Saturday's NBA playoffs: Gasol lifts Grizzlies in OT thriller
Memphis, Tenn. — Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said he was an option to take the final shot and that the San Antonio Spurs thought so, too, on a night when he scored a franchise postseason record 35 points.
Marc Gasol laughed and insisted he didn’t know his teammate was an alternative on the game-winning play. Zach Randolph backed up his All-Star center, too.
“He told me he was going to get it and go to his fadeaway, and that’s what he did,” Randolph said.
Gasol hit a 12-foot floater with 0.7 seconds left in overtime, and the Grizzlies beat the Spurs 110-108 on Saturday night to even up their Western Conference first-round series at 2-2.
The Grizzlies won despite blowing a 10-point lead with 7:38 left in regulation and franchise postseason-high 23 turnovers that San Antonio turned into 31 points.
Gasol finished with 16 points after shooting 5 of 12 for the game. He also had 12 rebounds.
The Grizzlies overcame another postseason personal best from Kawhi Leonard, who had 43 points. He rallied the Spurs by scoring the last 16 points of regulation, but missed a 21-footer short of the rim with James Ennis defending him just before the buzzer ending regulation. Leonard also tied it at 108 with 17 seconds left in overtime with a 3 from the left corner.
“That was great game,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Both teams played their hearts out. Just a fantastic basketball game. The fans got their money’s worth tonight for sure. At the end, Marc made a great shot. L.A. (LaMarcus Aldridge) contested it very, very well, and it went down.”
Game 5 is Tuesday night in San Antonio.
Conley also had eight assists and nine rebounds. Randolph added 12 points and 11 rebounds, but was 4 of 12 from the field.
Tony Parker scored 22 points after being shut out in Game 3, and Aldridge finished with 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
The Spurs made all 17 of their free throws, a tremendous improvement from Game 3 when they were 16 of 28 from the line. Unlike Game 2, Memphis also got to the line more than San Antonio and was 22 of 24.
Leonard finished with 24 points combined in the fourth quarter and overtime in a thrilling game that also featured six lead changes and seven ties in the fourth quarter and overtime. Conley said it was scary watching the two-time Defensive Player of the Year and MVP candidate this season shooting away.
“He’s unbelievable,” Conley said. “It got to a point where you just knew if he got a shot off it was going in.”
Memphis coach David Fizdale was pretty impressed with his own guard who got a five-year, $153 million contract last summer in what was the richest deal in the NBA at that point.
“I don’t think we will be having a discussion about how much money he is worth,” Fizdale said. “I don’t want to hear about it at least. The guy’s a superstar.”
In overtime, the Spurs led 102-100 when Parker intercepted a pass by Conley and pushed the ball up-court. But rookie Andrew Harrison raced down to block Mills’ shot, and Gasol was fouled when he scored inside to tie it up. His free throw with 1:32 left put the Grizzlies up 103-102, then Conley hit a floater with 47.3 seconds left.
With Ennis defending Leonard, the MVP candidate committed a turnover when he lost the ball out of bounds with 43.7 seconds left. But Leonard’s final 3 tied it up one last time before Gasol’s big bucket.
“They were able to counter Kawhi going off and making incredible shots,” Spurs forward Pau Gasol said. “So you’ve got to give them credit. You’ve got to regroup and get ready for Game 5.”
More Western Conference
Golden State 119, (at) Portland 113: Stephen Curry scored 34, Klay Thompson added 24 and the short-handed Warriors overcame a slow start to take a 3-0 lead in their playoff series against the Trail Blazers.
The Blazers led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but couldn’t hold off the Warriors, who can clinch the series with a win Monday night in Game 4 at the Moda Center.
Golden State was without Kevin Durant, who was sitting for a second straight game cause of a left calf strain, and coach Steve Kerr stayed back at the team hotel because of illness.
The Warriors took a 108-100 lead after Andre Iguodala’s dunk with 4:05 to go.
Noah Vonleh’s dunk got Portland within four at 110-106 with 1:29 left, but Curry answered with a 3-pointer that all but sealed it, sending fans streaming for the exits.
CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 32 points, while Damian Lillard added 31.
(At) Atlanta 116, Washington 98: Paul Millsap scored 29, Dennis Schroder had 27 and the Hawks delivered an early knockout blow that sliced the Wizards’ lead to 2-1 in the series.
After two tight losses in Washington exposed some bad blood between the teams, Atlanta returned home and built a 25-point lead by late in the first quarter.
The Hawks were never seriously challenged by the Wizards, who were essentially a one-man team. John Wall kept up his dazzling play in the series, scoring 29 points, but the point guard got no help from his teammates.
The other Washington starters combined to score 30 points on 14-of-45 shooting.
Millsap also had 14 rebounds, while rookie Taurean Prince chipped in with 16 points.
Game 4 is Monday night in Atlanta.
Toronto 87, (at) Milwaukee 76: DeMar DeRozan scored 33 and the Raptors beat the Bucks in a defensive slugfest to tie the series at two games apiece.
Kyle Lowry had 14 of his 18 points in the second half for the Raptors, who turned up their intensity before a hostile road crowd after getting embarrassed in a 27-point loss to Milwaukee in Game 3.
Toronto’s tested backcourt reverted to its playmaking form, especially the resurgent DeRozan. He was 12 of 22 from the field after missing all eight of his attempts in Game 3.
The Raptors seized home-court advantage back in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 is Monday at the Air Canada Centre.
The game was tied at halftime before Toronto slowly edged away in the second half, building a 10-point lead with 4 minutes left on Norman Powell’s 3-pointer.
Tony Snell led Milwaukee with 19 points.