Spurs Capitalize on Grizzlies’ Miscues
San Antonio 83, Memphis 80
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Feb. 24 (Ticker) -- For the second straight game, the Memphis Grizzlies gave away a sizable early advantage to a Southwest Division foe.
The Grizzlies committed 21 of their season-high 24 turnovers after the first quarter as their 13-point lead was erased by the San Antonio Spurs, who got 19 points and 16 rebounds from Tim Duncan in an ugly 83-80 victory.
Memphis blew a 19-point bulge in Thursday's loss at Dallas. Playing their third game in four nights Friday, the Grizzlies seemed to have that out of their minds as they went on a 17-0 charge in the first quarter to hold a 22-9 advantage before settling for a 23-12 lead at the end of the session.
Playing their first game since Tuesday, the Spurs struggled in the opening quarter by making just 4-of-20 shots. They were not much better the final three quarters, shooting 34 percent (21-of-61).
However, the defending champions did the little things to forge their comeback. They turned the Grizzlies' miscues into 26 points and had a 15-2 advantage in second-chance points thanks to a 15-6 edge on the offensive glass.
"In the first quarter we shot poorly," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "The energy wasn't good early. For the next three quarters, we guarded wonderfully. Our shots fell and we were able to grind it out."
San Antonio used an 18-8 second-quarter run to trim the deficit to 38-35 heading into locker room. The Spurs then jumped out to a 57-49 lead thanks to a 10-1 spurt over the final three minutes of the third period, despite a stretch in the quarter in which they missed 13 consecutive shots.
Bruce Bowen's layup gave the Spurs their biggest lead at 71-58 with five minutes remaining. His 3-pointer made it 76-66 with 1:24 to go and seemed to put the game out of reach.
The Grizzlies managed to claw their way back into the game in the final minutes despite the absence of All-Star Pau Gasol, who fouled out after collecting 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Mike Miller connected on a 3-pointer to get Memphis within five before a steal and 3-pointer by Shane Battier made it 78-76 with 19 seconds on the clock.
"They hit some great shots," Duncan said. "We did not have the game locked up, but we thought we had it in the bag. I went 1-for-6 (from the line) in the final (three) minutes and made some mental mistakes. But lesson learned, and it was a cheap one because we got the win."
With the Spurs holding an 81-79 lead with 2.5 ticks left, rookie Hakim Warrick had a chance to forge an improbable deadlock from the line, but the 61 percent foul shooter made the first but missed the second. Nazr Mohammed hauled in the rebound and made a pair of free throws to make it a three-point game.
"The only way you can get back in a game like that is with missed free throws and they missed free throws," Miller said. "But we made way too many mistakes and had way too many turnovers tonight to win a game. That's what's disappointing. We understand we can play with these guys. We just have to learn to play with them for 48 minutes."
Memphis had one last chance to send the game into overtime, but Battier's long inbounds pass sailed just over the outstretched arms of Warrick.
"Coulda, shoulda, woulda doesn't count," Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello said. "It's a disappointing loss in the end."
Miller scored 14 points off the bench for Memphis, which made 26 of its franchise-low 56 shots (46 percent).
Manu Ginobili had 13 points and reserve guard Michael Finley added 11 for the Spurs, who have now won 10 straight against Western Conference opponents.