MEMPHIS - If the Memphis Grizzlies' new owners indeed want to trade Rudy Gay to ease their future luxury tax, they may want to consider the Griz's 101-98 overtime victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.
Gay's 18-foot pullup jumper with 27.8 seconds left in the extra period gave Memphis a 99-98 lead, and reserve Darrell Arthur added a breakaway dunk with 8.9 seconds left to give the Grizzlies (24-10) a playoff-quality win before a FedExForum crowd of 17,685.
The Grizzlies looked like they had the game wrapped up in regulation time when Zach Randolph made two free throws for a 95-92 lead with 3.5 seconds left. Memphis dropped its defense deep, and the Spurs, with no timeouts, threw an inbounds pass to guard Tony Parker that he collected on the run near midcourt on the left sideline.
He took a couple of dribbles and swished the game-tying three-pointer over Gay, who didn't want to foul.
Parker, who finished with 30 points for San Antonio (28-11) in the battle of the Southwest Division's top two teams, was virtually unstoppable. Manu Ginobili added 14 points off the bench, but the Spurs couldn't stop attacking Griz point guard Mike Conley.
While Gay scored a team-high 23 points and Randolph added 18 points and 10 rebounds, it was Conley's constant jabbing and probing that created offense for himself and his teammates. He finished with 21 points and five assists, hitting 10-of-10 free throws.
A point of emphasis for the Grizzlies was to convert Spurs' turnovers into layups. Ultimately, that's why they broke a basket-for-basket deadlock late in the first half to give Memphis a 51-43 lead at the break.
The Grizzlies scored 22 first-half points off 12 Spurs' turnovers, getting started early with birthday boy Tony Allen (he turned 31) scoring twice and assisting once on three of Memphis' first four baskets.
San Antonio overcame the quick loss of Tim Duncan to two fouls in the first 4:11 by having point guard Parker become even more aggressive attacking the middle.
After the Grizzlies led by as many as four points, a Parker three-pointer started a 14-7 Spurs run in the final 4:04 of the first quarter to take a 25-22 lead at the end of the period.
Neither team led by more than three points for most of the second quarter until Griz's lockdown defense resulted in a 8-0 spurt to close the first half. In the final minute, the Spurs missed three shots and committed two fouls and a turnover.
The Grizzlies built the lead to double digits, but Parker and Ginobili kept slicing into the heart of the defense. The longtime teammates combined for 15 of the Spurs' 28 third-quarter points, pushing San Antonio to a 71-68 advantage entering the final period.
Notes: Gay, the Grizzlies' leading scorer, has been mentioned more and more in talks of possible trades. Griz coach Lionel Hollins said he doesn't want the new Grizzlies' management to trade Gay, at least during the season. "I like my team," Hollins said prior to Friday's game. "We're 23-10. Why would I want to break up a team that's 23-10?" Hollins said he has talked to management about various things, but added, "That's their call. I can't tell them anything. I wouldn't do it, but it's not my call. It's like when (former majority owner Michael) Heisley brought in (Allen) Iverson. Those things are above me. I just coach whoever is on the team. If they break up the team and get rid of everybody, I'll coach until the season is over and then make a decision on what I'll do.". . .The Spurs are 2-2 in their last four games after winning seven straight. They've won four straight over the Griz, who eliminated San Antonio in the first round of the 2011 Western Conference playoffs when the Spurs were the No. 1 West seed. . .Memphis has seven of its next 10 games at home after sweeping a three-game West Coast road trip at Phoenix, Sacramento and Golden State. It was the first time the Griz swept a road trip of three or more games since winning all four games during a March 1-7, 2004 road swing.