The San Antonio Spurs needed a last-second shot to come out on top of against a bitter conference rival. History shows they probably won’t need such heroics against their next opponent.
San Antonio looks to win its fifth straight overall on Saturday night when it hosts the Memphis Grizzlies, who will try to snap an eight-game losing streak at the AT&T Center.
The Spurs (19-10) have gone 10-2 since Dec. 4 to move into first place in the Southwest Division after a 2-5 start to the season. They’re also coming off a big 91-90 win over Phoenix on Thursday as Roger Mason hit a 3-pointer at the final buzzer.
Mason hadn’t played in the fourth quarter until coming in with 4.3 seconds left after Grant Hill had given the Suns the lead.
“As a shooter, you’re always prepared,” Mason said. “Coach put me in in that situation, and I knew if I had it, I was going to shoot it.”
“I thought Timmy down the stretch was absolutely spectacular,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “With five fouls, the defense he played down low when they were going at him - making the stop, getting the rebound and getting it out - I thought he was just magnificent.”
The Spurs’ last-second victory came after they eked a 99-93 win over woeful Minnesota on Tuesday—the Timberwolves’ 13th straight loss.
San Antonio has already beaten Memphis (10-19) twice this season, including a 109-98 home victory on Nov. 28. The Spurs have outscored the Grizzlies by an average of 12.0 points during the home winning streak that began after an 84-82 loss on Feb. 26, 2005.
The Grizzlies are looking to win back-to-back games after snapping a four-game skid with a 108-105 win over Indiana on Friday.
Mayo, who also had a career-high seven assists, hit two free throws with one second left. The Grizzlies trailed by 17 in the first half.
“That goes to show how much pride we’ve got in our team,” Memphis’ Mike Conley said. “We didn’t want to go out losing this game big-time, and playing the way we did in the first half.”
The Grizzlies had averaged 86.3 points during the losing streak with Mayo accounting for 14.0 points.
Second on the team in scoring at 19.8 points, Mayo has played well against the Spurs, averaging 29.0 points on 56.1 shooting (23-of-41) from the field.