(AP) Spurs blow late lead, beat Grizzlies 93-89 in OT
By JEFF LATZKE
AP Sports Writer
Tony Parker had 15 points and a career playoff-high 18 assists, Tim Duncan scored San Antonio’s first six points of overtime and the Spurs bounced back after squandering a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 93-89 on Tuesday night.
The Spurs took a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals with Game 3 on Saturday in Memphis.
Duncan opened the extra period with a layup, then made a tiebreaking putback on Parker’s missed jumper before making a runner that bounced high of the back iron and rattled in for a 91-87 lead with 1:08 to play.
The Grizzlies had a chance to tie after Jerryd Bayless hit a jumper and Parker missed one of two free throws with 14.6 seconds left, but Bayless’ 3-pointer from the left wing was off-target.
Bayless and Mike Conley each had 18 points to lead Memphis.
Duncan had 17 points and nine rebounds, missing most of the second half with foul trouble before coming up with the key baskets in overtime.
Memphis stormed back from a 13-point deficit with a 15-2 run over the final 8 minutes of regulation to tie it at 85 on Conley’s runner in the lane with 18.2 seconds to play. The Grizzlies got the chance to pull even after Manu Ginobili was called for a flagrant foul for pulling down Tony Allen by his left arm on a fast-break layup try.
Allen hit both free throws and Memphis got possession, setting up Conley’s tying basket at the end of a string of seven straight Grizzlies points.
But Memphis, which trailed by as much as 18 in the second half, could never pull ahead.
Up until the final stretch, Parker had been in control for 2 1/2 quarters.
Parker kept San Antonio humming along after Duncan went to the bench with four fouls, the last three picked up within a span of 30 seconds, early in the third quarter. Parker provided the assist on the Spurs’ first seven baskets of the second half, an then scored the next two on mid-range jumpers before getting pulled for a rest with a 72-54 lead.
The Grizzlies mounted a 16-6 comeback while Parker was on the bench, getting as close as 78-70 after Zach Randolph scored inside following back-to-back Bayless jumpers.
Parker checked back in and soon had the lead growing again, ducking under Darrell Arthur to hit a floater and then knocking down a 3-pointer from the right wing to make it 83-70 with 8:14 to play. But then Parker finally went cold, missing five straight shots down the stretch as the Grizzlies rallied back.
He had 14 assists in the second and third quarters and went past his career-high for the regular season of 17 during overtime.
After Game 1, Memphis’ guards outlined a game plan that involved picking up their defense earlier on Parker to keep him from getting into the lane and putting the Grizzlies into the scramble mode that allowed San Antonio to hit a franchise playoff record 14 3-pointers in the opener.
It wasn’t until late that any of their plans started working. And then, Duncan _ who missed a potential winning jumper from the left wing at the end of regulation _ took over.
The Spurs put all five starters in double figures, getting 14 points from Tiago Splitter, 12 from Kawhi Leonard and 11 from Danny Green.
Randolph had 15 points and 18 rebounds after a two-point performance in Game 1, his lowest-scoring effort all season. Marc Gasol had 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Coach Lionel Hollins talked before the game about wanting the Grizzlies _ getting increased attention in their first Western Conference finals appearance _ to avoid being like a boy in junior high school who suddenly decides he needs to change once he gets noticed by a pretty girl.
Memphis, with the league’s best defense, looked like itself again early on while recovering from a 7-0 hole to turn it into a 15-13 slugfest after the first quarter. But after the Grizzlies went ahead for the first time, San Antonio surged back ahead with seven straight points _ including Matt Bonner’s two-handed block against Conley and then a jumper by the red-headed sharp-shooter.
The Spurs then asserted control with back-to-back 3-pointers from Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard to go up 46-30 before Bayless broke a 4 1/2-minute scoreless stretch by the Grizzlies with a free throw with a half-second left in the first half.
Notes: There was a moment of silence before the game recognizing the deadly tornado that hit Moore, Okla., on Monday. … The Grizzlies missed five shots on their next-to-last possession of the first half. Tony Allen’s baseline drive was snuffed out by a Leonard block and he also missed the putback before Randolph missed two putback tries _ one of them blocked by Duncan. Tony Wroten then missed the final follow shot. … Parker’s previous career best in the playoffs was 14 assists against Utah on May 22, 2007. Johnny Moore holds the franchise postseason record with 20 against Denver in 1983.