Welcome to the first Live Blog that actually counts!
It's Opening Night in Memphis, TN and I'm laid up with flu-like symptoms. Yes, the same flu-like symptoms that plagued Darko Milicic in the preseason and kept Brian Cardinal out the past few days. That's how close we are to the players -- we share the same illnesses.
Pete Pranica and Sean Tuohy spoke about Darius Washington making the Spurs squad and then turned it over to Rob Fischer who interviewed D-Wash prior to the game. Nice fluff piece for the Memphis crowd, although I find it very disconcerting to have to watch Fish after listening to him on the radio for the past few years. He's one of those guys who doesn't look like you would expect him to. He's certainly no Tony Luftman either -- I haven't heard him squeak in excitement yet. ;^)
Also, D-Wash is rocking a serious beard. As a fellow bearded one, I can say that it is quite impressive.
Fish interviews Coach Marc Iavaroni and then Rudy Gay, neither of which seems tense tonight, which is a good thing. Rudy seems very ready to get out there and perform at a high level.
San Antonio Spurs: Tony Parker, Michael Finley, Bruce Bowen, Tim Duncan, Fabricio Oberto
Memphis Grizzlies: Damon Stoudamire, Mike Miller, Rudy Gay, Darko Milicic, Pau Gasol
We've got the Trampoline Guy, Grizz Line and other assorted performers all over the court prior to the Grizzlies' introductions. Quite a spectacle, as they have the blacklights going and all the acts are glowing in the dark. Nice work!
Michael Buffer is in the house! Way to go all out guys! And he's doing the player introductions.
Anyone want to place a wager on whether or not Rudy Gay takes Bruce Bowen to flight school tonight?
Q1 - 11:00 -- Pau wins the tip-off and we are underway. Miller misses an 18 footer off a curl. Duncan cooly puts home a long jumper.
Q1 - 10:30 -- Darko hits a lefty hook from the left block. Duncan gets a sneaky basket to go in, but then Pau comes back and hits from the right baseline.
Q1 - 9:00 -- Tony Parker is crazy sneaky as he snakes in for a 1-on-2 layup. Rudy comes right back and hits a short turnaround over Bowen. Darko runs the floor to get an easy basket and then Parker comes right back again for another highlight style layup. Grizzlies 8, Spurs 8
Q1 - 7:33 -- Duncan somehow gets a leaner to go over Pau's outstretched fingertips, but then Pau gets fouled the next trip down the court and hits both free throws. Tied at 10.
Q1 - 6:40 -- Mike witht he steal and feeds it to Darko running the floor, who slams it home with the left hand!
Q1 - 5:56 -- Parker hits a long jumper from the left wing to tie it back up at 12 all. Pau gets called on a questionable offensive foul for a clear-out. Parker misses everything on another long jumper, prompting "Airball!" chants around the FedEx Forum. He looks for a foul call and gets none as we take our first timeout. Grizzlies 12, Spurs 12
Darko looks good. Perhaps the Dark One has decided to come out to play on Halloween.
Q1 - 5:12 -- Manu Ginobili into the game and he immediately heads to the rim in his slithering style. Misses the layup, but still got to the rim effortlessly. Damon rushes down the court and takes an ill-advised three pointer, which rattles out.
Q1 - 4:58 -- Darko inadvertently pokes Duncan in the eye, sending him to the bench. They call a foul on Rudy against Bowen on the next play, despite the fact that he was standing still with arms straight up in the air. Nothing like a makeup call so quickly after the non-call! Stro into the game now. Bowen misses both, because he can't hit free throws.
Q1 - 3:39 -- Bowen hits a runner from the left side, proving he can do more than hit corner threes. Miller comes back with a three from the left wing. Parker with another easy layup to give the Spurs the lead back. Spurs 16, Grizzlies 15
Q1 - 2:39 -- Wholesale changes as Navarro, Lowry and Jacobsen are now in the game. Duncan misses a bad pass, Navarro picks it up, feeds Casey for the fastbreak layup. Grizzlies take the lead 18-16 and the Spurs want a timeout.
Q1 - 1:50 -- Both teams hate free throws, as Ginobili misses a couple, then Stro hits one of two. Duncan hits another leaner that Navarro immediately answers with a three-pointer from the right wing. Grizz 22, Spurs 20
Q1 - 0:42 -- Pau fumbles the ball, recovers and hits a fallaway from the lane. Duncan gets fouled, hits one of two, but Manu gets the offensive rebound off the miss. Ginobili drives to the basket and Darko fouls him, giving him two fouls -- enter Hakim Warrick.
End Q1 -- Manu hits them both. Kyle Lowry is a force of nature. He drives the left side of the lane, dishes back out to Gasol, who slams it home! D-Wash tries to take the Spurs last shot, but is rejected by Pau! Grizz 26, Spurs 23
Q2 - 11:22 -- Finley hits a jumper from the right side over Hakim. Kyle continues his high energy play, blowing by D-Wash to get the foul call and head to the line for two free throws....and hits them both. Grizzlies 28, Spurs 25
Q2 - 10:20 -- Ginobili answers with a three-pointer from the top of the arc. La Bomba doesn't fall, leading to a miss by Ginobili, a scramble for the ball that winds up in Manu's hands again for another three-pointer.
Q2 - 9:32 -- Hakim grabs his own miss and puts it back in with one hand. Then Hak gets a ridiculous foul called on him when Finley acts like he's been thrown from a moving vehicle. Hakim couldn't throw one of the ball boys that far. Ginobili hits the three-pointer on the other end. Spurs 34, Grizzlies 30
Q2 - 8:10 -- Great set play as Gasol passes to Lowry at the top of the arc, who swings it to Navarro on the left wing.....alley-oop to Pau! Parker answers with a mid-range jumper. Hakim with a turnaround over three Spurs defenders that misses. Matt Bonner then hits a three from the left wing. Spurs 39, Grizzlies 32
Q2 - 7:22 -- Pau gets hacked on a trip through the lane and hits both free throws. We have our first Pau checking for blood sighting of the year! Finley misses a contested jumper, Rudy grabs the rebound and feeds Kyle who sprints down the floor for the easy transition layup. Next trip down, Brent Barry steps out of bounds and we get another TV timeout. Spurs 39, Grizz 38
Q2 - 5:50 -- Rudy abuses Bonner for a spinning hook shot to give Memphis the lead. These refs are horrific!!! Navarro is standing perfectly still next to Duncan, who elevates for the shot and gets a foul call. The Forum crowd is really giving it to them now! Pete and Sean agree that there was no foul to be called. Grizz 40, Spurs 39
Q2 - 5:36 -- Duncan misses them both -- the one chink in his armor still. Rudy vs. Bonner is a frightening mismatch as he blows by him and gets hacked to prevent the easy basket. Rudy hits them both, showing Duncan how it is done. Thank you Mark Price!
Q2 - 4:15 -- Rudy picks up another foul, giving him 3 on the night, which brings the return of Stro to the floor. Duncan uses the glass to score over a good defensive effort by Pau. Damon answers with a mid-range jumper from the left side of the floor. Ginobili misses a three-pointer and Miller gathers the rebound. Grizzlies 44, Spurs 41
Q2 - 3:20 -- Ginobili is fouled by Navarro, and JCN goes to the bench in favor of Lowry. Manu hits both free throws. Stro with the offensive board off Kyle's miss and then works into the lane for a basket over Duncan. Spurs take another timeout. Grizzlies 46, Spurs 43
Q2 - 2:15 -- Grizz are on a 14-4 run right now and are +7 in the rebounding department. Parker misses a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down. Miller coasts down the lane for a layup. Parker hits a three from the right corner to answer. Grizzlies 48, Spurs 46
End Q2 -- The Spurs hit two threes in a row and then Miller answers with one of his own. Lowry takes the hard foul driving from the left side and challenging the Spurs' big men. Kyle hits them both to tie the game again at 52 all. Spurs hold for the last shot -- Finley takes a bad shot, one step inside the three-point line, leading to a strange play where Ginobili flips the ball over the top of the backboard, turning the ball over to Memphis, who miss the final shot. Grizzlies 52, Spurs 52
I'm taking a break to eat some dinner, but if you have any questions, leave them in the comments.
Q3 - 10:36 -- Finley opens up with a fadeaway over Miller. Pau misses a fallaway over two defenders. Francisco Elson (the answer to "Who is that masked man?") hits a mid-range jumper. Rudy misses a long three. Memphis allows Bowen to set his feet and he knocks down a 17 footer, prompting a 20-second timeout from Iavaroni. Spurs 58, Grizzlies 52
Q3 - 9:21 -- Out of the timeout Damon hits a three-pointer. Then after a defensive stop, Rudy gets down the floor and hits a mid-range jumper to whittle the deficit down to one. Offensive foul on Duncan relieves the Spurs of another possession.
Q3 - 7:55 -- Rudy loses the ball and Duncan rattles one home on the ensuing possession. Pau answers back with a short leaner of his own. Duncan gets fouled by Gasol and manages to hit both free throws. Damon answers that with a three-pointer to tie it up at 62 all.
Q3 - 6:09 -- A rendition of "Can you top this?" breaks out as Parker and Damon both hit long two-pointers. Bowen breaks that up with a three pointer from the right corner. Darko comes back with a hook shot from the lane. Spurs 67, Grizzlies 66
Q3 - 4:13 -- Parker misses a long jumper. Mike misses a three, Pau grabs the offensive board, passes to Damon who misses another three. Duncan misses a shot on the right block as Darko came over for the intimidation factor. Rudy misses from the left elbow. Nobody can hit right now. Elson finally breaks the monotony with a slam off a nice feed by Ginobili. Gasol answers with the bucket and the foul. Spurs 69, Grizzlies 68
Q3 - 3:14-- Pau hits the free throw to tie it up and give him 17 points for the game. Oberto squeaks by Darko for the lay-in. Damon hits the three-pointer from the left wing. Then Damon steals the ball right out of Parker's hands, feeds Rudy who lays it in and gets fouled. Grizz 74, Spurs 71
Q3 - 2:52 -- Bowen tries to pass it in to Duncan, but the Grizzlies grab it, run down the floor and Miller hits the three from the right-hand side. Grizz 77, Spurs 71
Q3 - 1:33 -- D-Wash misses the three from the right side. Rudy turns it over after getting stuck in No Man's Land and D-Wash takes it coast-to-coast for the layup. Right now, it appears that they are trying to get Darko actively involved in the offense again. Rudy misses an open three and the Grizzlies slap the ball out of bounds. Kyle back in the game now.
Q3 - 0:22 Offensive foul on D-Wash after he pushes Kyle to the floor. Rudy tries another shot from the left side and makes this one. Bonner answers with a three. Grizz 79, Spurs 76
End Q3 -- Gasol says that "if the goofy-looking redhead can do it, so can I" and cans a three from the top of the key. Bonner misses his shot at retaliation as the buzzer sounds. Grizzlies 82, Spurs 79
Q4 - 12:00 -- Enter the final quarter with Gasol, Gay, Miller, Lowry and Swift on the floor.
Q4 - 9:55 -- D-Wash hits a floater to cut the lead to one. Lowry gets to the rim, but cannot finish. D-Wash misses from the left elbow, but Rudy and Stro knock the rebound out of bounds, allowing Brent Barry to hit a three-pointer on the extra possession. Spurs 84, Grizzlies 82
Q4 - 9:18 -- Rudy with a great save to get the ball back to Pau after a tipped rebound nearly went out of bounds. Kyle sprints down the floor and coasts in for another layup. He's quicker than a hiccup.
Q4 -8:03 -- The Spurs start to take over, making three baskets without an answer from Memphis, prompting a timeout from Iavaroni. Spurs 90, Grizzlies 84
Q4 -6:33 -- Navarro comes in and immediately hits a three-pointer. Parker misses a long shot and Lowry gathers the rebound. Navarro travels on the next possession running a pick and roll with Darko. Barry misses a three badly, Navarro brings the ball down and gets hammered on the shot -- no call. These refs will be getting a call from Ronnie Nunn tonight -- I guarantee it. Spurs 90, Grizz 87
Q4 - 5:05 -- Finley hits a three and Navarro answers. Darko with the block on Duncan! Lowry pushes the ball, feeds Warrick who gets clobbered from behind. Spurs 93, Grizz 90
Q4 -4:44 -- Come out of the TV timeout to see Kyle Lowry with ice on his hip after he took a leaping dive to save a ball a few plays earlier. Warrick at the free-throw line for two shots -- hits one of them to cut the lead to two points. Finley misses a three, but Duncan grabs the offensive board. Then Duncan gets the offensive foul! Spurs 93, Grizz 91
Q4 - 3:07 -- Back-and-forth we go, with both teams missing close shots. Miller misses a long jumper, then Duncan responds in kind.....but the Grizzlies fight over the rebound and lose it out of bounds. Duncan misses badly on the shot and Bonner knocks it out of bounds, but the officials give it to the Spurs. Where's Nunn's e-mail address again?
Q4 -2:40 -- Ginobili misses a wide-open shot and Darko boxes out Duncan for the rebound. Rudy gets the ball on the left wing, drives in and hits the jumper from 8 feet to tie it up at 93 all.
Q4 - 1:52 -- Finley misses another mid-range jumper with Rudy applying defensive pressure. Rudy gets the ball to Gasol who sets up Duncan and drives right around Timmy for the reverse layup. Duncan works into the lane to score over Darko and tie it back up. 95 all
Q4 - 0:27.7 -- Bonner misses a three, ball out of bounds to the Grizzlies. Gasol drives the lane and gets blocked by Duncan -- ball OB. Gasol gets the ball on the in-bounds and misses the shot across the lane with three defenders hanging on him. Ginobili hits the runner on the left side to give the Spurs the lead. Spurs 97, Griz 95
Q4 - 0:19.7 -- Crunch-time lineup: Gasol, Rudy, Mike, Darko, Damon. Ball goes in to Rudy who gets an offensive foul called on him when he lowers his shoulder and Ginobili flies into the next area code. Flopper. Spurs get the ball inbounds to Manu and force him to give it up to Duncan who is fouled. Ginobili gets fouled and goes to the line and only hits one of two. Spurs 98, Grizz 95
Q4 - 0:13.5 -- Iavaroni is setting up the play to either get a quick two or a set play to make the game-tying three. Casey in the game now for Darko. Miller goes down the lane for the deuce, but gets tripped by Ginobili and goes to the line. Mike misses the first one, makes the second. Spurs 98, Grizz 96
Q4 - 0:8.1 -- They foul Ginobili who hits them both this time. Damon down the floor for the quick layup. The Spurs are forced to take a timeout when they cannot inbound the ball.
Q4 - 0:3.1 -- Ginobili to the line again. He hits them both again. Damon comes down the floor and hits a huge three-pointer! They foul Manu yet again. Spurs 102, Grizz 101
End Q4 -- Ginobili hits them both. Long outlet to Rudy Gay who heaves it up from 40 feet and misses off the backboard. Final score: Spurs 104, Grizzlies 101
What a game. That's all I can really say at this point.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Welcome to the first Live Blog that actually counts!