- Category: News
28 Apr 2011
- Written by Kelley Evans
|San Antonio’s Gary Neal rises up to fire an improbable three-point shot that deflated Grizz fans and snatched away a victory that was less than a second from being in the bag. (Photo courtesy of Clark Evans NBAE/Getty Images)|
The Grizzlies were not climbing the walls with excitement in the locker room after Monday’s win at the FedExForum that put Memphis up 3-1 in the first round series. They knew going back to San Antonio was going to be a battle.
Mike Conley and the Grizzlies took some heavy punches from San Antonio early and then started a drive to victory that came up short. See related stories page 13. (Photo courtesy of Clark Evans NBAE/Getty Images)
San Antonio forced the Grizz into a Game 6 via an overtime battle that ended in a 110-103 victory.
The game was a déjà vu for many fans. It was the same feeling they had three years ago with another Memphis basketball team. It was the 2008 NCAA Championship game when then Kansas’ Mario Chalmers (now with the Miami Heat) shot a three pointer with 2.1 seconds left on the clock that took the Tigers into overtime.
The Tigers lost.
Fast forward to Wednesday night with the Grizzlies and a game-saving shot opportunity in the hands of the Spurs’ Gary Neal.
Who? No matter.
With 1.7 seconds on the clock when the ball was thrown into play, Neal scored a three pointer that threw the game into overtime.
The Grizzlies lost.
The difference? The Grizzlies still have a chance to advance. Now with a 3-2 lead, Memphis needs just one more win. They face the Spurs at FedExForum on Friday.
The city will be rocking – again.
The Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival will kick off. No rain or thunderstorms are in the forecast. And yes, another playoff game.
Author and Grizzlies fan Marcus L. Matthews says that Beale Street will go bananas if the Grizzlies win.
“We’ve been waiting on a reason to rally behind the team,” Matthews said. “We’re not an easy sell, but we are loyal. But the determination the team showed earned the city’s respect. I think they have it now and think it’s going to last.”
NaTasha Taylor was in San Antonio at the game in. She’s a Celtics fan, however she supports her home team, the Spurs.
“In the first half I assumed the Grizzlies could win,” she said. “But the fourth quarter was amazing. Ginobili held the team together and is the leader; taking hits and body shots that led to the victory of the Spurs.”
Taylor is confident that the Spurs will bring the series back to San Antonio.
“The excitement and pride in the AT&T Center was madness and I am happy that I attended the game. There is still life in the Spurs and they will defeat Memphis on Friday.”
Hey, wait a minute say Memphis fans, Matthews among them.
“The momentum is still in Memphis’ favor. It took everything the Spurs had to beat the Grizzlies at their house,” he said. “That’s unlikely. It’s going to be hard to beat Memphis at the FedExForum.
Neal said the shot was drawn up for him.
“It’s playoff basketball,” he said.
Grizz point guard Mike Conley knows that line.
“It’s playoff basketball,” said Conley.
So let the battle of the fans and the teams begin.
Game 6 is on!
NOTE: Grizzlies Forward Zach Randolph led the Grizz with 26 points and 11 rebounds followed by Conley with 20 points, with Marc Gasol adding 11 points and a whopping 17 rebounds.
Spurs guard Manu Ginobili led the game with 33 points.