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Grizzlies, Spurs put close losses behind them ahead of tilt

Sportsnaut
Nov 7, 2022; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane (22) dribbles around Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams (12) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies and host San Antonio Spurs will both look to get back on the winning track after last-minute losses when the two Southwest Division rivals square off on Wednesday.

The Grizzlies travel to Texas after a 109-106 loss to Boston at home on Monday. It was the third game in four nights for Memphis, which suffered its first loss in five home contests and had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Memphis was within 107-106 following Desmond Bane’s basket with 3.5 seconds left, but Boston hit two free throws to pad its lead. The Grizzlies then failed to get off a potential game-tying shot when Ja Morant slipped on the final play.

Morant hit for 30 points that included five 3-pointers to pace Memphis. He tallied 14 of his points in the third quarter, when the Grizzlies outscored Boston 31-19 and carried an 85-84 advantage into the final period.

Bane added 19 points for the Grizzlies in the loss, with Dillon Brooks hitting for 13, John Konchar scoring 12 and Brandon Clarke amassing 10 points. Memphis played without center Steven Adams, who was a late scratch after rolling his ankle in the third quarter of Sunday’s victory against Washington.

“Not saying we’re fine with losing, but how we went out and fought no matter what guys weren’t out there was a good sight to see, and really, what we’ve been pretty much doing these last couple seasons,” Morant said.

“Just have to lock in more, make shots tougher, rebound and just continue to play our style of basketball for 48 minutes.”

The Spurs have dropped four straight games, including a home-and-home set with the Denver Nuggets. The most recent setback was on Monday at home, when Keldon Johnson’s 30 points and a career-best 20 points by Tre Jones were not enough to keep San Antonio from falling to the Nuggets 115-109.

San Antonio battled to the end in a game that had 11 ties and 25 lead changes. Johnson’s layup with 4:06 remaining put the Spurs on top for the final time before Denver finished the game with an 11-4 run.

“We had (a season-high) 24 turnovers for 35 (Denver) points and that’s really going to make it difficult to win a game,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said afterward. “That’s how we lost it. But I couldn’t be prouder (of the team). Their execution, their competitiveness — that’s who they have to be night after night. They did a great job. Really good team play.”

Josh Richardson added 22 points off the bench for San Antonio while Devin Vassell racked up 17 points. The Spurs’ defense was much better after losing by 25 at Denver on Saturday, forcing the Nuggets into 22 turnovers.

San Antonio’s six losses this season are by an average of 20 points.

“Everybody was just trying to make plays down the stretch,” Jones said. “We were doing everything we could to give ourselves a chance to win.”

–Field Level Media