The Memphis Grizzlies concluded their 2016-17 season as they fell to the San Antonio Spurs 103-96, in Game 6 of their first round series on Thursday night at FedExForum. The Spurs won the series 4-2 and will advance to play the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Competing in their seventh consecutive postseason, the Grizzlies left it all on the floor throughout the game with the Spurs only leading by as many as seven. However, in the last 2:49 of regulation with the score tied at 92, the Spurs went on an 11-4 run to get the series-clinching win.
All five starters scored in double figures with Mike Conley leading the Grizzlies with 26 points on 7-of-18 shooting and 9-of-10 from the charity stripe. Throughout the postseason, Conley recorded a career performance including a postseason franchise record of 35 points in Game 4. He has averaged 24.7 points and seven assists over the last six games this series and scored at least 20 points in the final five games, the longest streak of 20-point games in franchise postseason history.
Zach Randolph recorded his fourth double-double of the postseason with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Marc Gasol tallied 18 points, and averaged 19.3 points and 6.5 rebounds this postseason. Vince Carter also contributed 12 points, and James Ennis III posted 11 points.
MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard recorded a game-high 29 points, shooting 8-of-19 from the field. Tony Parker contributed 27 points while LaMarcus Aldridge posted a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Patty Mills also scored in double figure with 10 points.
Key Stat of the Night
- The Spurs shot 55.0 percent (11-of-20) from the field in the fourth quarter while the Grizzlies shot just 30.8 percent (4-of-13), including 1-of-6 from three-point range.
Key Run of the Night
- Trailing 88-81 with 6:29 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Spurs finished the game on a 22-8 run.
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On the game
We couldn’t get a handle on them. We spectated a lot once we got the stop and they did their work early on the glass. They really pounded us there in that situation. Like I said, it was a war. It was what everybody expected it would be and what I thought our team would do. There is a lot of character in our locker room and the better team took care of business and they beat us. They beat us fair and square. That’s great. Just throw me in the fire with [Gregg Popovich], right? I love it. But it was awesome and I’m really proud of our team and the way they competed this series.
On Mike Conley
Every night I would close my eyes and envision this for Mike Conley when I thought about our team. Wow, he really had a great season and I think he showed people in this playoffs that he’s a big time player that’s not afraid of the moment and that loves competition. We saw a little bit of feistiness come out of him, which that’s the part that I’m going to keep poking at. Now that he’s going into his later years, he’s got to get a bit grumpier, but he’s just such a good guy. I’m really proud of the way that he evolved. He looks like an NBA point guard of today’s NBA now. I take a lot of pride in that, and I think Nick Van Exel deserves a lot of credit for that too.
On his first season as a head coach
Fast. It flew by. Obviously, there were stretches there where I thought it would never end like the five-game losing streak and when we lost all our guys and had the Nasty Nine. That was a nine-game streak that seemed like it took two months. But for some reason now, it feels like it just flew by. It seemed like it went so fast that I didn’t even get a chance to enjoy it. It was a great experience for me. I’m really lucky to have a staff that kept me sane. J.B. Bickerstaff is phenomenal. It’s just a matter of time for him to be a head coach because I can’t hold him down for long. This guy is a big time coach. My Zen master Keith Smart, he started lighting lavender candles in my office and getting me to say my woosahs, and it really helped me grow up fast in my first year. I’ve really got a great staff. Bob Bender has been fantastic as well.
On knowing the team battled
I think that we fought as hard as we could with what we had. We’ve had a tough year. Guys have had to step up. James Ennis did a great job, Wayne Selden coming at the end of the year, Troy Daniels, you can just go down the list; JaMychal [Green], all of those guys really had to take a bigger role against a great team. They were a reason why we were in this. It’s just been a pleasure to play with a group that really leaves it out there like that.
On how he played this series
No regrets. I did about just as much as I could. I left everything I had out there. I know my teammates did the same. Like I said, that’s why it’s just been such a pleasure to play with guys like that. To know that not only myself, but everyone else is really laying it on the line, it’s exhausting but it’s worth it.
On the emotions he went through at the end of the game
It’s hard, it’s hard. The season is over so it’s hard to now reflect on the whole season. We were getting ready to travel tomorrow and getting ready to play, in our minds, game seven and not anymore. It’s not easy.
On the Spurs executing down the stretch
I think we had the game in our hand, but we couldn’t get stops. We didn’t execute well, well enough at least. They were getting pretty good looks and we were not getting those great looks that they were getting, obviously they made shots, we didn’t. They win.
On if it felt like one that got away
Yeah, it does. Like I said we felt like it got away. They hit shots in the end and we couldn’t hit shots that we usually hit and a few mistakes here and there and they capitalized on it.
On being able to sleep knowing they battled throughout the game
Oh definitely, our effort was there and we left it all out on the court, no question there. We didn’t lay down and we fought.
- Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 26 points. He averaged 24.7 points and 7.0 assists per game for the postseason.
- All five Grizzlies starters scored in double figures (Gasol 18, Randolph 13, Carter 12, Ennis III 11).
- Zach Randolph (13 points, 11 rebounds) recorded his 32nd career postseason double-double.
- Kawhi Leonard (29 points, nine rebounds) averaged 31.2 points, and 6.0 rebounds on 54.8 percent (57-of-104) shooting from the field and 96.7 percent (59-of-61) from the free throw line.
- Tony Parker recorded a postseason-high 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting. Parker scored in double figures in five games during the series, marking the first time he has done so in a playoff series since the 2014 NBA Finals.
- Parker and Manu Ginobili (130) pulled within one game of Parker and Tim Duncan (131) for most playoff wins by two NBA teammates.
- LaMarcus Aldridge (17 points, 12 rebounds) recorded his 21th career postseason double-double.