Grizzlies turn tables on Spurs, roll to 105-94 win in Game 3

Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies

First-round playoff series
(Spurs lead 2-1)

Game 1: Spurs 111, Grizzlies 82, Saturday, AT&T Center
Game 2: Spurs 96, Grizzlies 82, Monday, AT&T Center
Game 3: Grizzlies 105, Spurs 94, Thursday, Memphis
Game 4: Saturday, 7 p.m., Memphis
Game 5: Tuesday, April 25 (time TBD), AT&T Center
Game 6: Thursday, April 27 (time TBD), Memphis*
Game 7: Saturday, April 29 (time TBD), AT&T Center*
*if necessary

SAN ANTONIO – Powered by the trio of Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, the Memphis Grizzlies made their home arena, nicknamed “The Grindhouse," a chamber of horrors for the Spurs on Thursday night.

Conley led all scorers with 24 points and Gasol and Randolph each had 21 as the Grizzlies rolled to a 105-94 victory that trimmed the Silver and Black’s lead to 2-1 in the first-round playoff series.

Game 4 is at 7 p.m. Saturday at the FedExForum, better known as The Grindhouse by fans of Memphis’ NBA team.

Grizzlies coach David Fizdale started Randolph, a crafty forward who is in his 17th NBA season, for the first time in the series and the move paid big dividends. Getting to his sweet spots on the floor consistently, Randolph hit 9 of 16 shots and even buried a 3-pointer for good measure. He also had eight rebounds and one blocked shot.  

As expected, the Grizzlies ramped up their physical defense and imposed their will on the Spurs, who fell apart early in the third quarter after trailing by only four at halftime.

"I thought that the Grizzlies were very aggressive, very focused, executed well at both ends of the court," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Defensively, they made it really tough on us. Offensively, I think that pressure and their aggressiveness put us like in mud. The ball didn't change sides. We dribbled too much. Not much ball movement, so it was tough to score. I think that was the most important part of the whole thing."

The victory snapped the Grizzlies’ 10-game losing streak to the Spurs in the postseason. Memphis hadn’t beaten San Antonio in the playoffs since 2011, when the Grizzlies eliminated the Silver and Black in Game 6 of their first-round series.

The loss was the third in a row in Memphis for the Spurs, who split their four-game series with the Grizzlies in the regular season. 

Memphis' win came three nights after Fizdale's epic rant about the officiating in the Spurs' 96-82 win in Game 2. Fizdale came down hard on the refs, saying the officiating was "unacceptable" and "unprofessional." What set him off was the disparity in free-throw attempts in Game 2. The Spurs went to the line 32 times, more than twice as many as the Grizzlies (15). 

San Antonio still had more free-throw attempts (28) than Memphis (20) in Game 3, but the Spurs converted only 16 . The Grizzlies had a good night at the line, making 18 of 20 attempts.

Down 50-46 at the half, the Spurs lost control of the game quickly in the third quarter when Memphis scored five unanswered points in the first minute on a basket by Randolph and 3-pointer by Gasol. 

Popovich managed a thin smile when he was asked during his postgame session with the media if he thought the game got away from the Spurs early in the third quarter.

"It was more like the first minute," Popovich said. "We turned it over twice to start off and acted like we were out on a picnic someplace. Those two turnovers and a mistake defensively where Marc got the 3-pointer at the top, and all of a sudden it was a nine-point game (55-46). I thought at that point we lost a little bit of composure, a little bit of confidence and the rest ensued."

The Grizzlies went on an 8-0 run to start the second half, taking a 58-46 lead on a three-point play by Marc Gasol with 9:54 left. Kawhi Leonard nailed a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 58-49, but that's as close as Memphis got. Conley's three-point play put the Grizzlies ahead 61-49 with 8:57 remaining, and they led by double digits the rest of the way. 

Memphis outscored the Spurs 31-17 in the third quarter to take an 81-63 lead into the fourth quarter.  

Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 18 points, but he went scoreless in the pivotal third quarter when Memphis outscored San Antonio 31-17. Leonard scored the Silver and Black’s first basket of the fourth quarter on a fast-break dunk, but that turned out to be his final points of the game before Popovich pulled his starters early in the final period.

LaMarcus Aldridge (16), Kyle Anderson (15), Patty Mills (11)) and Jonathon Simmons (10) rounded out San Antonio’s double-figure scoring. Starting point guard Tony Parker did not score and veteran guard Manu Ginobili remained scoreless in the series. 

"You have to give them credit," Parker said. "They played good D."

Here is a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of Thursday's Spurs-Grizzlies game: 

Final: Grizzlies 105, Spurs 94. Memphis snaps 10-game losing streak to the Silver and Black in the playoffs. San Antonio leads first-round playoff series 2-1. Game 4 is at 7 p.m. Saturday in Memphis. The Grizzlies' top three players -- Mike Conley (24), Marc Gasol (21) and Zach Randolph (21) -- combined for 66 points. Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 18 points. LaMarcus Aldridge (16), Kyle Anderson (15), Patty Mills (11) and Jonathon Simmons (10) rounded out San Antonio's double-figure scoring. 

Fourth quarter (2:33): Grizzlies 101, Spurs 83. Backups haved played most of the fourth quarter for the Silver and Black.

Fourth quarter (6:16): Grizzlies 91, Spurs 75. Jonathon Simmons has hit back-to-back 3-pointers for the Silver and Black. Pop pulled the Spurs' starters early in the fourth quarter. 

Fourth quarter (10:04): Grizzlies 83, Spurs 65. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol lead Memphis with 21 and 19 points, respectively. Mike Conley has 17 points. Kawhi Leonard leads the Spurs with 18 points.

End of third quarter: Grizzlies 81, Spurs 63. Memphis outscored San Antonio 31-17 in the period. Kawhi Leonard, who had 16 points in the first half, was scoreless in the third quarter. 

Third quarter (2:06): Grizzlies 79, Spurs 61. Memphis is running away with this game. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol lead the Grizzlies with 21 and 19 points, respectively.

Third quarter (11:08): Grizzlies 55, Spurs 45. Memphis has scored the first five points of the second half to take a nine-point lead. Basket by Zach Randolph (15) and 3-pointer by Marc Gasol (14). Timeout Spurs.

Halftime: Grizzlies 50, Spurs 46

First-half notes: Kawhi Leonard, who picked up two fouls in the first half, leads all scorers with 16 points. He has hit 5 of 9 shots, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range. Leonard also has four rebounds and two assists . . . Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol lead Memphis with 13 and 11 points, respectively . . . As expected the Grizzlies have turned up their physical defense. 

Second quarter (2:24): Grizzlies 42, Spurs 41. Zach Randolph has scored his 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He also has four rebounds. Kawhi Leonard leads the Silver and Black with 16 points.

Second quarter (5:07): Grizzlies 36, Spurs 35. Kyle Anderson has hit two consecutive baskets for the Silver and Black. Kawhi Leonard leads the Spurs with 12 points and is 2 of 2 from the 3-point line. As expected Memphis playing physical defense. Zach Randolph is carrying the Grizzlies. He leads Memphis with 13 points. 

Second quarter (9:12): Grizzlies 30, Spurs 28. Kawhi Leonard hits a 3-pointer to put San Antonio ahead 24-23. Leonard and Patty Mills lead the Silver and Black scoring with nine and eight points, respectively. 

End of first quarter: Spurs 21, Grizzlies 21. The Silver and Black shot only 35 percent in the period. Spurs All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard picked up two fouls in the quarter. Patty Mills nailed two 3-pointers for San Antonio.

First quarter (4:27): Spurs 16, Grizzlies 10. The Silver and Black have scored five unanswered points since the last timeout. After Kawhi Leonard hit a basket, Patty Mills nailed a 3-pointer. Assist by Manu Ginobili. 

First quarter (5:33):  Spurs 11, Grizzlies 10. The Silver and Black jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but Memphis went on an 8-0 run. Kawhi Leonard hit two free throws before throwing down a dunk for an 11-8 lead before Vince Carter scored on a drive.  

SPURS-GRIZZLIES, GAME 3: 'Grindhouse' in Memphis will be electric Thursday night

Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies

First-round playoff series
(Spurs lead 2-0)

Game 1: Spurs 111, Grizzlies 82, Saturday, AT&T Center
Game 2: Spurs 96, Grizzlies 82, Monday, AT&T Center
Game 3: Thursday, 8:30 p.m., Memphis
Game 4: Saturday, 7 p.m., Memphis
Game 5: Tuesday, April 25 (time TBD), AT&T Center*
Game 6: Thursday, April 27 (time TBD), Memphis*
Game 7: Saturday, April 29 (time TBD), AT&T Center*
*if necessary

SAN ANTONIO – The corporate name of the Memphis Grizzlies’ home arena is the FedExForum, but it’s known as ‘The Grindhouse’ by fans of the city’s NBA team.

The building’s nickname fits the personality of the Grizzlies, who for years have frustrated opponents with their physical defense and grinding half-court offense.

Leading Memphis 2-0 in their first-round playoff series, the Spurs have no illusions about what they’ll face Thursday night when they play their first road game of the postseason against the Grizzlies.

Game 3 tips off at 8:30. 

“It is a hard court to play in for sure,” said veteran San Antonio center Pau Gasol, who started his NBA career with Memphis in 2001. “They play hard. They play very physical. Their crowd gets into it, and that’s why they’ve been successful consistently for the last seven or so years. We’ve got to understand who we’re playing against and how hard it’s going to be."

“We have struggled this season against them there. We lost both games, and it wasn’t close. Let’s see if we can put ourselves in a position to have a chance to win.”

Kawhi Leonard scored a career playoff-high 37 points to lead the Spurs to a 96-82 victory in Game 2 Monday night at the AT&T Center, but Grizzlies coach David Fizdale’s postgame rant about the officiating has become the biggest story of the series so far.

Fizdale, who called the officiating “unacceptable” and “unprofessional,” was fined $30,000 by the NBA for his criticism of the referees.

San Antonio point guard Tony Parker was dismissive Wednesday when he was asked what he expects from the officials in Game 3.

“I don’t know,” Parker said. “I just worry about my team. We had two good wins and now we have to go to Memphis and play with the same intensity, the same energy because they’re going to come out and be very physical.”  

The Spurs were up 56-30 with 2:24 left in the first half of Game 2 and led 56-37 at intermission. But Memphis outscored San Antonio 28-19 in the third quarter and drew to within four points, 75-71, on a 3-point play by center Marc Gasol, Pau’s younger brother, with 10:08 remaining.

After committing only four turnovers in the first half, the Silver and Black had 12 in the second half, including seven in the fourth quarter.

“They did a good job defensively,” Parker said. “We have to worry about that. We know that the key against them is that if we have a lot of turnovers, they’re going to stay in games and it gives them confidence."

“So we have to make sure that even if they pressure us or they play more physical, we match that and we run our plays and we execute better. In the second half, especially in the third quarter, we didn’t do a good job of that.”

Parker scored 12 points and was 3 of 5 from the 3-point line. With the Grizzlies focused on stopping Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, Parker found himself wide open in the corners several times.

“They’re going to have to make a decision,” Parker said, referring to the Grizzlies. “If not, Kawhi is going to score 50. We have a lot of weapons on the team. A lot of guys that can make plays and knock down shots. I don’t know what they’re going to do."

“Kawhi is going to be aggressive and LaMarcus is going to be aggressive, and if they (Grizzlies) double team, they’re (Leonard and Aldridge) going to choose between me, or Danny (Green) or whoever is going to be open.”

The Spurs and Grizzlies split four games during the regular season, with the home team winning each time. Memphis beat San Antonio 89-74 on Feb. 6, holding the Spurs to their lowest scoring output of the season, and 104-96 on March 18.

The Silver and Black played the Feb. 6 game, the team’s first of their annual rodeo road trip, without Gasol and Leonard. Gasol was sidelined with a broken left hand and Leonard was out with a quad contusion.

San Antonio has never lost a playoff series to the Grizzlies after winning Game 1, sweeping them three times. In their only other postseason meeting before this year, No. 8 Memphis took the first-round opener in 2011 and went on to upset the top-seeded Spurs, ending the series in six games.

“We just take a game at a time,” Parker said. “We have a lot of respect for Memphis. They made it hard on us during the regular season. I expect them to play very well at home. We know a series can change very fast. We’ve been up 2-0 in the past and the other team came back, so I just want to make sure we stay focused.”

That won’t be easy in The Grindhouse.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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