SAN ANTONIO —
Dejounte Murray put up his tenth triple-double of the season, but it will likely be his least favorite of the bunch. He shot just 5-17 in a 118-110 loss to Memphis, as Ja Morant put up a season-high 41 for the Grizzlies.
The loss doesn't fall squarely on DJ, who scored 10 of his 16 in the fourth and set his teammates up well throughout the game. San Antonio shot just 9-37 from deep. It was Murray's 10th triple-double of the season and the 14th of his career, tying David Robinson for the most all-time in Spurs history.
Despite that struggle, San Antonio had a chance late in the game. Jakob Poeltl said they came up just a few defensive plays short at the end.
Doug McDermott came around a handoff screen by Jakob Poeltl and opened the scoring with a mid-range jumper.
Derrick White found Keldon Johnson for three, then Dejounte Murray found White from deep.
Poeltl made a few baskets, but Memphis went in front 13-12 before Ja Morant had scored a point.
San Antonio made some defensive mistakes as the Grizzlies pushed their lead to 10 points on a 9-0 run. Keldon Johnson broke the ice with another three, but Morant got right back to the cup. Devin Vassell pumped off a feed from Lonnie Walker IV, then dribbled into a mid-range shot.
Poeltl lobbed it to a cutting Doug McDermott, who made the mid-air adjustment and laid it in. Poeltl got to the line on the next trip, but missed both. Walker hit from three, then created a buzzer-beating three for White.
San Antonio trailed 34-25 after one.
Walker hit from mid-range, then McDermott had a rough stretch with multiple fouls and a turnover. White coughed it up, then got a steal into a tie up, but couldn't win the tip. Memphis pushed their lead to a dozen.
Jock Landale missed a wide open three, then fouled. Murray took it to the rack, drew contact, and finished the and-1. Then he drove in for more free throws. A few trips later he tried again and didn't get the call, and Memphis scored in transition to go up 15.
Landale got a bucket before heading to the bench, and Poeltl popped in a putback. Keldon Johnson skied in his third three to make it a nine-point game, but Morant answered on a stepback. On the next trip, Johnson banked in his fourth on the heat check.
Morant scored in close, then Keldon bounced it to Poeltl for easy points. Johnson broke up a lob, but the Spurs couldn't score. Vassell ripped a steal, then took it coast to coast and finished with a euro. Memphis called time with a seven-point advantage.
White found Vassell for another bucket, then White potted a close shot to cut it to three. Jakob Poeltl assisted Keldon on a mid-range shot, then Devin.
Vassell came off a screen and drilled another in-between look, cutting it to a single point. Poeltl was called for a foul at the rim, but Pop challenged and won on a clean block.
Morant floated it over him, then poked it away from Dejounte with under 3 seconds left. Brandon Clarke dribbled into a three that he banked in, but after review, the ball was still on his fingertips at the buzzer.
By halftime, San Antonio had cut a 15-point deficit to 61-58 Memphis.
The two teams traded blows, with Murray dropping four assists and Poeltl blocking a shot. Memphis built their lead to 74-66, and Pop called time.
Vassell missed a three, but Poeltl tipped it in. The next trip, Devin didn't miss from deep. San Antonio got sloppy with the rock, and Lonnie turned it over to gift Memphis a bucket and a 10-point lead. He made up for it with a mid-range on a feed from DJ, then Poeltl finished inside.
Ja made a back cut and made a show of it on the finish. Then he split the defense and lobbed up an oop to Clarke to make it a 12-point lead.
Walker drove and kicked to Vassell, who drove in and finished. Keldon pushed his way into the paint and popped it in. Lonnie got a great board but then coughed it up, and Clarke finished another oop.
Lonnie drilled a three with minimal space, then Vassell hit a free throw. Morant found Clarke again, and Clarke blocked a shot.
Memphis led 94-86 heading to the fourth.
The Spurs opened the crucial final period by, I'm not kidding, starting with just four guys on the court and getting a technical for it. Dejounte hit free throws, then Walker.
Murray forced his way into the paint and hit just his second shot of the game. White smashed a block, McDermott got the ball and got it back to White, and White did some mid-air maneuvering to lay it in and make it a five-point game.
Memphis called timeout and then executed poorly, leading to a steal by McDermott and a layup by Eubanks. Murray got his tenth board for his tenth triple double of the season, then scooped it up and in.
McDermott got a look at a three to tie, but continued his oh-fer streak from deep with an air ball. Dejounte missed a tough pull-up, but Eubanks got the board and got it to Vassell for a floater. That missed, but Eubanks got a few more offensive boards and put it in to make it 101-100 Memphis with about seven minutes left.
Eubanks met Morant at the mountaintop for a huge block, but Morant scored on the possession. DJ pulled up from the elbow and hit. Ja got a switch on Eubanks and pulled up from three to make it 106-102.
Vassell followed his own miss and got fouled, drilling both free throws. Memphis got called for an offensive foul, and Poeltl came back into the game. Murray spun into a stepback Penny Hardaway style, tying the game at 106.
Poeltl blocked a shot, but Murray bounced a bad pass to Keldon that went the other way. Ja missed, but Jaren Jackson Jr. drilled a three that he took with unnecessary urgency.
San Antonio won a jump ball with a bit of luck, but Keldon couldn't finish a driving layup. Morant slid to the basket but White met him there, and Vassell drilled it from the elbow to give him 20 points and make it 110-108 Grizzlies.
Morant got to the line and hit both. Murray missed at the cup, but Poeltl put it back in. Morant missed a floater, but the rebound pinballed back to the Grizzlies. Morant got back to the line with Poeltl's fifth foul, and again he hit both.
White launched a three, but it clanged off the rim with under a minute left. Again Morant drove into bodies, again he got to the line, and again he hit the free throws giving him a season-high 41.
San Antonio took too long on the next possession, and Vassell missed from three for the sixth time in seven tries.
Memphis won 118-110.
The San Antonio Spurs (18-30) will host the Memphis Grizzlies (32-17) Wednesday night. The Spurs are 0-1 versus Memphis this season.
Gregg Popovich typically doesn't have a lot to say about opposing teams, but he has deep ties to this Memphis squad and a lot of thoughts on star point guard Ja Morant.
The Spurs' head coach said Morant is dynamic, manipulates his body well in the paint, and plays unselfishly. He noted that his shooting and defense have improved as well.
In their previous game, the Spurs cruised to an easy 134-104 road win over Houston.
Dejounte Murray led the team with 19 points and 10 assists. Jakob Poeltl had 18 points and nine rebounds and Keldon Johnson ended the night with 16 points.
"Played a good game throughout the 48 (minutes) and obviously that's the goal. I thought they did a fine job tonight," Gregg Popovich.
Here are five things to watch for in the game:
1. The Spurs have lost three-straight games to Memphis.
2. The Spurs are 4-5 on the second game of a back-to-back.
3. The Grizzlies have out-rebounded their opponents in two consecutive games.
4. The Grizzlies are 12-1 on the road when leading after the third period.
5. Memphis' Ja Morant is averaging 26.3 points per game, and 7.4 assists per game in 17 road games this season.
Stay here at KENS 5 throughout the season for complete Spurs coverage.