Grizzlies vs Spurs recap: All Grit, No Quit

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If I could only use one word to describe Wednesday night’s game in San Antonio, the word would be “amazing.” How else could you describe what was arguably the best game of the season thus far?

The Grizzlies came out strong and dominated in the first quarter, outscoring the Spurs 34-19. In that first quarter, there was a great run by the Grizzlies that like the one we saw against Golden State on Tuesday, was again largely facilitated by bench guys. Vince Carter, again with the hot hand, shot 3 of 3 from beyond the arc in the first quarter.

While it was a spectacular quarter for Memphis, it would be the only one in which we outscored the Spurs, until the 3rd OT.

San Antonio rallied in the second quarter and cut what was at one time a 23 point lead down to just 7 at the end of the first half. Marco Bellinelli and Manu Ginobli both came up big in the 2nd quarter for the Spurs, scoring a combined 16 out of 26 points.

Coming back after the half, the Grizzlies would go on a 10-0 run at the start of the 3rd quarter, and after that is when things started to get a little hairy. Danny Green made his presence felt from the 3 point line, and while he did not score for the first time until early in the 3rd, he finished the night with 25 points, with 7 of 13 shooting from three, including a clutch 3 pointer with 2.5 seconds left in regulation to give San Antonio the lead.

At that moment, it really looked as though the Grizzlies were done for, and a lesser team would have probably conceded defeat. But not this team, and not this time. Marc Gasol stepped up and saved the day, and banked in a 3 pointer at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime. It was just the 8th three point shot that Marc has made in his entire NBA career, and it was not a shot that he would have been expected to take, which I guess is why Manu Ginobli stepped aside and didn’t even try to stop it.

Gasol would step up again in a clutch moment near the end of the first overtime, making a layup that brought the score back to a tie and sent the game into a second overtime. During that second overtime, Gasol was responsible for 4 of the 9 points scored by the Grizzlies. Courtney Lee drilled in a massively clutch 3 pointer with 2.6 seconds remaining, giving the lead back to Memphis. But only for a moment, when Tim Duncan returned the favor from the end of regulation and fired off his own buzzer beater, which would send the game into a third overtime.

Neither of these teams was going to give up, they were both determined to keep fighting until the bitter end. The odds were not with the Grizzlies, who have struggled mightily against the Spurs, and were on their second night of a back to back. Even with what seemed like all the cards stacked against them, this team did not quit, and it was that dogged persistence that kept them in this game.

There was no greater embodiment of that persistence during the 3rd and final overtime period than Zach Randolph. Zach scored all six of the Grizzlies points in the 3rd OT, and you could see the determination on his face throughout. The Spurs have been excellent at shutting down Randolph, doubling and sometimes tripling up on him in the paint, but Z Bo would not be denied.

After 63 minutes of game time and what felt like an eternity, the Grizzlies defeated the Spurs 117-116.

It was a win that was two years in the making, but more than that, it was a huge mental hurdle that this team desperately needed to get past. Now that it has been cleared, anything is possible.

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Aimee Stiegemeyer

Writer/Editor/Nerd MVP at All Heart In Hoop City
Well-caffeinated pedant and purveyor of fine internet opinions on NBA & WNBA Basketball and Your Mom.

Doesn't bluff, stays grinding.

Bluff City Born and Memphis Made
Aimee Stiegemeyer
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