SAN ANTONIO – Final Update: San Antonio Spurs beat Memphis Grizzlies 116-103 in Game 5. Game 6 will be held in Memphis on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.
End of 3rd quarter update: Spurs lead Grizzlies 87-76. San Antonio outscored Memphis 32-27 in the quarter, but Grizzlies went on a late run. Kawhi Leonard has 20 points. Parker has 16.
End of 2nd quarter update: Spurs lead Grizzlies 55-49 at halftime. Tony Parker has 10 points, Kawhi Leonard has 12 pts and 5 assists. Memphis hanging around though. This is what you would expect from a Game 5 in the playoffs.
End of 1st quarter update: Spurs and Grizzlies tied at 23. Manu Ginobili has 8 points after not scoring entire series. Kawhi Leonard scored 5 points in quarter.
ORIGINAL PREVIEW STORY:
What looked like an easy series for the San Antonio Spurs after the first two games is turning into quite the battle as the Memphis Grizzlies gain confidence and find the win column.
The Spurs will try to take back control of the series and go up 3-2 when the Grizzlies visit San Antonio for Game 5 on Tuesday.
The second-seeded Spurs breezed to wins in the first two games at home but found a different Memphis squad on the road and dropped two straight, including a 110-108 overtime setback on Saturday night that wasted a historic performance from forward Kawhi Leonard.
San Antonio's MVP candidate scored the team's final 16 points in regulation to force overtime before Grizzlies center Marc Gasol buried the game-winner in the final second.
“That was a great game,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters. "Both teams played their hearts out; just a fantastic basketball game. The fans got their money’s worth, for sure. At the end, Marc made a great shot. [LaMarcus Aldridge] contested it very, very well, and it went down. The effort from both teams was marvelous."
The Spurs are focusing on defense and physicality for Game 5.
"Can't focus on our offense. I think we have to start this game with energy and great defense," said Tony Parker.
Seventh-seeded Memphis still needs to steal a game in San Antonio to win the series and dropped the first two at the Spurs by a combined 43 points.
The pressure is now ramped up for this crucial game.
"There is pressure on both sides, it's a big game both teams understand whats at stake. It's going to be a good one they are going to come our ready. They play very well at home and we haven't played that well here so were looking to try and turn that around here get off to a good start and try to do the best we can to steal game five," said Mike Conley.
TV: 8 p.m. CT, NBATV, FSN Southwest (San Antonio)
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES: Gasol hit the game winner but it was point guard Mike Conley doing his best two keep up with Leonard that kept Memphis in the game and helped them even the series. Conley set a franchise postseason record with 35 points in the Game 4 triumph and is averaging 24 points and 7.8 assists in the series.
"The guy’s a superstar," Grizzlies coach David Fizdale told reporters of Conley. "You’ve watched it happen this year, but now you’re watching it on the biggest stage with the biggest lights, and he’s really rising to the occasion. Can you think of a guy you’d rather root for? This guy is as good of a human being as you can get. Whatever good happens for him, I expect it, and I’m just really proud of his evolution as a player."
ABOUT THE SPURS: Leonard scored a career playoff-high 43 points in Game 4 to mark the third time in the series he either matched or exceeded a previous personal best. The San Diego State product went 7-of-10 from 3-point range and added eight rebounds and six steals while the rest of the San Antonio squad went a combined 2-of-20 from beyond the arc in the loss.
"Honestly, I’m taking suggestions on how to guard Kawhi Leonard," Fizdale told reporters. "I’ve tried everything, and the guy is just tough. Man, is he a superstar."
1. Grizzlies SG Vince Carter went 3-of-5 from 3-point range in Game 4 to become the first 40-year-old in NBA history to make at least three 3-pointers in a playoff game.
2. Leonard is 40-of-40 from the free-throw line in the series.
3. The teams combined to go 39-of-41 from the free-throw line in Game 4.