Momentarily, the scoreboard read 95 - 95 after Manu Ginobili nailed an improbable corner shot, leaving 2.2 seconds remaining on the game clock. Pandemonium quickly ensued. But, as has been the case during this series, any positive energy or momentum was quickly zapped, popped, erased.
After carefully reviewing the shot, officials ruled that Manu’s foot was on the line. Thus, the shot was ruled a long two-pointer, 22-feet, instead of the 23-feet 9-inches required for three points.
The score was 95 - 94, Memphis.
Zach Randolph, known affectionately as Z-Bo, returned to a familiar fourth quarter spot - the free throw line. He calmly made both free throws, pushing the Memphis lead to three points.
97 - 94, Memphis.
Spurs ball with 1.7 seconds remaining.
Gary Neal got the ball well behind the top of the arc and took one final shot.
It was good.
97 - 97.
The Spurs won the overtime tip-off and Tony Parker didn’t waste any time connecting on a jump shot. Parker finished with 6 of the Spurs’ 13 overtime points and 24 for the game.
At a critical juncture in overtime, the Spurs were able to force a 24 second shot clock violation and they never looked back.
110 - 103, Spurs. Final.
The series returns to Memphis for game six on Friday night at 8 pm as the Spurs look to force a winner-take-all game seven.
Zach Randolph’s blank stare at the end of the game said it all. Just minutes prior he had put his finger over his mouth, motioning the AT&T Center to quiet down and pack it in.
A season saved in seconds.
And maybe, just maybe, a city and it’s team reinvigorated.