Jonas Valanciunas recorded 23 points, 23 rebounds and three blocked shots as the Memphis Grizzlies remained alive in their pursuit of a playoff spot with a 100-96 victory over the visiting San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.
Dillon Brooks scored a game-high 24 points and Ja Morant added 20 for the Grizzlies, who move on in the Western Conference play-in tournament to face the loser of Wednesday’s late game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors.
The winner of Friday’s game will earn the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoff bracket and face the top-seeded Utah Jazz in the first round.
DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay scored 20 points apiece for San Antonio, which will miss the playoffs for the second straight campaign after matching the NBA record with 22 straight appearances.
Gay tried to keep San Antonio’s hopes alive when he drained a 3-pointer to pull his team within 99-96 with 9.5 seconds remaining, but Morant was fouled and split two free throws with eight seconds left to seal it.
Keldon Johnson added 11 points and 11 rebounds, Dejounte Murray contributed 10 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists and Jakob Poeltl had 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots for the Spurs.
Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 10 points for Memphis, which shot 44.4 percent from the field and hit 7 of 22 (31.8 percent) from 3-point range. The Grizzlies held a 18-2 edge in fast-break points.
The Spurs made just 35.1 percent of their shots and were 8 of 22 (36.4 percent) from behind the arc.
San Antonio was down by 10 early in the fourth quarter before using a 13-2 run to take an 80-79 lead on DeRozan’s jumper 7:30 left.
Brooks later scored three baskets in a 78-second span to give Memphis an 87-83 lead with 5:18 remaining and the Spurs would trail the rest of the way.
Memphis used a 23-2 run in the opening quarter to open a 21-point lead. The score was 38-19 at the end of the quarter.
The Spurs erupted for 17 consecutive points in the second quarter to pull within 41-39 on Johnson’s putback dunk with 7:05 left in the half. The Grizzlies led 56-49 at the break behind 16 points and 15 rebounds from Valanciunas.
Both teams shot poorly while scoring 16 points apiece in the third quarter. Memphis went 6 of 21 and San Antonio was 6 of 22 as the Grizzlies took a 72-65 advantage into the final stanza.
–Field Level Media