In an overtime thriller, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 93-89, to take Game 2 of the Western Conference finals and assume a 2-0 series lead.
The Spurs held a 12-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but the Grizzlies mounted a 15-2 run down the stretch to tie the game with 15 seconds remaining on a floater by Mike Conley. After outscoring the Spurs 33-30 in the third quarter, the Grizzlies torched the Spurs in the fourth by a margin of 21-9.
In overtime, it was the Tim Duncan show. Duncan scored six of the Spurs' eight points in the extra period and proved to be the difference.
Tony Parker finished with 15 points and a playoff career-high 18 assists. He did an excellent job of pushing the pace and penetrating the lane throughout. All five Spurs starters finished in double figures, including Tiago Splitter, who was an efficient 6-of-8 from the field for 14 points.
Duncan, who scored just six points in Game 1, responded with a clutch 17-point, nine-rebound, four-block effort in the win.
And, once again, San Antonio's perimeter trio held things down from beyond the arc. Kawhi Leonard (12 points), Matt Bonner (five points) and Danny Green (11 points) accounted for six of the team's nine three-pointers, pacing a balanced attack.
Manu Ginobili led Gregg Popovich's reserves with seven points and four assists.
Conley, who was in out and of the game early due to foul trouble, responded with a big second half. In 35 minutes, Conley tied a team-high with 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting.
Coming off of a 1-of-8 performance in Game 1, Zach Randolph responded in a big way in Game 2. Although he shot 33 percent from the field, Randolph was able to post 15 points and 18 rebounds.
Marc Gasol was the most active Memphis player on both ends of the floor, but was hounded by the Spurs' aggression in the post. The Spaniard finished with 12 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
Both the Spurs and Grizzlies struggled to create offense early (shooting 31.8 and 27.8 percent, respectively), as defense reigned supreme. Memphis was forced into four first-quarter turnovers, but Gasol's stout defense (two first-quarter blocks) buoyed the team.
With Conley in early foul trouble and Tony Allen struggling to produce offensively, Lionel Hollins was forced to turn to a backcourt of Keyon Dooling and Jerryd Bayless. Surprisingly, the move paid off as Bayless wound up posting a mark of plus-six in four first-quarter minutes.
Then, the second quarter happened.
Not only was the Memphis offense harsh on the eyes (34 percent shooting for the game), but the Spurs defense didn't do it any favors. As a team, the Spurs compiled nine first-half blocks, limiting the Grizzlies to 31 points over the game's first 24 minutes.
By comparison, the Spurs scored 31 points in the second quarter alone.
On the night, Bayless and Dooling finished with 18 and five points, respectively.
The Spurs took an early lead thanks to some brilliant off-ball cuts and precise passing.
Pro Hoops History @ProHoopsHistory
Spurs taking it back to classic 1950s basketball with little dribbling and lots of cuts5/22/2013, 1:15:21 AM
However, the pace favored the Grizzlies for the game's first 12 minutes. A deliberate, defensive battle will always favor the Grizzlies, as the Spurs finished the season ranked sixth in pace (per Basketball-Reference).
Jeff McDonald @JMcDonald_SAEN
This type of mucked-up game clearly favors Memphis, by the way.5/22/2013, 1:41:08 AM
Conley picked up two fouls midway through the first quarter, which forced Lionel Hollins to turn to Dooling rather early.
Hardwood Paroxysm @HPbasketball
Parker is licking his chops with Dooling on him.5/22/2013, 1:27:25 AM
Bonner is known as a three-point specialist, but his defense throughout the first two games of the Western Conference finals has been superb.
Hardwood Paroxysm @HPbasketball
Matt Bonner's play in the playoffs has just been phenomenal, on BOTH sides of the ball.5/22/2013, 1:51:17 AM
A wild sequence near the close of the second quarter resulted in a flurry of Grizzlies misses. Charles Smith flashbacks were in order.
Taco Trey Kerby @treykerby
Everybody on the Grizzlies is Charles Smith.5/22/2013, 2:09:48 AM
Dan McCarney @danmccarneyNBA
Grizz go 0 for 6 on that possession. Duncan with two blocks, Kawhi with one.5/22/2013, 2:10:57 AM
Can the Grizzlies muster the offense to pull out a couple wins back in Memphis? Find out in Game 3, on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.