NBA Western Conference Finals: Spurs Charge Back from Early Deficit Against Grizzlies, Win 104-93 in Overtime

2013 NBA Playoffs
2013 NBA Playoffs
May 25 2013 Memphis TN USA San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili 20 celebrates with center Time Duncan 21 after an overtime win against the Memphis Grizzlies in game three of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at FedEx Forum San Antonio defeated Memphis 104 93 Nelson Chenault USA TODAY Sports

The NBA’s Western Conference Finals moved to Memphis for Game 3 on Saturday. The Grizzlies started out strong but fell apart late. Here’s the recap from last night’s overtime contest.

San Antonio pushes Memphis to the brink of elimination with 104-93 overtime win
Early on in Game 3, it appeared that a home atmosphere was just what the Memphis Grizzlies needed to get back into their series with the San Antonio Spurs. But by the end of the game, the result was the same as in the first two contests – a Spurs’ victory as the team pulled out a 104-93 win in overtime.

Memphis jumped on San Antonio at the onset, opening up a 16-point 29-13 lead after the first quarter. To say nothing went right for the Spurs in that opening period would be a gross understatement. The team shot only 4-19 from the floor in the first quarter and had eight turnovers. It took San Antonio more than four minutes before they scored their first points and things got so bad that coach Gregg Popovich yanked all five of his starters with just under five minutes to play and the team trailing 16-5. Things, though, actually got worse as the Memphis lead only continued to grow.

The Spurs making a comeback wasn’t unexpected, of course. But San Antonio didn’t waste any time, going on an 11-2 run to start the second quarter. And after a 9-2 run to close out the half, the Spurs were only down by four at the break. Memphis didn’t back down and the game remained close throughout the second half.

Both teams had chances to win just before the end of regulation. Trailing by one with only 33 seconds left in the game, Memphis’ Tony Allen drew a foul to get to the line. But he made only one of his two free throws and the game was tied at 86. Manu Ginobili then missed a three-pointer for the Spurs and at the other end, Mike Conley missed a shot as time expired.

Memphis scored seven points in overtime, but it wasn’t nearly enough. San Antonio finished the game just as hot as they began it cold, shooting 8-10 from the field in the extra session to go up 3-0 in the series.

In overtime, you just had that feeling the Spurs would come away with the win. They’re by far the more experienced postseason team and while Memphis had home court advantage, San Antonio has just been there and done that a million times.

Just as it has been so many times over the course of their careers, it was Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Ginobili leading the way for the Spurs. Parker led all scorers with 26 points, while Duncan added 24 points, ten rebounds, and five assists. Ginobili led all reserves with 19 points, and added seven rebounds and five assists. It wasn’t an entirely clean performance for San Antonio. There was the ugly first quarter and the team also had 17 turnovers. But in the playoffs, it’s all about surviving and the Spurs did that on Saturday.

On the losing side, Memphis got big performances by frontcourt mates Marc Gasol (16 points and 14 rebounds) and Zach Randolph (14 points and 15 rebounds). Conley led the Grizzlies in scoring with 20 points.

For Memphis, the series is all but over. They’ve been mostly competitive, so winning a couple of games with their backs to the wall isn’t out of the realm of possibility. But to win four straight over a team with so much playoff experience seems unlikely. Even though the Grizzlies have forced the Spurs to overtime twice, it’s all about how you finish those games. And they’ve yet to prove they can close out a game against San Antonio.

The teams will face each other again in Monday’s Game 4 in Memphis.

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Anson Whaley
Anson Whaley is a freelance writer with more than 16 years of experience. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and a current member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). Mr. Whaley has also been a credentialed member of the media for various events. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');