Grizzlies pull within 2-1 of Spurs with 105-94 win
Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) drives against San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
By Teresa M. Walker, Associated Press
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Conley scored 24 points and handed out eight assists as the Memphis Grizzlies snapped a 10-game postseason skid against San Antonio by routing the Spurs 105-94 on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time).
The Grizzlies pulled within 2-1 in this first-round Western Conference series, giving first-year coach David Fizdale his first postseason victory. This also marked the Grizzlies’ first win over the Spurs in the playoffs since April 2011, when Memphis beat San Antonio in six games.
Game four is Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time).
Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph each scored 21 points for Memphis, which outscored San Antonio 31-17 in the third quarter and led by as much as 22 in the second half.
Kawhi Leonard, who scored 32 and 37 in the first two games, was held to 18. LaMarcus Aldridge added 16, and Kyle Anderson had 15 as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich benched his starters for most of the fourth quarter.
Memphis fans roared when Fizdale came onto the court before the game following his rant against officiating in game wo, which cost him a $30,000 fine from the NBA. And they stayed on their feet much of the night, funneling their frustration into yelling for the Grizzlies and against the officials.
In this game, the Spurs had a big edge at the line in the first half (10-of-15) compared to the Grizzlies, who took only four free throws the entire first half. The crew of James Capers, Courtney Kirkland and Pat Fraher whistled the Spurs for only one foul in the second quarter — with 10.9 seconds left.
But Randolph scored 11 points in the second quarter, and the Grizzlies took a 50-46 lead into halftime. Then they really took control, opening the third by hitting 10 of their first 14 shots. They also played much better defense, harassing the Spurs into missing 11 of their first 17 in the quarter.
Popovich tried pulling his starters completely at one point, then simply sat down at others.
Spurs: Manu Ginobili became the first second-round draft pick to play 200 career playoff games. The Spurs shot an NBA-best 87.7 percent at the free throw line through the first two playoff games. They finished 16-of-28 (57.1 percent).
Grizzlies: Fizdale stuck with the lineup that worked in the second half of game two when Memphis outscored the Spurs 45-40 despite losing. That meant Randolph and James Ennis both starting. This was just the sixth start for Randolph, who had 19 double-doubles off the bench during the regular season. He scored 11 points in the second quarter and even had a rare dunk.
The Spurs have dominated the postseason against Memphis, sweeping all three of the series San Antonio won with the exception of 2011. The third game of each series has been tight with three decided by single digits, and game three of the 2013 West finals went to overtime before the Spurs won 104-93. The Grizzlies' lone win in that span in the third game of any series with San Antonio came in 2011 when they won in six games.