After sweeping a three-game West Coast road trip, the Memphis Grizzlies returned home to face the San Antonio Spurs, where they won in overtime 101-98 on Friday (Jan. 11).
Facing a difficult back-to-back, the Grizzlies fell to the Dallas Mavericks (104-83) on the road on Saturday (Jan. 12).
Some say the Grizz's hard-fought game against the Spurs zapped Memphis' energy. Others see the loss as inexcusable.
Against the Spurs, the Grizzlies were a hard-working bunch. Fans at the FedExForum witnessed a playoff-atmosphere battle against a team Memphis had not beaten since Game 6 of the first round of the 2011 playoffs.
The Grizzlies fell to the Spurs in the last five contests. Meanwhile, the Spurs fell to 6 and 7 vs. Western Conference teams (13-9 overall) on the road this season.
Here is the final frame low down: With 19 seconds left to play, Grizz guard Tony Allen, who was celebrating his birthday, scored a layup to bring the score to 93-89.
Fans were partying. The energy was high. But the next few seconds caused jaws to drop.
Grizz forward Rudy Gay was fouled and missed both shots from the line.
In a two-possession game, that gave San Antonio room to do what it does best. Stephen Jackson entered the game and scored a three. Memphis' Zach Randolph went to the line and hit both shots. Tony Parker of the Spurs countered with a three at the buzzer to tie the game.
After Parker's stunner, Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins summed up the situation for his team this way:
"You can hold your head and feel sorry for yourself or you can suck it up and go back and win the game again," Hollins said he told his players.
"We got down, we fought back, and we did win the game. It was a good test of our mental toughness and our togetherness because we did stick together."
The game marked the second consecutive overtime for the two teams.
"It was a great game," said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. "It was competitive, physical and at times sloppy. It was two good teams who got after each other. I thought it was a good game. It was a back-and-forth overtime game."
Rudy Gay led the Grizzlies with 23 points followed by Mike Conley with 21. Randolph maintained his double-double NBA lead with18 points and 10 rebounds.
Grizzlies forward Darrell Arthur scored a season-high 14 points (three assists), which was noted by the Spurs.
"It seems like he (Arthur) doesn't miss a shot against us," Popovich said. "He knocks them down and he did it again tonight. He did a good job."
Spurs forward Tim Duncan weighed in.
"It seems like he (Arthur) always has great games against us," Duncan said. "He hit some big shots for them, and a couple in a row. He got the fast break in overtime to close it out. It seems like he always plays really well against us and is in his comfort zone against us."
Parker led all scorers with 30 points followed by Manu Ginobili, who pitched in 14 points. Duncan had 13 points and 15 rebounds.
The Grizzlies battle the Los Angeles Clippers tonight at the FedExForum. Rudy Gay will miss the game to attend the funeral of his grandmother.
Quincy Pondexter is still recovering from a left MCL sprain.
Before the Spurs game on Friday, Hollins addressed trade rumors by simply saying he'd rather keep the team together.
"I like my team, we're 23-10," he said. "Why would I want to break up a 23-10 team."
With the win against the Spurs and the loss against the Mavericks, the Grizzlies will go into tonight's game 24-11.