Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images
Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images
Following a dominant Game 1 performance, the San Antonio Spurs seemed to have a Game 2 victory in hand heading into the fourth quarter up by 12 points. That is until the Memphis Grizzlies finally bared their teeth and almost completed an overtime comeback in a 93-89 loss.
In what ended up being an exhaustive game for both teams, it was Tony Parker who dished out a playoff career-high 18 assists and scored 15 points that paced the Spurs to take a 2-0 series lead.
“He was unbelievable, and I know he’s exhausted,” Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. “A lot of credit to him…to have 18 assists and then ask him to score, ask him to defend (Mike) Conley and all those things, he’s been great.”
Duncan led the charge in overtime scoring six of his team-high 17 points in the extra period, in addition to his nine rebounds and four blocked shots. The Spurs held the Grizzlies to four points on 2-for12 shooting to end the game, but Memphis had a chance to send the game into a second overtime when Jerryd Bayless, who scored 18 points off the bench, missed a 3-pointer with 11.8 seconds left.
“Obviously he (Duncan) took over for us in that overtime scoring-wise, did a great job, just took it upon himself to be aggressive, and it helped us win,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
With 8:12 left in the fourth quarter and the Spurs ahead 83-70, San Antonio’s offense went flat as the Grizzlies outscored the Spurs 15-2 and tied the game on a series of plays that included a controversial flagrant foul.
The Spurs Manu Ginobili turned the ball over with 27.9 seconds left in the game leading to a Grizzlies fast break for guard Tony Allen. Allen went up for a layup and was subsequently fouled by Ginobili who pulled Allen down in an attempt to prevent the shot. Allen fell hard to the floor and then proceeded to squirm in pain while holding his head.
The referees reviewed the play and determined it a flagrant 1 foul that gave the Grizzlies two free throws and the ball. Upon review, it was seen that Allen never hit his head despite his initial reaction.
Allen hit both free throws and Memphis guard Mike Conley followed with a successful jump shot in the lane to tie the game. Duncan missed a fade-away jumper at the buzzer, and the Spurs were forced to play their third overtime game of the playoffs.
“Yeah, it’s such a weird play. I know it’s a tough play for the officials,” Duncan said. I think Tony (Allen) just tried to sell it more than anything.”
The Grizzlies got a better performance out of their big men as Marc Gasol scored 12 points with 14 rebounds despite playing the entire game in foul trouble, and Zach Randolph recovered from his worst playoff performance with 15 points and 18 rebounds. Memphis won the rebound battle 60-46 but finished the game shooting 34 percent.
“Well, we played better than we played first game, even though we lost, and we were more Memphis Grizzlies,” Gasol said. “There’s nothing you can do about it. You’ve got to play the next game, play to the fullest, be us, we’re going to have our crowd behind us and we can’t wait for that.”
The Spurs continued to get help from their role players as Kawhi Leonard scored 12 points and collected nine rebounds, and Tiago Splitter added 14 points and two blocks.
Both teams will have a much-needed three days off before resuming the series in Memphis for Game 3 on Saturday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. on ESPN.