Well at least the Memphis Grizzlies were competitive, right? The Bears of Beale Street lost to the San Antonio Spurs 96-87 in Game 3 of their 2016 NBA Playoff First Round Series. San Antonio leads the series 3-0.
The first quarter was a fight for Memphis to get both the fans in to the game and literally in to the building, as a late arriving crowd filled the FedExForum. The team had some early success, and even had the score tied 14-14 at one point in the quarter. The Spurs continued to Spur however, and a late Matt Barnes turnover became a Manu Ginobli made three at the buzzer to give San Antonio a 26-18 lead at the end of the first.
The Grizzlies fought back, as Memphis would expect them to, and actually won the second quarter thanks to solid performances from the field from Lance Stephenson and Xavier Munford, who were a combined 6-8 from the field in the first half. They whittled the Spurs lead down to one at the half, 44-43.
The game remained competitive through the third quarter, as Zach Randolph continued consistent play in this game when the team needed him most. The return of Mr. 20 and 10 (11 total rebounds, actually), alongside slashing wings at the rim, got LaMarcus Aldridge in to foul trouble. This enabled the Grizzlies to take advantage of the Spurs to the tune of even extending their lead to three points 69-66. The quarter ended with Memphis winning another quarter and holding the lead 71-70 going in to the fourth.
YOU READ THAT RIGHT...
WHEN YOUR BROKEN SQUAD OF OLD DUDES, LANCE, & D-LEAGUERS WINS TWO QUARTERS IN A ROW AGAINST THE SPURS & HAS THE LEAD pic.twitter.com/NdyvGesxww— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) April 23, 2016
The Grizzlies were able to hang with the Spurs due in part to their advantage in second chance scoring, which stood at 14-1 as the fourth quarter began. Kawhi Leonard remained the best player on the court, hitting threes and defending as only he can, but Memphis stayed close simply by will and effort, especially on the offensive glass. The Spurs got the lead up to six as the quarter carried on because Memphis' offense became stagnant...which isn't overly surprising, and the lead grew behind the efforts of Kawhi Leonard, who dominated the fourth and finished off the Grizzlies' hopes to pick off Game 3 at home to the tune of 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals. The Grizzlies fought to the end, but it just wasn't enough against the Spurs machine as the offense sputtered and faded at the end.
Game Four is Sunday in Memphis at high noon as Memphis hopes to stop the Spurs and their attempt to sweep. Here's to hoping they play with this effort and energy again in what is as close to a back to back set of games as you can get in the NBA Playoffs.