They finally did Friday night. And it might cost the Spurs.
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Zach Randolph had 28 points and 15 rebounds, and Memphis dropped San Antonio back to the eighth seed in the tight Western Conference playoff race with a 107-99 win over the Spurs, who have just three games left.
The Spurs are playing to avoid the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, while Memphis is simply trying for its first winning season since 2005-06.
"Coaching staff deserves a winning record this year, so we just came out like we had an opportunity to play for the playoffs," Memphis guard O.J. Mayo said.
Had the Grizzlies (40-39) beat more teams like the Spurs down the stretch, they probably could've done more than simply pretend they're still in the hunt.
Excluding a win over Chicago, which can still make the playoffs in the East, the win was the first for Memphis over a guaranteed playoff-bound team since beating Boston on March 10.
Rudy Gay scored 21 points and Mayo had 20 for Memphis, which snapped a three-game slide by getting its first win in San Antonio since 2005.
With San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Portland all within a game of each other, letting the Grizzlies walk out of the AT&T Center with their first win in 11 tries was especially untimely for the Spurs.
"Very disappointing," Manu Ginobili said. "A game we were counting on. We had to win, especially with the two remaining."
Ginobili led the Spurs with 26 points, hours after signing a three-year, $39 million extension earned with a dazzling last few weeks.
This probably spoiled the celebration.
Trailing by 102-99 with less than a minute left, Ginobili missed a rushed 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down. Randolph then quashed San Antonio's last hope the next time down, picking off a weak pass from Matt Bonner.
"It's a big win for us. We're playing spoiler right now," Gay said. "Most teams don't think we have much to play for. We do. Playing for our pride."
Duncan had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Bonner scored 19 for the Spurs. Tony Parker, continuing to come off the bench while easing back from a broken right hand, scored 13 points and had eight assists.
It was the second straight loss for the Spurs, who turn around and play Denver on Saturday. The Spurs finish the regular season by playing Minnesota at home and Dallas on the road.
The Spurs have the head-to-head advantage over Oklahoma City but not Portland. The Thunder and Trail Blazers still have one game left against each other Monday.
"We are in a great fight with Portland and Oklahoma City," Ginobili said. "We let this one get away. We should have won and at least taken a one-game advantage."
Memphis crawled back after the early makings of a Spurs blowout. A 13-point lead in the second quarter gave coach Gregg Popovich the luxury of letting Duncan mostly sit and rest for Saturday's game at Denver.
But the Grizzlies, whose playoff hopes died a week ago, came right back. Randolph and Conley scored nine points apiece during a 31-17 run to end the first half, and Memphis took a 58-57 lead into the locker room.
"We regrouped tonight," Randolph said. "It was a big win for us."Notes
- Spurs G George Hill said his ankle is feeling better but still isn't back to practicing since spraining his ankle Sunday. Popovich said there's still no timetable for his return.
- The Grizzlies need to win two of their last three games (Philadelphia, Denver, Oklahoma City) to guarantee their first winning season in four years.