The San Antonio Spurs survived Elimination Game No. 1 on Wednesday, edging the Memphis Grizzlies by the slightest of margin at the AT&T Center to force a Game 6 back at the FedEx Center (9 p.m. ET, ESPN). Manu Ginobili and Gary Neal each hit clutch, difficult jumpers in the final five seconds to send the game in overtime, and San Antonio earned the victory there. But now the Spurs must win in Memphis, which they haven't done in two tries in this series.
Ginobili was something else in Game 5, racking up 33 points on 10-18 shooting and carrying the challenged Spurs offense. The Grizzlies have defended San Antonio beautifully, especially in transition. Tim Duncan continued to struggle in the pivot, needing 13 field goal attempts to score 13 points in Game 5. Duncan is averaging 12.8 points, 10.6 rebounds in the series.
Duncan's scoring numbers significantly lag those of Zach Randolph (19.6 points), and even Marc Gasol (14.6 points) is leading Big Fun. That's highly unusual; we expect to see Duncan score less than, say Dirk Nowitzki or Pau Gasol in a playoff series. But Z-Bo and Marc? Duncan's age is showing.
But there's something positively cucarachian about the Spurs; we've written their eulogy a dozen times, and each time they have laughed in our faces. Could this be the next false alarm? Be sure to check out our Spurs vs. Grizzlies hub for full series coverage. For more on the Spurs, visit Pounding The Rock. For more on the Grizzlies, visit Straight Outta Vancouver.