Grizzlies 94, Spurs 88
“I expect to do the same thing with Duncan in,” Gasol said after scoring 27 points against the Duncan-less San Antonio Spurs in a 94-88 victory Tuesday night. “Obviously, his presence has a big influence on the game, but I expect to do the same thing with or without him on the court.”
Gasol and the Grizzlies dominated the middle, the third-year player from Spain scoring 10 points during a fourth-quarter comeback as the Grizzlies gained their 40th win of the season.
Gasol’s two free throws with 8.4 seconds left provided the winning margin in the Grizzlies’ sixth consecutive win. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the San Antonio, which hadn’t been beaten since March 1—also against Memphis.
Duncan, the league’s reigning MVP, remained on the injured list and missed his sixth game with a leg injury. While Memphis defeated the Spurs in three of four games this season, Duncan was injured for the last two and played only one quarter in another.
“It doesn’t matter; that’s hypothetical. It doesn’t exist,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said of not having his star. “What exists is what happened, and they did a heck of a job. It doesn’t matter that Tim’s here or not.”
Despite shooting 17-of-28 from the free throw line, Memphis won by its frontline dominance, outscoring San Antonio 56-26 in the paint. The Spurs also were hindered by 26 turnovers, matching a season high.
“(Duncan) is obviously the key for us,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. “He’s our best player, probably the best player in the league. So we probably could have done many things better.”
Tony Parker, who keyed a third-quarter comeback, led the Spurs with 24 points and seven assists. Malik Rose had 19 points and 14 rebounds, while Hedo Turkoglu scored 17 points and Rasho Nesterovic finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
If the Spurs’ 10 first-quarter turnovers weren’t bad enough, San Antonio opened the second quarter by missing nine of 10 shots. The Grizzlies took advantage and built the lead to 12 in the second quarter.
The Spurs reversed the trend in the third quarter. Parker scored 11 straight points for San Antonio, including a trio of 3-pointers, and by the time Nesterovic added a 15-footer to end Parker’s string, the Spurs were on a 24-9 run and eventually led 62-55.
Robert Horry’s 3-pointer to close out the third quarter gave San Antonio a 67-63 lead.
But the Grizzlies have shown they can close games, and Gasol led the fourth-quarter rally.
“They were more aggressive,” Popovich said. “I think they competed, in that respect, harder than we did. It must have meant more to them than it did to us. That lack of enough competitiveness, and the sloppiness with the ball,was our downfall against a very good team.”
Matt Carroll, who signed with the Spurs earlier this week, went through a bit of a numbers game. Carroll was originally given No. 13, until Spurs officials realized that number was retired in honor of James Silas. Carroll then was given 19 for the Memphis game, but is expected to be No. 3 by the time the Spurs play the Clippers at home Wednesday. … The Grizzlies announced that starting C Lorenzen Wright will miss at least two more weeks with a right knee sprain suffered against Portland on March 3. Mike Miller is listed as week-to-week with the back spasms that have sidelined him since Feb. 20. … Memphis coach Hubie Brown was the Spurs’ color commentator prior to the Grizzlies hiring him early last season. … The Grizzlies are 25-7 since Jan. 1. … The Grizzlies had seven steals in the first quarter, matching a team record for thefts in a period. … Rose had his fourth double-double of theseason. … Nesterovic had six blocks, one short of his season high.