Spurs Face Brink of Elimination


The San Antonio Spurs went into Memphis determined to get a “must win” at all costs. For 24-minutes they played with this mentality, the other 24-minutes led to a 104 to 86 Grizzlies win and left the Spurs on the verge of elimination. Andy Lyons

“We played 24 minutes, that’s the difference,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich after the loss.

The scapegoat in the series had been point guard Tony Parker. Parker responded by scoring eight of the Spurs first 16 points early in the first quarter.

Spurs fans and media personalities had been waiting to see how forward Tiago Splitter would fare against the Grizzlies front line. They got their chance to see him in action as he entered the series for the first time with 2:37 left in the first quarter.

In a little more than two minutes of playing time, Splitter made his mark with two points and one rebound. The Spurs led the Grizzlies 26 to 21 after the first quarter. The Spurs ended the first quarter with five turn over’s. Remember that word “turnovers”. You’ll understand in a bit.

Grizzlies point guard Greivis Vasquez scored seven points quickly off the bench as he helped the Grizzlies with a 9-2 run. The Spurs lost a seven-point lead in the sequence with 9:13 remaining in the second quarter.

After exchanging leads, the Spurs went into halftime with a 50 to 48 lead. Little did they know, it would be their last of the game? Parker bounced back with 19pts (7-7 FG) at halftime.

In his first half, Splitter had six points and four rebounds. The Spurs added three turnovers in the second quarter. Their defense was able to hold Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol to a combined 13-points.

Then came the second half.

The Grizzlies opened the second half with a 14-0 run as they took a commanding 62 to 50 lead. The Spurs helped fuel that run by turning the ball over three times in the run.

Parker finally ended the Grizzlies run by scoring the Spurs’ first basket with 7:20 left in the third quarter.

The Spurs would give their last effort at a comeback as they went on a 9-2 run to cut the Grizzlies lead t five (66-61) with 4:34 remaining in the third quarter. Five points would be the closest they would get to.

More turnovers helps the Grizzlies push their lead to seven points (72-65) with 1:25 remaining in the third quarter.

By the end of the third quarter, the Grizzlies held a 78 to 65 lead over the Spurs as they outscored San Antonio 30 to 15 in the period. The Spurs turnover count through three quarters was 15.

Darrell Arthur put the game away with a posterization alley-oop over Tiago Splitter as the Grizzlies pushed their lead 83 to 67 with 10:10 remaining in the game.

The Spurs would fall behind by as many as 20-points in the fourth quarter and allow the Grizzlies to control the future of their fate as Memphis now owns a strangling 3-1 series lead.

The Spurs finished the game with 17 turnovers to the Grizzlies nine turnovers. That was the key issue in the game. The second half was abysmal for the Spurs as the Grizzlies outscored them 56 to 36.

The series will resume on Wednesday in San Antonio as the Spurs fight to stay alive.

Game Notes

  • The Spurs’ two biggest mismatches, Randolph and Gasol only scored 20-points combined.
  • Duncan, Antonio McDyess and Richard Jefferson combined for only 10-points.
  • The Grizzlies’ bench outscored the Spurs’ bench 49 to 39.
  • Despite having his best shooting game of the series (23 points, 9-12 FG) Parker only had one assist and had seven of the Spurs’ 17 turnovers.