MEMPHIS, Tenn. —
Memphis, which had a lead for only 90 seconds in San Antonio, opened up with its trademark grit and grind defense, forcing eight turnovers in the first quarter to grab an 18-point lead. The Spurs quit turning the ball over and whittled away that lead to set up a doozy of a fourth quarter where the teams swapped the lead 11 times with 10 ties — all in the final 17 minutes.
With neither team leading by more than two in the final 8 minutes of regulation, fans stayed on their feet, holding their “Believe Memphis” towels trying to will the Grizzlies to yet another win.
Manu Ginobili scored seven points in the quarter, and he put the Spurs back up first with a layup with 1:19 left and then a pair of free throws with 54.5 seconds remaining. But Ginobili also picked up his fourth foul, giving Tony Allen a chance to split free throws and tie it up at 86 for the ninth time. Ginobili then missed a 3-pointer with 20.9 seconds left with Allen getting the rebound.
Memphis set up for the final shot, but Conley missed on a runner at the buzzer.
Memphis went up by as much as 18 and was up 29-13 at the end of the first quarter.