San Antonio did it again. Showing their Confucius-like calmness and poise that only a veteran team like the Spurs can, they whittled away an 18 point deficit to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 104-93 in overtime.
That’s not to say Marc Gasol and company threw away an easy win. Memphis came out fired up to start the game. After 10 minutes into the first quarter, as the Spurs trailed the Grizzlies 24-9, it looked as if Memphis would roll to an easy Game 3 victory as the period started just the way the Grizzlies needed – ugly. San An turned the ball over eight times and were held to 13 points.
Meanwhile, during an interview between the first and second quarters, a frustrated Coach Pop once again showed just how many fucks he gives about ESPN. Two to be exact.
Then, the Spurs calmed, took better care of the ball (only two TOs in the second) and slowly chipped away at the deficit. They began to find their rhythm on offense, starting the quarter off on an 11-2 run. By the end of the quarter, Pop’s bunch had outscored the Grizzlies 27-15, cutting Memphis’ lead to 44-40.
Truthfully, the 18 point lead never felt like more than a five point advantage. San Antonio is just so difficult to put away that it seems like no team can properly hammer that final nail in the proverbial coffin (See: Warriors-Spurs Game 1). And keep in mind it happened in Memphis, where the Grizz were previously undefeated during this postseason.
Old man Duncan ran up and down the court for 44 of the game’s 53 minutes and finished with a well-rounded, spectacular stat line (24 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists), doing just about some of everything. Yet, it was the way he came to life in extra stanza that sealed the deal. Really, the way his whole team executed in OT? Fahgetaboutit. The Spurs hit eight of their 10 shots in overtime, with Duncan scoring seven of his 24 points. Not even the mythical Heatles can beat the Spurs if the cylinders are moving like they were last night.
“He was huge for us the other night in overtime and got it done for us, and he did it again tonight,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the two-time MVP. “That’s why he is considered as great as he has for the last 17 years. He’s been unbelievable. He feels a responsibility to carry us in those kinds of times, and he did it again tonight.”
And on the other side of the ball, Memphis is looking up one Mount Everest of an 0-3 series. They’ve been with their backs against the wall already this postseason. The Grizzlies knocked off the Clippers after trailing 0-2 in that series. However, it’s always an appropriate time to remind everyone that no team has ever been able recover from three games down and the Grizzlies will more than likely be the next casualty.
San Antonio’s gunning for the broom, so they can rest for a few days while Miami and Indy keep enjoying their slugfest.