SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs fought hard against an extremely talented Grizzlies team for 48 minutes on Wednesday, then five more, but fell short at both the regulation and overtime buzzers and lost 124-122.
"Great game, thought our guys were fantastic against a heck of a basketball team," Gregg Popovich said after the game. "To play them the way we did tonight feels really good. We're always disappointed when we lose, but so many good things. These guys are growing, playing the way they need to play to win."
San Antonio trailed by 9 with 1:11 to play in overtime, but refused to quit and ripped off an astounding 8-0 run that gave them a shot to win at the end.
Jeremy Sochan drilled a corner three to start the scoring for San Antonio, then spun in for a lefty finish soon after.
Jakob Poeltl put one back in, then finished another shot in the paint. Keldon Johnson knocked down his first three of the game.
Sochan stripped Dillon Brooks and dove on the floor to recover the ball, passing it back to Poeltl who passed it ahead to Tre Jones, who lobbed it up to Devin Vassell for a high-flying alley-oop jam.
Ja Morant showed how special he's becoming, hitting threes and cramming home a huge dunk to get Memphis out in front 31-18.
Charles Bassey came in and got a bucket, an offensive board, an assist, another bucket. Vassell dimed Doug McDermott on a floater, then knocked down a triple, then found Josh Richardson for another make from distance.
San Antonio trailed 38-32 after the first despite getting killed on the glass. Memphis had more offensive rebounds (7) than the Spurs had total rebounds (6).
Devin Vassell opened the period with a three, then Charles Bassey finished a scrambling broken play with a wide open dunk to make it a one-point game.
Romeo Langford returned from injury and stopped and popped on the baseline for a bucket. Vassell made a slick inbound pass to a cutting McDermott for a layup.
Bassey smashed a layup attempt off the glass, leading to a tough driving bucket by Vassell in transition. On the next trip down, Vassell swished another triple on a feed from Tre Jones.
Bassey played some tough defense then slipped under the basket for a reverse layup. McDermott hit a triple to put San Antonio up by two. Sochan got a big block from behind in the paint, then Poeltl popped one in from just outside the restricted area.
Vassell drained a long two, and when he missed the next one Romeo Langford soared in for a huge putback slam. He got to the line on the next possession and tied it up at 59.
Memphis closed the half on a 7-0 run and took a 66-59 lead into halftime.
San Antonio gave up the first few buckets of the half, but regrouped after a timeout. Sochan slammed home a miss, then the ball swung all the way around on a tremendous possession as Tre Jones found Poeltl underneath for a reverse.
Poeltl got an offensive board and popped it in from short range. Keldon drove in for a difficult finish in traffic, then Jones did the same on a baseline attack. San Antonio forced a turnover, Jones controlled the transition break, and Poeltl finished it through a foul before swishing from the charity stripe.
Richardson knocked down a three, then Poeltl eurostepped for a layup drawing oohs and ahs from the crowd. Josh Richardson dove on the floor to block a backdoor pass, and on the other end rained in a three for the lead.
San Antonio forced a turnover, and Vassell hit another three. The Spurs missed on the final possession, then got it back and missed again, then Richardson drained the final attempt at the buzzer. The crowd roared as it rolled around the rim and down, giving the home team a 94-89 advantage heading to the final period.
Memphis tied the game at 96 after the first minute or so, then built a five-point lead. Vassell drilled a mid-range jumper on a beautiful after timeout play. Bassey stole the ball and started the break, resulting in free throws for San Antonio to make it a one-point game.
Keldon Johnson's rough shooting night continued into the fourth, as he missed a three then a free throw. Memphis extended their lead to five as Richardson made a few errors in a row. Poeltl made a great defensive stand at the rim, then drove and whipped a pass to Jones in the corner for three.
San Antonio scrambled on defense as they had all night, switching clean and flying around the court.
Jones drove baseline and hit Keldon in the corner, who shook off the poor shooting and drilled it to make it a one-point game. A few possessions later, he threw a sick pass to Sochan underneath for a two-handed reverse that put the Spurs in front. Memphis took the lead back, but then Keldon forced his way through multiple defenders and made a tough one through contact.
The Grizzlies again scored to go in front, then fouled Keldon and sent him to the line. He hit one of two to tie it. Ja missed a three, then Vassell missed but the Spurs got it back. Jones got a good floating jumper in the paint, but missed it.
San Antonio forced a shot clock violation with only 6.6 to play, and Pop drew up an ATO for the win. Keldon got a great look at it from in the paint, but the shot rattled in and out sending the game to overtime tied at 112.
The Spurs gave up a transition bucket at the start of the extra period, then had a made shot waved off for an offensive foul. Memphis capitalized with a three on the other end.
Poeltl finished on the roll inside, but the Grizzlies hit another jumper to answer. Sochan posted up Morant, perhaps a little too hard, and Ja fell and took the charge. He slithered in for another bucket, and Pop called time with a seven-point deficit with 2:34 to play.
Vassell got stuffed, and Morant hit a circus shot. Vassell finished in transition with a finger roll. Morant missed a deep three and Jones lobbed it up to Jak to make it a five-point game, but the clock was running out. San Antonio fouled, then got it back, then Sochan scored in transition on a slick reverse. The Spurs pressured on the inbound, Sochan stole it and crammed t in to make it a one-point game in a shocking turn of events.
There was an issue where the clock didn't start, leading to a lengthy review. Officials eventually took 5 seconds off the clock, so Memphis inbounded with 9.3 seconds left. San Antonio fouled, and Ja missed the first and made the second with 5 seconds left.
Pop took a timeout to advance the ball, down two. Vassell got a clean look at a three, but it didn't go down. The Spurs fell 124-122 in overtime.
The San Antonio Spurs (5-6) will look to bounce back from a loss at home versus Denver and snap their four-game losing streak as they'll host the Memphis Grizzlies (7-4) tonight. The Spurs and Grizzlies will meet for the first time this season.
Before the game, Coach Popovich said Zach Collins' injury was a tough blow for both him and the team. Gorgui Dieng figures to get more playing time in his absence, and Pop spoke glowingly about him.
“He's our veteran, so to speak," Popovich said. "Great, great teammate. Everybody responds to him, commands respect very quickly. Great sense of humor and when he speaks he says things that matter, so he's been really good.”
Pop also spoke highly of the much younger Charles Bassey, who played his high school ball in San Antonio and recently made his debut for the big team after several impressive outings in Austin.
“He came in and played a couple of G League games, scored a thousand points, it was like, 'well, maybe we're dumb, we should be playing this guy,'” Pop said with a laugh. He added that he doesn't look afraid, he's aggressive, defends well, moves the ball well, and has caught on very quickly.
GAME REWIND: The Spurs are coming off a 115-109 home loss against the Nuggets.
Keldon Johnson had 30 points and five rebounds to lead the team while Devin Vassell added 17 points. Tre Jones finished with 20 points and nine assists while Josh Richardson recorded 22 points.
"24 turnovers for 34 [Denver] points is really going to make it difficult to win a game. That's how we lost it," Gregg Popovich said. "But I couldn't be prouder. Their execution, their competitiveness, that's who they have to be night after night. They did a great job. Really good team play."
The Spurs will debut their Association Edition jerseys tonight.
5 THINGS TO WATCH:
1. The Spurs have lost six-straight games to the Grizzlies.
2. The Spurs are 0-3 at home when trailing at halftime.
3. The Grizzlies average 45.6 rebounds, good for sixth in the NBA.
4. The Grizzlies are sixth in the NBA in paint points at 53.3 per game.
5. The Spurs are first in "clutch time" field goal percentage at 70 percent.
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