San Antonio Spurs survive near collapse to defeat Memphis Grizzlies

San Antonio Spurs Rudy Gay Derrick White DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
San Antonio Spurs Rudy Gay Derrick White DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /

The San Antonio Spurs are now two games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed after winning a close showdown in the Orlando bubble.

After the future of the NBA’s season seemed bleak for months, the San Antonio Spurs are taking advantage of their second chance. Behind double-digit scoring efforts from six different players, the Spurs held on to defeat the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies 108-106 in a win that not only kept their hopes alive but also catapulted them into a prime position to make the playoffs for the 23rd straight time.

The emergence of the Spurs’ youth movement in the Orlando bubble has been a beautiful sight. Injuries have allowed for heavy minutes for the likes of Lonnie Walker and Keldon Johnson. Lineups that you could only see in the dreams of Spurs fans have made the Orlando version of the Silver and Black look like a completely different team.

Dejounte Murray had it going on early, pacing San Antonio with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting and pulling down five boards. Patty Mills also saw his first action in the NBA’s restart, checking into the ballgame with six minutes left in the first quarter.

Mills made an immediate impact on the game, knocking down his first look from the corner and ending the quarter with a leaning trifecta. The Spurs used a 5-of-10 start from beyond the arc to establish a 31-25 lead after the first quarter.

As the game progressed, the Spurs more than held their own on the glass, pulling down 49 to Memphis’ 39 despite being overmatched size-wise. While San Antonio used big nights from Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, and DeMar DeRozan to keep the Spurs ahead virtually the entire way, a cold spell in the fourth quarter almost spelled disaster.

Dejounte Murray was huge in the fourth quarter, scoring six straight points early on to help the Spurs establish an 11-point fourth-quarter lead. Murray ended the game with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and there assists.


— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) August 2, 2020

The Grizzlies, however, immediately responded with a 9-0 run to set up another nailbiter. While Rudy Gay had his struggles throughout the game, his 3-pointer from the top of the key to stop the bleeding was a clutch moment for San Antonio to stay afloat.

As it did in game one of the restart, the game came down to DeMar DeRozan when it mattered most. DeRozan hit a tough step back jump shot with 22.9 seconds remaining to put the Spurs up 106-101, however, Murray had a costly mistake immediately after. After DeRozan’s big shot, Murray went to high-five DeMar as Ja Morant was sprinting back at full speed, allowing for him to cut the lead back to three.

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After DeMar missed two clutch free throws with 13.4 seconds remaining, Jaren Jackson Jr. tied the ballgame with an awkward-looking corner three. In the end, DeMar redeemed himself by drawing one more foul on Dillon Brooks, setting up for his two game-sealing free throws.

All in all, the Spurs are looking like a team that’s been given a second life with their quicker, younger rotations. The young guns are showing an inspired effort on defense while pushing the pace and playing looser on offense.

Jakob Poeltl has also solidified his spot as the most important interior player for San Antonio with his high IQ and excellent body positioning.

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The San Antonio Spurs are surprising everyone so far in Orlando, and they have a chance to continue to do so when they face the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday evening.