The Spurs had squandered all but six points of a 14-point halftime lead over the Grizzlies midway through the third quarter at FedEx Forum on Friday night. That’s when center Tiago Splitter found himself alone with the ball 18 feet from the basket, the shot clock running down. There was nothing for Splitter to do but launch his version of a jump shot, something that never will appear in a how-to video. In the middle of his most productive game of the season, there seemed little doubt Splitter’s awkward-looking shot would be perfect, but it was the only Spurs’ score in a 14-2 Grizzlies run that tied the game at 59 and re-ignited the crowd. With the throng at full throat in an arena the locals call The Grindhouse, what followed was a cool response by Splitter and his teammates that re-established a healthy lead and quieted the rowdies. It also produced a 102-86 victory that pushed the Spurs’ win streak to nine games and ran their record to 11-1, the best start in franchise history. They’re tied with Indiana for the league’s best record. Splitter would finish with a season-high 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting that helped the Spurs survive Memphis’ third-quarter rally and a second Grizzlies run in the fourth. “The best part of the whole game was composure, because when they tied it at 59, the place was going crazy,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I think a lot of teams would have folded, but we just kept our composure and kept playing. That’s what I was most pleased with all night.” Popovich chatted with Tony Parker during a timeout he called less than three minutes into the third quarter, reminding his All-NBA point guard he needed to share the ball and create for his teammates. “I thought he was on the ball too much,” Popovich said. “What’s great about Tony is you can talk to him about that. He realized it and then came back in the game and made great decisions. He got the ball moving, involved everybody, spread the floor for himself and did a really fine job.” Eleven of Parker’s 20 points came after Memphis sliced a nine-point Spurs lead to 79-78 with 6:32 remaining in the fourth quarter. “That’s him making plays,” Spurs captain Tim Duncan said. “He made plays. He made shots. He’s our go-to guy in that situation. He made a 3-pointer behind a screen; he made all kinds of shots.
Spurs grind their way to 102-86 win over Memphis
San Antonio Express-News | Nov 23