Coming into tonight’s game, it was do or die time for the Memphis Grizzlies. The Spurs were up 3-2 in the series, and the Grizzlies had two options: they could extend the series to a Game 7 in San Antonio or let the series end in FedExForum. The Grizzlies have been without the services of Tony Allen and Chandler Parsons, but that hasn’t stopped them from making this series more entertaining than anyone could’ve expected.
Out of the gate in the first quarter, the Grizzlies found themselves in a quick 8-2 hole. But then Vince Carter took off with a putback dunk and three pointer to energize the Grizzlies. While Kawhi Leonard was off to his usual solid start, Tony Parker had 11 points at the end of the quarter. The Grizzlies tied things up at 11 but then were down 7 with less than 5 minutes remaining. However, an unlikely hero appeared in Andrew Harrison, who came in the game and scored two threes back-to-back. Mike Conley had 0 points in the quarter until he made a buzzer-beater three to cut the deficit to 24-22 at the end of the first.
In the second quarter, the free throw drought continued for Memphis. The Grizzlies shot their first free throw attempts with just under 5 minutes left in the quarter. At the beginning of the second, the Spurs maintained a small but steady lead. However, Memphis regained momentum as the quarter progressed and were up 47-43 with 1:23 left in the half. Mike Conley had a pretty quiet first half with only 8 points, while Vince Carter stepped up with 10 points at the half. Marc Gasol had 11, while Kawhi Leonard had 15 points for the Spurs. Memphis was dominating in the paint and from three point range, as they had 8 threes to the Spurs’ 3. At the half, Memphis led San Antonio 50-45, and the sellout crowd in FedExForum was rocking.
To open up the third, Memphis jumped out to a 10 point lead thanks to a James Ennis III three pointer. However, the Spurs cut the deficit in half about midway through the period, and this was partially due to dominating Memphis on the glass. With less than 2 minutes left, the Grizzlies fouled a Manu Ginobili three pointer, and the Spurs took a 73-69 lead. The tables began to turn on Memphis as the officiating during the game continued to be questionable. The Spurs had 20 free throw attempts going into the fourth, while the Grizzlies had 8. The Grizzlies kept things under control, however. Going into the fourth, Memphis was down 75-74.
Down the stretch in the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies regained a slim lead, but the Spurs kept tying things back up. Midway through the period, a James Ennis III three pointer put Memphis up 85-79 (he had 11 points on the night). Mike Conley had a much stronger second half, as he ended up with 26 points on the night. An MVP chant even started up when he was shooting free throws in the fourth. With five minutes remaining, the Grizzlies led by only one. Then, the Spurs gained a two point lead with less than three minutes left and extended it to a four point lead with less than two minutes left. A couple Carter free throws cut the deficit to two, but Tony Parker scored a bucket on the next possession. The Grizzlies came up short as they were unable to come back after that and fell to the Spurs, thus ending their postseason, 103-96.
For the Spurs, Kawhi Leonard had 29 points. In addition, LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Tony Parker had 27 points. For Memphis, Marc Gasol had 18 points, and Zach Randolph had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
After an inspiring run in this series, the Grizzlies just couldn’t pull off the upset, and now they face an offseason full of questions.