leonard’s shot chart which displays the type of rhythm he had:
Mike Conley: With Jeff Ayres limiting Zach Randolph, it was Conley who had to pick up the scoring load for the Grizzlies. He finished with 30 points on 12-of-23 shooting, while also playing defense and holding Parker to 10 points on 5-of-12 shooting and 6 assists. It was Conley’s 11 points in the final five minutes of the game that allowed Memphis to send the game into overtime.
· Ayres limits Randolph: Without Splitter, Ayres had a solid game in defending Randolph. Randolph finished with 17 points, and 8 rebounds in 41 minutes, but needed 7-of-18 shots to score those points. Take a look at how Randolph’s shot chart looked postgame mainly with Ayres defending him.
· Logging heavy minutes: Considering the Spurs have a back-to-back on Wednesday, take a look at some of the minutes their prime players logged on Tuesday – Parker 40 minutes, Duncan 38 minutes, Leonard 33 minutes, Ginobili 33 minutes, Belinelli 30 minutes, Diaw 36 minutes.
· Diaw and Mills’ support: While the Spurs’ bench overall didn’t have one of its best games scoring just 38 points off 30 shots, Mills and Diaw were both key contributors with 11 points each. Mills got going mainly in the first half while Diaw was instrumental with 4 points in overtime.
· Spurs’ defense appears for 3 quarters: In the first three quarters, the Spurs’ defense held the Grizzlies to 22, 19, and 23 points in consecutive quarters. The Grizzlies were shooting just 46% from the field, 33% from 3-point range, had 64 points, and only 32 points in the paint along with 8 turnovers. Which leads to the next stat
· Inside-look at Grizzlies 5-minute comeback: In the final five minutes of the game, the Grizzlies scored 23 points, held the Spurs to 7 points, shot 64%, 40% from three, outscored the Spurs 14-4 in the paint, and 7-0 out on the break.
Where they stand: With the win, the Spurs improve to 27-8 on the season. They moved to 14-3 on the road, they are 5-0 in games decided by 3 points or less, 18-1 against teams that are .500 or below, and 16-6 against the Western Conference.
Up Next: As mentioned above, the Spurs will face the Mavericks in San Antonio Wednesday at an early tip-off time (6 PM CST). After scoring his game winning layup, Ginobili’s leg began tightening and he didn’t play the final defensive possession. According to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News, Ginobili himself may think about sitting out Wednesday’s game as a precautionary move.
Ginobili indicated he might consider sitting out as a precaution against further injury, but otherwise appeared unconcerned.
“I don’t care about missing one game,” Ginobili said. “I don’t want to push it and miss a month.”