Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/12/13
Memphis-grizzlies-oklahoma
MEMPHIS -- The Memphis Grizzlies don't blink.Not even when they are deluged with increasing trade rumors involving Rudy Gay. "You'd think with all the trade rumors that we were 10-24, not 24-10," Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley said. Not even when San Antonio point guard Tony Parker nailed a 3-point buzzer beater to send Friday's game into overtime. "It's always like a playoff game against them, even in the regular season," Memphis guard Tony Allen said. "It's hard to touch the heart of a champion." But the Grizzlies did. Gay brushed off trade talk by scoring a team-high 23 points and hitting a lead-grabbing 14-foot pull-up jumper with 27.8 seconds left in the extra period for a 101-98 victory in the battle of the Southwest Division's top two teams. "That's the best team in our division and we're right behind them, so that was a huge win," said Gay, who has been mentioned as prime trade bait, because the new Grizzlies' owners wants to ease their luxury tax woes. Parker's shot at the end of regulation was almost too much for the Grizzlies to bear. When Griz forward Zach Randolph made two free throws for a 95-92 lead with 3.5 seconds left, it appeared victory was in hand -- the Spurs had no remaining timeouts. As Randolph shot free throws, Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins ordered his team back on defense. The problem was the defense stayed too far back, allowing Parker to catch an inbounds pass off on the run near midcourt. He took a couple of dribbles and swished the game-tying 3-pointer over Gay, who didn't want to foul. "(Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich) Pop told me to push it, and if nobody came to help to just take it," said Parker, who finished with a game-high 30 points. "Nobody came to me, so I just took it." It's not like Memphis hadn't seen this before against the Spurs. Two years ago when the eighth-seeded Grizzlies eliminated the top-seeded Spurs in the first-round of the Western Conference playoffs, San Antonio (28-11) made some incredible late-game 3-pointers. Friday's win by Memphis was its first over the Spurs since clinching that 2011 series in Game 6. "After Parker hit that 3," Hollins said, "I told our guys they have two ways to go. You can hold your head and feel sorry for yourself, or you can suck it up and win the game again. It was a good test of our mental and physical toughness." The Grizzlies trailed by as many as four points twice in the final four minutes of regulation and by three points at the start of overtime on a Parker 3-pointer. And though Gay had a nice game and Conley almost matched Parker's relentlessness by countering with 21 points (including 10-for-10 from the free-throw line), Memphis' most clutch player in the game's final quarter and in overtime was someone the Spurs probably forgot about. Grizzly reserve forward Darrell Arthur, a pain in the Spurs' side two years ago in the playoffs before missing all of last season with a torn Achilles, scored eight of his season-high 14 points in Friday's last 17 minutes. Just like the playoffs when he set up shop near the top of the key for 18 to 20-footers, Arthur drilled back-to-back jumpers off Conley feeds in the final 1:04 of regulation. Then, he flushed a dunk with 8.9 seconds left in the regulation. "San Antonio's defense never changes, so that show at the elbow is always going to be there for me," Arthur said. "I know that's my shot." Popovich shook his head at the thought of Arthur's performance. "It seems like he doesn't miss a shot against us," Popovich said. "He knocks them down." Both Parker and Conley were ordered to push pace to see which team would commit the most turnovers, create the most plays and draw the most fouls.Both teams made 18 free throws and both teams drew 21 fouls. Where Memphis had an edge, overcoming some stagnant offense at times, was scoring 26 points off 18 Spurs' turnovers. Notes: Hollins said he doesn't want the new Grizzlies' management to trade Gay, at least during the season. "I like my team," Hollins said prior to Friday's game. "We're 23-10. Why would I want to break up a team that's 23-10?" Hollins said he has talked to management about various things, but added, "That's their call. I can't tell them anything. I wouldn't do it, but it's not my call. It's like when (former majority owner Michael) Heisley brought in (Allen) Iverson. Those things are above me. I just coach whoever is on the team. If they break up the team and get rid of everybody, I'll coach until the season is over and then make a decision on what I'll do." ... Memphis has won 26 of its last 29 games in FedExForum. ... Tony Parker has scored 30 or points in five games this season for the Spurs, including twice against the Grizzlies.
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