The San Antonio Spurs were without both Pau Gasol and Kawhi Leonard for this one, but when it comes to the Gregg Popovich coached Spurs, being without two stars doesn’t always matter...at least when it comes to picking up wins against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Spurs were 20-4 in their last 24 contests against the Grizzlies.
The offenses sputtered in the first quarter, as both teams had real problems scoring the basketball. It wasn’t as much the defenses playing well as it was simply missed shot after missed shot after missed shot. The score was 17-14 Memphis at the end of the first quarter as the Spurs scored the fewest points in a quarter all season behind a 36.8% shooting performance from the floor...while the Grizzlies were shooting 36.4%.
The second quarter began with a 10-4 run by the Spurs as they took the lead back from Memphis. The Spurs bench combination of Manu Ginobili, David Lee, and Kyle Anderson led the charge for San Antonio as their shooting percentage rose up to 46% through four minutes of play in the second. Then, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley checked back in the contest and got the Grizzlies offense going. Memphis eventually went on a 14-5 run on the backs of Gasol, Conley, and Brandan Wright, who showed flashes of the athleticism Memphis fans always knew he had.
The half ended in a 40-40 tie as Marc Gasol led the way for Memphis with 10 points and 5 rebounds.
The third quarter began in a similar fashion to the first as both offenses continued to struggle. Tony Allen was actually one of the more reliable offensive players for Memphis (nine points in the quarter)...which is never ideal. Halfway through the third the Grizzlies were up by five despite Chandler Parsons struggling mightily (1-10 shooting). Once he sat down, the Memphis offense came alive with a Vince Carter made three and more TA success attacking the rim. But Manu Ginobili, noted Grizzlies killer, made two consecutive threes to get San Antonio back in the game. Toney Douglas made a three at the end of the quarter to help the Grizzlies take a 69-65 lead in to the fourth quarter.
The final stanza of the game began with a Vinsane and-one layup make by Vince Carter (he missed the free throw) to extend the Grizz lead to six.
Vince Carter continued the craziness with two blocks at the rim of the Spurs, confirming even further that this is the best VC has looked as a member of the Grizzlies.
Both teams were shooting under 40% over halfway through the frame, but the Grizzlies built their lead to 13 anyway as Memphis drove to the rim and converted in the paint. The Spurs remaining star, LaMarcus Aldridge, struggled mightily without Kawhi Leonard in the lineup- he was 4-19 on the night from the field and played much of the fourth quarter with five fouls. It just wasn’t the Spurs night- they shot 36.6% from the field as a team and when a James Ennis thunderous slam in transition put Memphis up 15 with 3 minutes to go, Pop pulled his players and the Grizzlies wound up beating the Spurs 89-74.
Some quick takeaways from tonight’s game-
- There have been games of late where Chandler Parsons has looked better. Tonight was not one of them. 1-10 shooting for Chandler over 23 minutes played leaves a lot to be desired. Patience is continuing to wear thin for sections of Grizzlies fans...and those groups are growing by the day as Parsons continues to struggle.
- As bad as Parsons has looked at times in his prolonged return from injury, Brandan Wright has looked that good since he has gotten back in to the lineup. Brandan was a +11 in just 12 minutes played and showed the length and athleticism to be exactly what Memphis hoped he would be when he signed- a rim protector and elite finisher at the rim off of the pick and roll. More, please.
- Tony Allen had a sneaky good game for Memphis. 9 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks...TA was efficient on both ends of the floor. When Allen can be effective on offense and electric on defense, he makes the Grizzlies that much better. But “Trick or Treat” Tony must find that consistency.
The Grizzlies are now a season best ten games above .500 at 32-22 and are solidly in the six seed in the Western Conference playoff picture. In fact, they are within percentage points of the five seed Los Angeles Clippers. Memphis hosts the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.