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VOL. 129 | NO. 5 | Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Grizzlies’ Gutsy Comeback Falls Short

By Don Wade

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Fans had reason to cheer when the Grizzlies’ overtime game with the San Antonio Spurs ended Tuesday, Jan. 7, at FedExForum.

Shooting guard Courtney Lee – just acquired from Boston for guard Jerryd Bayless – scored 12 points in his Grizzlies’ debut Tuesday, Jan. 7. Despite a late rally during regulation play, the Grizzlies lost to the San Antonio Spurs in overtime.

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

The home team had rallied from a 16-point deficit with 5:25 to play, and made up a 12-point gap in the last 1:59 of regulation. During a wild 14-2 run in those last two minutes, point guard Mike Conley scored nine of his season-high 30 points.

For a little while, The Grindhouse felt like The Grindhouse again.

But as has happened too often in this series over the years, Spurs guard Manu Ginobili delivered in the clutch. His driving layup with 1.8 seconds left in overtime gave the Spurs a 110-108 victory; Conley’s 29-foot 3-point attempt at the buzzer glanced off the rim.

The fans who had not headed for the exits at the two-minute mark – or earlier – applauded the team’s effort.

“I was proud of the effort at the end,” said Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger. “We kept coming. We started to attack them the way we needed to attack them, which was in transition and with quick (plays). I thought we played pretty hard. We were just too slow in the first half.”

Conley agreed.

“We started playing free,” he said of the 23-7 run that closed the fourth quarter. “Guys were doing a little less thinking. We got up and down. We turned them over a few times. We just tried to make plays sooner than later. If you walk the ball up the court against a good defensive team, they will make you pay.”

The Grizzlies (15-19) saw their record against Southwest Division teams fall to 0-9, with three of those losses courtesy of the Spurs (27-8). San Antonio also owns the league’s best road record at 14-3.

Many teams might have folded after blowing the big lead. Not the Spurs.

“Your spirits are down,” admitted forward Tim Duncan, who led the Spurs with 24 points and 17 rebounds. “You can’t believe it. We did a great job of getting in the huddle and getting everybody refocused to get this done and not let it slip out of our hands again.”

Shooting guard Courtney Lee – just acquired from Boston for guard Jerryd Bayless – scored 12 points in his Grizzlies’ debut and hit 2-of-5 from 3-point range.

“When we got down we didn’t get rattled,” Lee said. “We continued to fight. If it’s going to be like that night in and night out, I’m in a happy place.”

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