San Antonio started out scorching hot, but completely fell apart late in a very important loss.
SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs (18-52) completely dominated the visiting Grizzlies in the first half, but blew a 29-point lead late and fell in overtime 126-120.
Zach Collins, Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell all scored 20+ points, but Memphis won the second half 63-40 and went on a 9-0 run to close the game. It was a painful loss but an important one, as the Rockets won elsewhere and the Spurs fell behind them in the league standings that decide draft lottery odds.
Malaki Branham started over Tre Jones again, and opened the scoring for the Spurs with a three. Zach Collins found Jeremy Sochan in the corner for three more.
Sochan grabbed a defensive board and took it up the floor, acting like he didn’t see Keldon Johnson on his left. Sochan drew multiple defenders on the drive and whipped it to Keldon wide open in the corner for three.
Keldon chased down a loose ball into the backcourt, took it all the way up against Dillon Brooks with the clock winding down, pulled from deep and drilled it.
Zach Collins lobbed an oop to Devin Vassell, then Collins knocked down San Antonio’s fifth triple in the first five minutes.
Memphis called time, Vassell hit a three, and Memphis called time again.
Keita Bates-Diop hit free throws, then a three off a feed from Sandro Mamukelashvili. KBD knifed through the defense and laid it up and in through a foul, then hit the free throw. A few possessions later, Mamu soared in for an offensive board and Bates-Diop cashed in from deep, making it 11 points in a row for him and eight made threes for the Spurs in the quarter.
Mamu put back a miss, and the Spurs led 35-26 after one.
Photos: Spurs fall to Memphis Grizzlies
Blake Wesley hit Branham inside for a bucket, then made an extra pass to his fellow rookie for three. Wesley stepped in and took a charge, then poked a ball loose and forced a miss. Vassell made a middie, and Mamu made another great pass that won’t end up on the stat sheet.
Wesley turned the corner and drove, drawing multiple defenders before kicking it up top to Vassell for three.
Wesley drove again, skipped it across the court to the corner where Vassell swung it to Collins for yet another three. San Antonio built their lead up to 18.
Vassell got it to Collins for a hook shot, then faded for a jumper. Collins knocked his defender over with a strong post up, then crammed it down with both hands. Keldon drove all the way to the rack and laid it in off the glass.
Collins bullied his way between multiple defenders for another score. Zach hit free throws, then grabbed an offensive board that led to a corner three from Keldon.
San Antonio led 69-46 at halftime.
Jeremy Sochan didn’t play after the first quarter, and didn’t start the second half. The Spurs later reported that he was out with knee soreness.
San Antonio moved the ball well but created no advantage on their first possession. Keldon drilled a three anyway. Vassell hit another over the top of a defender, then Collins did the same.
Branham pumped, sidestepped and drained another.
Keldon scored inside through contact and yelled about it. A few possessions later he did the same for an and-1.
Gorgui Dieng poked a steal loose and fed an easy dunk to Blake Wesley. Mamu got a few offensive boards, but San Antonio couldn’t score. Memphis hit a buzzer-beater three to close the quarter, which they won 35-24 to pull within a dozen heading to the fourth.
Memphis started the fourth quarter on an 8-1 run and pulled within 5 before a three by Branham. Tre Jones drove for a physical layup, then Big Mamu skied for a board, made a heady fake and scored inside.
He doubled and stole it on the ensuing inbound, and made an absurd pass, but the resulting three didn’t go.
Tre Jones hit a floater to put the Spurs up 9. Mamu got fouled on a rebound and hit a free throw. Memphis hit a long jumper and a putback. With the clock winding down, Vassell hit a huge, deep three.
Zach Collins got called for a pair of costly offensive fouls late, and got a T after exchanging words with Dillon Brooks.
There was a jump ball on San Antonio’s end, and the Spurs won it but immediately gave up a three to make it a three-point game with 10 seconds left.
Collins got tied up on the ensuing inbound, Memphis won it, and Dillon Brooks drilled a corner three to tie it.
Vassell was way short on a three for the win, and San Antonio went to OT again. Memphis closed regulation on a 9-0 run, and won the second half 63-40.
Desmond Bane started the extra period with a layup. Keldon answered, then Ban hit again. Branham scored inside, then Bane got a few more makes. Collins drilled a three from the top to make it a one-point game.
Tre Jones poked a sneaky steal away, then found Vassell who cashed in for three. Keldon went for a charge and got called for a block. Pop challenged, but it was unsuccessful.
Tyus Jones put the Grizzlies in front by two, then his little bro got to the line on the other end. He missed the first, then Brooks hit a three and talked smack back to Keldon.
Memphis won 126-120, and with the Rockets beating the Pelicans, the Spurs went ahead of their in-state rivals in the race for Wembanyama.
The Spurs are coming off an overtime home loss versus the Mavericks, 137-128.
Keldon Johnson had 27 points and eight rebounds to lead the team while Malaki Branham added 20 points. Romeo Langford finished with 17 points and four rebounds while Blake Wesley had 11 points in the loss.
San Antonio was without Jeremy Sochan, Devin Vassell, Charles Bassey, and Keita Bates-Diop due to injuries.
“They did a great job,” Gregg Popovich said following the loss to the Mavericks. “A lot of guys got minutes. Combinations were a little strange probably, but their competitiveness and execution here and there were great. Really proud of them. They deserve to enjoy their evening.”
The Spurs will be in their City Edition jerseys today.
LOCKED ON SPURS PREVIEWS SPURS-GRIZZLIES
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
1. The Grizzlies have recorded more turnovers than their opponent in two consecutive games.
2. The Grizzlies are 2-17 on the road when trailing after the third period.
3. The Grizzlies are averaging 111.7 points per game in their last three games.
4. The Spurs are averaging 116.7 points per game in the last three games.
5. The Spurs are 9-26 against teams with above-.500 records this season.
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