Grizzlies Blow Another Lead

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Feb. 24 (Ticker) -- For the second straight game, the Memphis Grizzlies gave away a sizable early advantage to a Southwest Division foe. The Grizzlies committed 21 of their season-high 24 turnovers after the first quarter as their 13-point lead was erased by the San Antonio Spurs, who got 19 points and 16 rebounds from Tim Duncan in an ugly 83-80 victory. Video highlights from Spurs-Grizzlies: Play Memphis blew a 19-point bulge in Thursday's loss at Dallas. Playing their third game in four nights Friday, the Grizzlies seemed to have that out of their minds as they went on a 17-0 charge in the first quarter to hold a 22-9 advantage before settling for a 23-12 lead at the end of the session. Playing their first game since Tuesday, the Spurs struggled in the opening quarter by making just 4-of-20 shots. They were not much better the final three quarters, shooting 34 percent (21-of-61). However, the defending champions did the little things to forge their comeback.

They turned the Grizzlies' miscues into 26 points and had a 15-2 advantage in second-chance points. San Antonio shaved its deficit to 38-35 by halftime and took a 57-48 lead into the final period despite a stretch in the third quarter in which it missed 13 consecutive shots. Bruce Bowen 's layup gave the Spurs their biggest lead at 71-58 with five minutes remaining. His 3-pointer made it 76-66 with 1:24 to go and seemed to put the game out of reach. The Grizzlies managed to claw their way back into the game in the final minutes the despite the absence of All-Star Pau Gasol , who fouled out after collecting 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Mike Miller connected on a 3-pointer to get Memphis within five before a steal and 3-pointer by Shane Battier made it 78-76 with 19 seconds on the clock. With the Spurs holding an 81-79 lead with 2.5 ticks left, rookie Hakim Warrick had a chance to forge an improbable deadlock from the line, but the 61 percent foul shooter made the first but missed the second. Nazr Mohammed hauled in the rebound and made a pair of free throws to make it a three-point game. Memphis had one last chance to send the game into overtime, but Battier's long inbounds pass sailed just over the outstretched arms of Warrick.