The San Antonio Spurs knew what to expect from the Memphis Grizzlies as the series shifted to Tennessee for the next two games. The problem is, they did not respond.
The Grizzlies used their ‘grit and grind’ style to earn a 105-94 victory over the Spurs in Game 3 of their first round playoff series inside the FedEx Forum on Thursday night to get back into the series after losing the first two games in San Antonio.
Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs, but was held to just 18 points after scoring a combined 69 points in the first two games. LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points and Kyle Anderson chipped in 15 for San Antonio, who scored just 16 third quarter points.
A poor start to the third quarter saw Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pull his starting unit, barely playing for much of the final quarter.
”He wants us to understand what’s going on on the floor and how important the opportunity is for us,” Leonard said.
The Grizzlies were led by Mike Conley’s 24 points. Both Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol poured in 21 points apiece for Memphis, who played their first home game in the series since head coach Dave Fizdale’s rant about the officials in Game 2.
Fans responded by cheering Fizdale and booing the officials any time a call went against their Grizzlies.
Player of the Game:
Zach Randolph is Project Spurs’ Player of the Game. He was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time and the move paid off. He got physical with LaMarcus Aldridge and was a force in the paint en route to 21 points.
Up next: The Spurs lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 and will return to the court on Saturday when they face the Grizzlies for Game 4 inside the FedEx Forum at 7 p.m.