MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—As much as the Memphis Grizzlies gave away in Friday night’s game, they almost stole it back at the end.
“We thought we had it in the bag there with a couple of minutes left,” Duncan said, “but that was a wake-up call for us.”
Added Manu Ginobili: “It was crazy.”
Memphis made it interesting in the final minute despite committing a season-high 24 turnovers.
Another 3-pointer by Miller cut it to one point, and Memphis trailed 81-79 when Hakim Warrick went to the line with 2.5 seconds left. But the rookie from Syracuse could convert only the first one, and Nazr Mohammed hit a pair of free throws for the final margin.
“I thought I got the rotation right, and it just didn’t fall for me,” Warrick said. “It’s tough, no matter what level you are on, coming in there with a lot of pressure. It’s just you at the foul line and thousands of fans watching and the game’s on the line. It’s tough to go out there and relax yourself, but that’s what you’ve got to do.”
The Grizzlies came to the Warrick’s defense, citing the other problems that put them in the position to need such a frantic comeback.
“There’s nothing he did wrong,” Eddie Jones said. “No blame is pointed at him whatsoever.”
“As disappointed as Hakim is in the locker room right now about missing that foul shot, we wouldn’t have been in the position we were in without him,” Memphis coach Mike Fratello said.
Ginobili was 3-of-4 at the line in the final 18 seconds and finished with 13 points for San Antonio. Michael Finley scored 11 for the Spurs, who have won 11 of 13.
“You always appreciate a win,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, “but the last minute of that one was pretty pathetic.”
The Spurs, who trailed by as many as 13 early, scored 26 points off Memphis turnovers. The mistakes also contributed to only 56 field goal attempts by the Grizzlies a franchise low.
The Spurs held a 45-42 advantage on the glass and had 15 on the offensive end, leading to a 15-2 advantage in second-chance points.
“We did a pretty solid job on defense,” Duncan said. “We got in the passing lanes, got some steals.”
Memphis built its early 13-point lead as the Spurs struggled from the field. San Antonio managed only four baskets in 20 first-quarter attempts. Meanwhile, Memphis was shooting 56 percent.
The Spurs cut into the lead with a 14-2 run in the latter stages of the half, and Memphis carried a 38-35 lead into the locker room.
Gasol led Memphis with 10 points, the only player on either team in double figures in the half.
Tony Parker was saddled with early foul problems and managed only five points and no assists in the half. He finished with nine points.
Duncan, who missed five of six free throws in the final 3 minutes, said the Spurs were lucky to escape the Memphis comeback.
“We learned a lesson here tonight,” Duncan said. “It was a cheap one because we still won, but we can learn.”
Memphis C Jake Tsakalidis made his first start of the season. … Fratello was called for a technical foul in the second quarter for arguing a call against Battier. Official Violet Palmer made both calls. Later in the quarter, Spurs F Bruce Bowen was called for a technical by Joey Crawford. … San Antonio has won all three games in the series this season. … San Antonio’s 12 first-quarter points was a season-low opening period for a Grizzlies’ opponent. However, Memphis would later tie its own season low for points in the third quarter with 11. … Duncan’s double-double was his 40th of the season, while Gasol had his 23rd.