Spurs make comeback in Memphis, but fall to Grizzlies in overtime


“We made some good stops at the end. We need to win the game. In basketball it can go both ways and luckily it went our way tonight.”

That was San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (30 points) on Wednesday after the Spurs held on to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers.

As Parker said, in basketball it can go both ways. On Friday, the Spurs were on the other side of his quote as they fell to the Memphis Grizzlies 108-105 in overtime.

The turnovers were once again the case, as the Spurs followed turning the ball over 19 times against the Lakers to turning the ball over 18 times against the Grizzlies. But the good, the Spurs only turned the ball over six times in the entire second half on Friday.

After Rudy Gay (23 points) missed two straight free throws in the closing seconds of the game that could have sealed the game for Memphis leading 93-89, Stephen Jackson connected on a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left that put the Spurs down one, 93-92. Zach Randolph would make both free throws for Memphis on the following possession (95-92), but then Parker, who had kept the Spurs in the game all night, ran with the ball down the court, faded to his left and made a desperation 3-pointer that sent the game to overtime.

Fast-forward to 3:13 in overtime and the Grizzlies were down 98-97. Two minutes would go by and then Gay would receive a screen with Kawhi Leonard defending him, Leonard would switch back, put a hand in Gay’s face, but with some extra arc on his shot, Gay sank the go-ahead jumper with 27 seconds left to give the Grizzlies the 99-98 lead that would eventually seal the game for them.

Here’s the rundown of the Spurs’ night where they made a comeback and were in possession of the lead both in the fourth quarter and overtime with less than two minutes, but they just couldn’t seal the victory.   

First quarter: Spurs 25, Grizzlies 22

It was a close quarter as the Grizzlies only went up as much as four points, but the Spurs’ bench would come in and use their passing ability to push the Spurs on a 9-0 run that eventually gave the team the lead. Parker was the hot man in the first with nine points, while the Spurs turned the ball over five times.

Second quarter: Spurs 43, Grizzlies 51

Turnover woes – On Wednesday, the Spurs turned the ball over 19 times to the Los Angeles Lakers through a 48-minute game. By halftime against the Grizzlies, the Spurs had already accumulated 12 turnovers. The Grizzlies defense held the Spurs to 18 points in the quarter, while they put 29 points on the Spurs on the offensive side of the floor.

International carriers – Parker, Manu Ginobili (14 points), and Tiago Splitter (13 points) had to carry the Spurs’ scoring load in the first half by combing for 26 points.

Third quarter: Spurs 71, Grizzlies 68

Closing 23-8 run – After falling by as much as 12 points in the third, the Spurs got themselves together late in the third to end the quarter on a 23-8 run. One reason the run lasted and the defense was able to hold the Grizzlies to 17 points while the offense scored 28 points, was because the Spurs only turned the ball over three times in the quarter.

Parker doin’ work –Parker led the Spurs’ charge as he tallied nine points in the third quarter to go into the final period with 18 points. His penetration allowed the Spurs’ offense to flourish in the third.

Fourth quarter: Spurs 95, Grizzlies 95

Overtime: Spurs 98, Grizzlies 101

With the loss, the Spurs fall to 28-11 on the season and 13-9 on the road. In the last three games combined, the Spurs have accumulated 57 turnovers. With turnovers being their biggest flaw at the moment, the offense hasn’t been consistent as they’ve struggled to score their average of over 100 points per game. Since being on their 7-game winning streak, the team is 2-3 in their last five games.

Manu Ginobili scored 14 points in the game and Tim Duncan added 13 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks. However, Duncan struggled on Friday as he shot 5-of-14 and turned the ball over more than any Spur, six times. Danny Green also had another off night as he shot 1-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Wolves at the Alamo –  The Spurs will fly back to San Antonio where they’ll have  one day of rest before resuming play on Sunday to host the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves. 

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Paul is an editor, writer and content manager for ProjectSpurs.com (@ProjectSpurs) and AnalyzingTheLeague.com (@ATLeague_NBA). Paul is also the host of the Spurscast (@TheSpurscast). Paul has been a credentialed media member covering the San Antonio Spurs and NBA since 2011. Paul has been featured on numerous radio, tv, online and podcast shows.