Jerryd Bayless' tough three-pointer from the wing fell woefully off line as the San Antonio Spurs staved off a furious comeback attempt by the Memphis Grizzlies and prevailed on Tuesday night, 93-89, to take a commanding 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals.
Missing 1-of-2 free throws was the only thing Tony Parker did wrong all night long, as it gave Memphis life in the waning seconds of overtime, but San Antonio made key stops and found a way to win.
After making a key block on Marc Gasol on the defensive end in overtime, Tim Duncan hit a jumper in the lane that hit every part of the rim and backboard before falling in to give the Spurs a four-point lead with 1:08 remaining. On the next sequence, the Grizzlies grabbed three offensive rebounds before Bayless hit a jumper at the top of the key to cut the lead to two with 16.9 seconds remaining in the extra frame.
That was nothing compared to the drama to end regulation, however.
A controversial play involving Tony Allen and Manu Ginobili allowed the Memphis Grizzlies to complete an improbable comeback and take things into overtime. Ginobili committed a questionably-called flagrant foul on Allen, who brought the game to within two after converting two free-throw attempts. Memphis then got the ball back afterward by rule.
On the next play, Mike Conley made a floater in the lane with 18.2 seconds remaining to tie the game at 85 apiece, thus capping a 15-2 Grizzlies run after San Antonio dominated most of the game. Tim Duncan had a chance to win the game but missed a tough look at the elbow as time in regulation expired.
The Grizzlies cut what was at one time a 18-point deficit to eight points on a thunderous dunk by Quincy Pondexter near the six-minute mark. He parlayed that jam into a corner three-pointer that hit nothing but net to bring the Grizzlies within five.
The Pondexter dunk is worth another look, as it was a key moment in the game:
But Ginobili answered with a drive-and-dish to Tiago Splitter that extended the lead back to seven. The Argentinian did it on both ends of the floor late in the game with a key block on Bayless shortly thereafter.
Tony Parker was the star of the game, finishing with 15 points and a career playoff-high 18 assists to lead the Spurs. Duncan added 17 points and nine rebounds, while Kawhi Leonard neared a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Memphis out-shot San Antonio by 14 shots, and they outrebounded the home team by a margin of 59-46. However, the large deficit proved to be too much for them to overcome in the end.
Mike Conley and Bayless took the scoring honors for the Grizzlies and finished with 18 points apiece, while Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol added 15 and 12.
The story of the first half was the Spurs' lock down defense. They held Memphis to just 25 percent shooting through the first two frames and kept them out of the paint, forcing them into tough, contested shots and low-percentage shots. Randolph and Gasol shot a combined 3-for-15 during that span and put a lot of pressure on the perimeter players to make outside shots.
The Spurs took care of the ball early on and only committed four turnovers in the first half. Additionally, they showed balance, as each starter registered at least five points. Parker knifed his way through the normally-stingy Grizzlies' defense to free up space and record eight assists in that time frame.
It continued in the third quarter, when Parker went wild and recorded an incredible eight assists to bring his total for the game to 16, which secured a playoff career-high for him. Through three quarters, the Spurs had a collective 4:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, which manifested itself in the lopsided score at the end of 36 minutes, 76-64.
By the time the teams entered the fourth quarter, the game appeared well in hand for the Spurs, as they had secured all of the momentum. However, the Grizzlies soon cut it to within single digits and ended up winning the quarter 21-9 to knot things up at 85 to end regulation.
The Grizzlies couldn't carry their momentum into overtime, however, as the Spurs took the period 8-4, finishing off the scrappy Grizzlies team to take a imposing 2-0 series lead as the series shifts to Memphis.