NBA: Spurs take 3-0 lead, beat Grizzlies 104-93 in OT
Memphis, Tenn. • Tim Duncan is doing his very best to get the San Antonio Spurs back to the NBA Finals one more time.
The 37-year-old center took control in overtime for a second straight game, this time scoring the first five points as the Spurs rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 104-93 Saturday night.
That put them a win away from their first finals since 2007.
"He was huge for us the other night in overtime and got it done for us, and he did it again tonight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the two-time MVP. "That's why he is considered as great as he has for the last 17 years. He's been unbelievable. He feels a responsibility to carry us in those kinds of times, and he did it again tonight."
Duncan wants to get back to the finals after being on the verge last year. He said he was more aggressive in overtime after being a bit tentative with his shot in regulation.
"I'm not worried about how old I am or whatever, whatever it may be," Duncan said. "I'm very focused on having another opportunity to make it to a championship and try to win, that's all."
The Spurs grabbed a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals and now have won five straight this postseason. With the memory of blowing a 2-0 lead a year ago in the West finals to Oklahoma City, when they lost the next four, the Spurs shook off their sloppy play early and pushed the young Grizzlies to the edge of elimination in the first West final played in Memphis.
The Grizzlies knocked off the Clippers after trailing 0-2 and upset the West's top seed in Oklahoma City in the semifinals. Now their task is even tougher with Game 4 in Memphis on Monday night.
"We've been fortunate to get this far, and we've got to play better if we want to continue," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said.
Memphis set up for the final shot to win in regulation, but guard Mike Conley missed on a runner at the buzzer. He said he went a little too deep in the paint on the shot.
No NBA team has lost a series when leading 3-0.
"It is frustrating, but you know it gives us hope at the same time knowing that we can fight our way back," Conley said. "And we have had chances to win each of these games. This was a tough one to swallow, but it was a good learning lesson. There's no group of guys I'd rather be with down 3-0 to try to fight back in it."
San Antonio, which didn't lead this game until the opening minute of the fourth quarter, can wrap up the series Monday in Memphis and get back to the finals for a shot at their fifth title as a franchise.
"One of the best wins I've witnessed being a Spur," Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said.
The Spurs hit eight of their 10 shots in overtime, with Duncan scoring seven of his 24 points.
R The Spurs rally from an 18-point deficit to win at Memphis and take a 3-0 series lead.
• The Grizzlies shoot just 10 for 18 from the free-throw line.
• Tony Parker scores 26 points for the Spurs.
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