SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs could not overcome woeful showings in the first and third quarter, losing to the Memphis Grizzlies Monday, 113-109. The loss was the second in a row for the Spurs, as they fall to 5-5. The Grizzlies improved to 3-7 with their first road win.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting, but gathered just 4 rebounds and missed a crucial late free throw. DeMar DeRozan had 7 assists, but scored just 12 points on 6-of-15 shooting. He also missed a crucial late free throw. Bryn Forbes (14), Rudy Gay (18) and Derrick White (15) were the other top scorers for San Antonio.
The Grizzlies' top scorer was Jaren Jackson Jr., who scored 24 points on 17 shots. Dillon Brooks had 21 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 12 rebounds. Rookie Brandon Clarke chipped in 14 points and 8 boards off the bench.
The Spurs play again Wednesday against the Timberwolves in Minnesota.
Spurs lose, 113-109
Just when the Spurs needed a run, they got it. In the first 3 minutes of the fourth quarter, the Spurs went on a 12-3 run to get within two points. Derrick White had five points in the middle of the burst, which was punctuated by a Bryne Forbes three-pointer. After that, the Grizzlies had no choice but to sub some of their starters back in to stop the bleeding.
The Spurs kept on pushing, forcing a Grizzlies timeout with 5 minutes left. At that point, San Antonio led 106-101 and was on a 26-10 run in the fourth quarter.
Rudy Gay continues to play well against the team he played for from 2006-2013. Despite Gay's 18 points off the bench, the Spurs could not put the Grizzlies away.
In the decisive sequence, the Grizzlies had the ball up by 2 with 55 seconds to play. They missed, but gathered the offensive rebound. After running more time off the clock, Tyus Jones found Jaren Jackson Jr. in the corner for a wide open three. He made it, but the play was reviewed and he was determined to be out of bounds.
Still, the Spurs couldn't capitalize. DeMar DeRozan's shot was blocked and the Grizzlies made the ensuing free throws.
After three, the Grizzlies lead 91-80.
Bryn Forbes opened the second-half scoring for San Antonio, but it was the Grizzlies' center Jonas Valanciunas with three quick scores to widen the guests' lead.
There really wasn't much else positive going for the Spurs in the third quarter, which the Grizzlies won 34-26. Marco Belinelli made a four-point play, which is cool and all. But Jaren Jackson Jr. is up to 22 points through three quarters for Memphis and the Spurs don't seem to have an answer.
Also, this happened. Brutal.
After trailing by 13 at the end of the first quarter, the Spurs briefly took the lead near the end of the half before losing it in the final seconds.
Again, turnovers (8) and inconsistent shooting from behind the arc (3-of-9) are hurting the Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge (12) and DeMar DeRozan (10) were the only Spurs to score in double figures.
Memphis was led by Jaren Jackson Jr.'s 15 points, while Dillon Brooks had 12 and Jonas Valanciunas had 10.
At halftime, the Spurs trail 57-54.
The bright spot for the Spurs in a game that has been largely devoid of them? Rudy Gay. Off the bench, he has 8 points to lead the team at the 7-minute mark of the second quarter. He converted a nice and-one to end the first quarter, then did this early in the second.
The Grizzlies are starting to cool off from their hot start, and the Spurs have stymied their star rookie guard, Ja Morant. Dejounte Murray is getting the best of Morant on both ends.
The Spurs stars, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, both reached double-digit scoring in the first half. They haven't been the most efficient or most exciting buckets, but they're consistent, and the Spurs need that right now.
The Silver and Black actually battled all the way back to take the lead late in the second quarter as both teams struggled to make three pointers. The Grizzlies' scoring is coming from their starting trio of Jackson Jr., Brooks and Valanciunas, who all have at least 10 points.
It was a 30-foot heave from Jaren Jackson Jr. just before the buzzer that gave Memphis the three-point lead at the break.
After one, the Spurs trail 35-22.
The first five minutes of the game were not kind to the Spurs, as the Grizzlies raced out to a 13-7 lead. The Spurs turned it over once and made just three of their first 11 shots. Trey Lyles got the scoring started for the Spurs, which is good, but other guys need to make shots, too.
The Spurs' offense in the first quarter was well balanced, but struggled to score consistently. The Silver and Black made two of their first three from behind the arc (66%), but were just 6-17 overall (37.5%). Don't be afraid to let it fly from deep!
The Spurs forced three turnovers, but couldn't make many of their shots, shooting under 35 percent in the first frame. Memphis, meanwhile, was on fire, making more than 60 percent. Not good!
Everyone's looking ahead to the postgame ceremony, when Tony Parker will be honored with a jersey retirement ceremony. But it would be awkward to celebrate after a loss to the lowly Grizzlies. The Spurs will be extra motivated to make this Monday a perfect night, when it would otherwise be a forgettable game against a Western Conference also-ran.
The Grizzlies enter with a 2-7 record. They're led by rookie point guard Ja Morant, who is averaging 18.9 points and 5.5 assists per game. He's also turning the ball over 4.5 times per game. Watch for the Spurs' Dejounte Murray to make Morant's life difficult. Murray is the Spurs' top passer (5.3 assists per game) and rebounder (7.9 boards per game).
This game is the last of a three-game homestand for the Silver and Black. The team beat the Thunder on November 7 but lost to the Celtics on November 9. Next up for the Spurs is a road trip to Minnesota and Orlando on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.