The Grizzlies came out swinging on Wednesday, knowing that they were on a SEGABABA and needing to make a difference early on. Their starting lineup set the pace and an inspired Vince Carter came off the bench to extend the lead, which at its highest eclipsed the 20-point mark. The Spurs looked lost without Tony Parker, getting into their sets late and playing right into Memphis' defense strengths by not being assertive. After one, the Grizzlies led by 15, 34-19.
The Spurs are too good a defensive team to allow so many points. Their defense tightened up and allowed only 18 points in the second frame. Manu Ginobili and Marco Belinelli scored eight points each to give the offense a jolt while the Grizzlies struggled to get going once Carter came back to earth. Slowly but surely San Antonio chipped away at the lead until a Manu Ginobili three-pointer (he was fouled but couldn't convert) trimmed it to seven, 52-45.
Ginobili started at point guard in the second half next to Marco Belinelli while Cory Joseph and Kyle Anderson came off the bench. Yet the third quarter had a Groundhog Day-ish feel to it, as the Spurs allowed the Grizzlies to get a quick double-digit lead before Manu and the bench unit came to the rescue. The Spurs pulled themselves together and went into the fourth quarter down only five.
San Antonio had the momentum going for them and made it count. They tied the score quickly and the two teams traded buckets for most of the frame. Danny Green hit a three-pointer with two seconds to go that would have been the game-winner in almost any game. But Marc Gasol hit this unbelievably lucky shot to send the game to overtime.
Neither team could win it in the first extra period. The Spurs should have but their free throw woes (13-27 for the night, 2-6 in the first OT) prevented them from creating separation. Marc Gasol sent it to second overtime, where the Grizzlies could have taken it if not for a Duncan shot that was every but as lucky as Gasol's three in the last play of regulation.
The Spurs ran out of fuel in the third overtime, their first in over 20 years. Zach Randolph came alive with six points on a perfect 3-3 from the floor to give the Grizzlies a hard-fought win as Ginobili took a dumb, unnecessary three-pointer down one and missed. The Spurs fall to 17-9 for the season and will face the Trail Blazers in San Antonio on Friday.