Chris Kern | @chriskern11
Result: MEM 110 SAS 108
Wow, just wow. This was pretty much a must win game for Memphis as falling behind 3-1 to the Spurs would be an extremely tall task to comeback from. The Grizzlies played very well in game three and would need a similar performance in game four to even up the series. The Spurs got off to a good start to get out to an 11-5 lead while Tony Parker did a great on running the offense. The Grizzlies offense really struggled early on in the game as they fell behind 24-14, but after a timeout they made a quick 7-0 run which included a Mike Conley three to cut the lead to three. After the first quarter it was 26-23. Conley had nine points in the opening quarter while Memphis shot 10-19 in the opening frame.
JaMychal Green started off the second quarter with a game tying three. Andrew Harrison struggled at times but he had an amazing play during the second quarter as he ripped the ball away on a trap down low from Lamarcus Aldridge and then went coast to coast and converted on an and-one finish at the rim. The Grizzlies continued to score the ball very well as they took the lead for awhile in the quarter but could pull away because of how well Parker was playing for the Spurs. He was scoring the ball at will during the quarter as he ended the half with 14 points. Kawhi also had a solid half for the Spurs as he lead them in scoring with fifteen points even though he did struggle at times in the second quarter. It went back and force to end the quarter including a great and-one three by Conley even though he missed the free throw. Vince Carter hit some big shots as he scored 11 in the first half. Marc Gasol hit a big fade at the buzzer to end the half to put Memphis up 55-51 at the break. Memphis shot 21-42 in the first half while the Spurs shot 19-42.
The second half started sloppy but then the Grizzlies started to get into a rhythm as they were hitting shots and really putting pressure on the Spurs. They went up 64-55 but the Spurs immediately responded tying the game back up at 64. JaMychal Green hit a three late in the third which put Memphis up 74-71 going into the final quarter. Conley got a nice bucket to start the quarter followed up by a huge Troy Daniels three to go up 79-71. Some more buckets extended the lead to 10 at times but, just like before, the Spurs battled back and got it to 83-80. Then, Kawhi Leonard happened.
The Spurs quickly tied the game up at 88 largely because of how Kawhi picked it up on both ends of the floor. The Spurs even took the lead 91-88 as Kawhi hit so many huge three pointers in the 4th. The Grizzlies then made back-to-back buckets to go up 92-91 with about a minute left in the game. Kawhi hit a humongous three pointer to put the Spurs up by two but then Marc Gasol got fouled but Aldridge a few seconds later and he went to the line and tied the game. Kawhi hit another huge shot to take a two point lead. Mike Conley then hit another huge floater just like he did so many times all game long. Kawhi missed a game winner attempt as time expired, sending the game into overtime.
Overtime was back and forth the whole way. Each team made a couple quick baskets to get it going as it was tied at 100 for almost two minutes. After Kawhi hit a huge jumper to take a 2 point lead, Conley turned it over which lead to a Spurs run, but Andrew Harrison gave extra effort to make a huge game saving block which then lead to a 3 on 1 break the other way for Memphis where Marc Gasol converted an and-one to take the lead. Mike Conley then hit another huge shot to go up by 3 with 47.3 sec. A Kawhi turnover gave it right back to Memphis but Conley missed a free throw so Memphis was only up 4 which Kawhi took advantage of and hit another huge three to cut it to one. Harrison went down and hit a pair but the Spurs put Kawhi in the corner beside Mills on the wing and the defense attracted to Mills and he found Kawhi wide open in the corner to tie up the game.
For the Grizzlies’ final possession, they threw the ball in to Conley but with Kawhi on him he wasn’t going to be able to do much so he gave it to Gasol at the top of the key with just a few seconds left. He had to go quick, he went into Aldridge and had to take a tough shot but he hit it. With 0.7 seconds left he hit the game winner. The Spurs had no timeouts so there was no real chance to get a real shot. The Memphis Grizzlies tied the series up at 2-2. And we have a real series. Best of three series. It’s gonna be fun. 22 turnovers is very concerning though especially after only having five in the game three win. If the Grizzlies keep hitting shots like they have they will have a chance to win this series. Either way this is a huge win and give Memphis the momentum heading back to San Antonio.