Marc Gasol's last-second shot lifts Memphis Grizzlies over San Antonio Spurs

By Don Wade, The Sports Xchange  |  April 23, 2017 at 11:08 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Kawhi Leonard was making everything, scoring San Antonio's last 16 points in the fourth quarter and finishing with a career-high 43 points.

The Spurs' young star hit 7 of 10 shots from 3-point range, made one-legged, fade-away jumpers and put his team on his back while scoring eight of their 12 points in overtime.

It still wasn't enough.

In the end, it was Marc Gasol's floating jumper over LaMarcus Aldridge with 0.7 seconds left in overtime that gave the Memphis Grizzlies a 110-108 victory over the Spurs on Saturday night at FedExForum to even their first-round Western Conference playoff series at 2-2.

"(Gasol) made the play that mattered," said Mike Conley, who led Memphis with a postseason franchise record 35 points and had nine rebounds and eight assists. "It's scary as hell watching (Leonard). He was unbelievable."

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said the same of the game.

"Both teams played their hearts out," he said. "Just a fantastic basketball game. The fans got their money's worth. Marc made a great shot. L.A. (Aldridge) contested it very well; it (went) down."

But one key shot right at the rim did not go down. With 1:36 left in overtime and the Spurs up 102-100, Spurs guard Tony Parker stole a pass from Conley and had a fastbreak with Patty Mills. But as Mills went in for what looked like a sure layup and a four-point lead, Grizzlies rookie guard Andrew Harrison blocked him from behind.

That started a fastbreak the other way that ended with a Gasol layup, a foul by David Lee, and a Gasol free throw for a 103-102 Memphis lead.

"That was the play of the game, other than Marc's," Conley said. "For a young guy to make a play like that, that's a five-point swing. We gave it up for him in the locker room, that's for sure."

Said Harrison, who also had seven points and three rebounds: "I just didn't want to give up on the play. I thought I had a chance to hit the ball and I did."

Leonard added eight rebounds, six steals and three assists to his stat line and his fade-away jumper with 12 seconds left in regulation gave San Antonio a 96-94 lead.

But Conley, who had 11 points in the fourth, answered with a floater in the lane with 4.5 seconds left to tie the game at 96. Leonard then missed a contested 21-footer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

It was a rare miss in the fourth quarter and overtime, where Leonard was 8-for-13 from the floor and 5-for-6 from distance.

"Honestly, I'm taking suggestions on how to guard Kawhi Leonard," Memphis coach David Fizdale said. "I've tried everything and the guy is just tough. Man, is he a superstar."

The Grizzlies overcame 23 turnovers that translated into 31 San Antonio points.

"You just got to keep playing," said Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, who had 12 points and 11 rebounds. "You got to go on to the next play, and the next play after that."

Gasol finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and four assists; he also committed seven turnovers. JaMychal Green had 14 points off the bench.

Parker had 22 points and five assists for San Antonio. Aldridge scored 13 points.

The Spurs shot 42.3 percent from the floor and went 9-for-30 from 3-point range (30 percent). Memphis shot 46.3 percent from the field while going 12-for-27 from distance (44.4 percent).

The Spurs had a 10-point lead in the first quarter and an opportunity to take away the Grizzlies' hope. But passing that first test set Memphis up for all the others that would follow.

"I learned a long time ago if you don't have mental stability when they punch you in the mouth, you're in the wrong business," Fizdale said.

"I thought we played well enough to win the game," Parker said, and then looking ahead to Game 5 in San Antonio: "It's a must-win situation for us now."

Conley says the Grizzlies view Game 5 the same way.

"Of course, we're in desperation mode," he said. "According to the media, we were supposed to be swept anyway."

NOTES: The Grizzlies' Game 3 victory on Thursday night snapped the Spurs' 10-game postseason winning streak over Memphis. The Grizzlies had not defeated the Spurs since Game 6 of their first-round series in 2011 when Memphis became just the second No. 8 seed in NBA history to eliminate a No. 1 seed. ... Spurs C Dewayne Dedmon missed Game 4 with an illness. David Lee started in his place. ... Memphis SG Vince Carter (13 points) became the first 40-year-old to make at least three triples in a playoff game, going 3-for-5 from long range.

Trending Stories