Memphis’ size was an issue for San Antonio last season. The Grizzlies outmuscled the Spurs at the post, but Thursday, the Spurs came prepared. After blowing a home game to a massive Lakers front line, Tim Duncan was determined to take his frustrations out on the Grizzlies.
Memphis was just as ready for San Antonio, though. Both teams from the get-go tried working in to the paint, and for the most part, Memphis had an answer for everything San Antonio fired at them. Tony Parker made life hell for Mike Conley and the Memphis back court. Parker was attacking the rim, and weaving his way through the skyscrapers in the middle. Parker finished with 13 points and nine assists.
However, Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo stepped up to the plate, and for a while, the Grizzlies looked like they were ready to run away with the game. A 13-0 Memphis run put the road team in good position, but in the last 40 seconds of the half, a Boris Diaw trey and, on the next possession, Diaw cleaned up a missed layup from Stephen Jackson. Diaw scored five points in 15 seconds, putting the Spurs within four.
It was the break San Antonio desperately needed, and as an added bonus, the hometown crowd got back in the game. Fired up and hoping to end the losing streak, an unlikely member of the Big Three was the game-changer.
When the Spurs need a scorer, fans automatically think Parker of Manu Ginobili. However, reminiscent of a Spurs team from a decade ago, Tim Duncan fought fire with fire.
Apr 12, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) takes a shot over Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (right) during the second half at the AT
If the Grizzlies were going to feed it to the low block, then Duncan was going to show he isn’t considered the best power forward of all-time for no reason.
Duncan put in 12 of his 28 points in the third quarter by doing the simple things. Duncan consistently made the fundamentally sound play tonight which is a vaguely familiar sight for Spurs fans. Simply making the right play has attributed to his successful 15 year career more than anything.
Memphis made one last push in the fourth, but the Spurs were not fazed by the late comeback and put away the Grizzlies, 107-97.
This win truly is a huge reason critics should rethink their position on Duncan. In a physical, aggressive outing with Memphis, old man Duncan held his own. Zach Randolph got his, but the Spurs stood strong; not allowing Memphis to push them around.
The Spurs crashed the boards just as well as Memphis, and the Spurs hit enough triples to compensate for opportunities missed due to a stingy Memphis defense capable of forcing turnovers.
San Antonio’s reward for bouncing back after two disappointing losses will be a day off Friday. San Antonio will return to action, in front of a national audience, against the Phoenix Suns Saturday night. It will be a later tip time than usual at the AT&T Center, and will be the Spurs’ second-to-last game with the Suns this season.
Game notes.Tim Duncan (28 points, 12 rebounds) posted his sixth 20-10 night of the season … Duncan blocked another two shots; his seventh consecutive game with two-plus blocks … Duncan went 8-of-11 at the line, his second higest total of the season The Spurs turned the ball over 18 times … they did, however, score 23 points off 15 Grizzlies turnovers … Manu Ginobili scored 20 points in 29:33, including a sparkling 11-of-11 from the free throw line … In 22:07, Matt Bonner posted a team-high plus-22 despite 1-of-6 shooting from 3 … Bonner earned more minutes than Blair, Diaw and Splitter … The Spurs shot 26-for-31 from the line; marking their fourth game with at least 25 converted free throws … Tony Parker (13 points, nine assists) nearly notched his 11th double-double of the season despite converting on 45.8 percent of his shots (free throws included) … San Antonio made 59.7 percent of all their shots compared to 50.1 percent for Memphis … The Grizzlies grabbed 11 offensive rebounds; they’ve done so 42 times this year .. Memphis only assisted on 41.7 of their baskets … In 28:07, Zach Randolph recorded his fifth double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) as a reserve … Marc Gasol’s efficient night: he shot 5-of-8 from the field, and posted his 24th double-double of the season (14 points, 10 rebounds) … Gasol also added five personal fouls, tied his career-high of four steals while dishing out three assists …