Another slow start, another game that saw the Spurs trailing early, this time to the Memphis Grizzlies by as much as 16 in both the first and second half. Once again, it cost them the rest of the game as they spent all their energy coming back and unable to build on the few leads they got. The young Grizzlies — who had lost by an average of 27 points in each of their road games so far — had an answer every time to ruin Tony Parker Night, handing the Spurs the 113-109 loss and dropping them to 5-5 as they face a daunting 6 of their next 7 games on the road.
- Until it was mentioned in the broadcast, I had no idea Jae Crowder’s father, Corey, was a former Spur. He only appeared in 7 games for them during the 1994-95 season, but it’s still and interesting trivia question for friends. That also means that along with Jaren Jackson, Jr, there are sons of two former Spurs starting for the Grizzlies.
- The Spurs’ first basket of the game was another Trey Lyles three, and on the very next play he could be seen calling for the ball again (although Bryn Forbes took the shot). He is getting more and more assertive on offense by the game, which can only be a good thing.
- The starters once again had a very slow start, getting down by double-digits midway through the first quarter. With so many shots rolling in-and-out over the last few games, it feels like it’s just a matter of time before they find a rhythm, but it’s still a trend that simply can’t continue. They did go on a 7-0 run before the bench started subbing in, but the reserves were even worse, allowing Memphis to go on a 15-6 tun to close the quarter up 35-22.
- The Spurs continue to struggle mightily guarding the paint. Jonas Valanciunas in particular had a field day with 18 points on the night, all in the paint. After being outscored 22-8 in the paint by early in the second quarter, the Spurs clamped down and allowed just two more in the half while also making a more asserted effort to get in the paint themselves instead of settling for jumpers. As a result, they cut what was a 16-point Memphis lead down to three at the half.
- Dejounte Murray may be a force in transition, but he’s still learning when he should just pull up and not try to do too much himself. A good portion of his turnovers consist of him trying to split two or three defenders and getting stripped or going for a fancy pass that he hasn’t mastered.
- After all the grinding the Spurs did to get back in the game in the first half, it was another lackadaisical start to the second half with the Spurs allowing a 20-10 run to get back down by 13. The Spurs only saving grace at the end of the third was – Marco Belinelli, who had a four-point play and another three before the buzzer to keep the Spurs within 11.
- The fourth quarter was extremely streaky. The Spurs went on 14-1 and 12-2 runs, but the Grizzlies always had an answer, and it all came down to who made the fewest mistakes late and was hot last. Unfortunately, that was Memphis, who finished on a 12-3 run after the Spurs had gotten up 106-101 with just under five minutes left. Perhaps the Spurs’ biggest error of all was letting a long rebound bounce — as in hit the ground — to Crowder for an open three, which broke a tie and gave them the lead for good. I would hate to be in the next film session.
- The last 30 seconds of the game was chaos. The Spurs were bailed out when Jackson stepped on the sideline on a made three that would have put Memphis up 114-109 with 25 second left, which the refs missed, but the required video review during the ensuing timeout overturned it. With the ball back and it being a two-point game, DeMar DeRozan got clobbered on his way to the rim with no call (Pop did not challenge for a review), Dylan Brooks hit both free throws, and Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins successfully got a foul called on DeRozan’s next drive overturned. This is where you don’t like the coach’s challenge: that second call for DeRozan was clearly a make-up call, but video review required the refs to take it back.
- If the Spurs did one thing right, it was holding Ja Morant in check. The rookie sensation and second overall pick in this year’s draft was held to 9 points on 2-12 shooting, mainly thanks to the defense of Murray and Derrick White.
For the Grizzlies’ fans’ perspective, visit Grizzly Bear Blues.
The Spurs are heading back on the road for three games, beginning with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. Tip-off will be at 7:00 PM CT on FSSW.