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Spurs Roll Grizz in Memphis


Things looked pretty bleak for the San Antonio Spurs after Game 3’s opening stanza in Memphis. Down 29-13 against the rough-and-tumble Grizzlies after one quarter, with referee Joey Crawford lurking around the edges of the court, the only solace was the clock. Over the next three quarters and overtime, Coach Gregg Popovich leaned on Bexar County’s fabled big three and his pounding the rock philosophy for a gutsy 104-93 win. The victory brings the Spurs within one win of the franchise’s fifth Western Conference crown and a long overdue NBA Finals appearance.

The trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili combined for 69 total points against the Grizzlies, but it was Duncan who once again took command of the game in the extra period. Duncan delivered the first 5 points in overtime to spark the Spurs, in his own way capping off a perplexing few days. On Thursday he was named to the ALL-NBA First Team for the tenth time in his storied career, and on Friday the local daily put his marriage on blast for the sports world to see.

As the clock began to tick down on the Grizzlies season Saturday night, there was Duncan smiling and exchanging pounds with his younger teammates near the bench. After the contest, he went Rakim Allah reminding us all that, “It’s been a long time.”  More importantly, he displayed a hunger which, although implied, hasn’t been fully vocalized in a while. “I really want to get this one,” Duncan told assembled reporters. “Get back to the Finals. I want to win another championship.”

Back in December, as the Spurs circled another overtime win against the Grizzlies, the language was slightly different. "It's there -- and so are the other many years when we thought we had an opportunity, and we didn't," Duncan told David Aldridge reflecting on last season’s playoff collapse. "It is what it is. You play long enough, you win some, you lose some, and you get your heart broken sometimes. We had a great run. Luckily enough we started well [this season] and we think we can make another push at it."

The push continues for the Spurs on Memorial Day in Memphis. Don’t be surprised if overtime is again involved as the closing games in these contests are generally regarded as the toughest. Expect Duncan to make his presence felt, like he has over the past sixteen seasons, as surely as he clutches each game ball before tipoff.

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