“George didn’t have a good game. Timmy didn’t have a good game. I didn’t have a good game,” said San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili after his team fell to Memphis (34-28) tonight 93 to 109.
This was the Spurs' first game without starting point guard Tony Parker, who is out for the next two-to-four weeks with a strained calf muscle.
“He is a very important part of who we are,” Ginobli said after the game.
That was especially apparent after tonight's loss.
George Hill started in place of Parker and scored as many points (6) as he had turnovers (6). Hill wasn’t the only starter who struggled in the game. None of the Spurs starters scored in double digits. In fact, only Gary Neal, who was returning from concussive symptoms, was able to score more than 10 points.
The Spurs opened the game with a Ginobili to Blair alley-oop layup. Ginobili and Hill wowed the Grizzlies' crowd with two half-court bounce passes that were 20 plus feet long.
The Spurs had seven turnovers early in the game and would keep the trend going throughout the night. Richard Jefferson had a pass intercepted by Memphis guard Mike Conley for an easy two points. Conley would continue this routine through the game as he ended the game with three steals.
Role players Chris Quinn and Tiago Splitter came off the bench and immediately scored a combined seven points for the Spurs. Ginobili closed the first quarter by driving to the left side of the paint and converting an “and one” with three seconds left as the Spurs trailed the Grizzlies 30 to 32.
After a sequence of three turnovers and falling behind 11 points, Tim Duncan brought the Spurs back with a 5-0 run and the Spurs were only down 6 points, midway through the second quarter.
Antonio McDyess came off the bench and had a big second quarter scoring seven points by driving in the paint, getting fouled and getting to the line. He was also knocking down his patented 15-foot jumper.
Midway through the second quarter, Marc Gasol received his second technical foul and was ejected.
Gasol's absence didn't appear to help the Spurs, as they continued to turn the ball over in the second quarter and went into halftime down 52 to 61.
DeJuan Blair scored four quick points to open the third quarter, but the slight momentum would not last as more turnovers resulted in a 13 point Grizzlies lead midway through the quarter.
By the end of the third quarter, the Spurs trailed 67 to 83. The team added six more turnovers in the quarter to their overall number of 20. The Spurs offense was non-existent as the team could only score 15 points in the quarter.
The Grizzlies began the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run. The Spurs fell behind by as many as 25 points. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called it a night for the entire starting unit as he elected to just play the reserves.
The only positive in the fourth quarter was the fact that bench players like Neal, Anderson, Quinn, Splitter and Novak matched the Grizzlies starters in points (26-26) through the quarter. The Spurs only had two turnovers in the fourth quarter, yet it was too little to late.
With the loss, the Spurs fell to 49-11. The team will look to get win number 50 in Cleveland on Wednesday night against the Cavaliers.
- The Grizzlies outrebounded the Spurs 42 to 39.
- Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
- All five Spurs starters combined for just 40 points.
- Spurs defensive woes? In every quarter the Grizzlies scored over 20 points.
- In his return from injury, Spurs rookie Tiago Splitter scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds.
- All three Spurs rookies (Neal, Anderson and Splitter) scored a combined 28 points.
- The Grizzlies shot 53% from the field without making a single three pointer (0-5).
This just shows how Tony Parker is so important to the Spurs. But I believe the Spurs will be able to win games while he is out. I just hope he comes back from injury sooner or later.
The Spurs gave up after the third quarter as they did not play all the starters in fourth quarter. The good thing is the bench players get some playing time and actually matchup well against the Grizzlies.