San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies (-2.5, 180.5)
Spurs lead best-of-seven series 3-0.
The Memphis Grizzlies are in the deepest hole imaginable as they host the San Antonio Spurs in Monday’s Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. No team in NBA history has won a playoff series after losing the first three games so it will take a monumental occurrence for San Antonio to not reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. The Spurs have won the past two games in overtime.
San Antonio blew a 2-0 lead in last season’s West finals when losing to Oklahoma City and the players repeatedly expressed they were highly intent on not giving the Grizzlies any life. But Game 3 features the Spurs falling behind by 18 points in the opening quarter and never leading until the fourth quarter before dominating overtime in the 104-93 win. Memphis hadn’t lost at home in the postseason and will attempt to avoid back-to-back FedExForum defeats to keep the series alive. “It’s more than just basketball here,” point guard Mike Conley told reporters on Sunday. “We owe it to ourselves, owe it to the fans not to get swept and get embarrassed on our home court.”
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT THE SPURS: Veteran power forward Tim Duncan denies he feels an urgency about returning to the NBA Finals due to his age but the 37-year-old sent out different signals with his stellar play in Game 3. Duncan scored seven of his 24 points in overtime and also had 10 rebounds and five assists in a tremendous performance that represented his 144th postseason double-double, second all-time behind Magic Johnson (157). “I’m not worried about how old I am or whatever, whatever it may be,” Duncan said. “I’m very focused on having another opportunity to make it to a championship (round) and try to win. That’s all.”
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES: Memphis was sharp early in Game 3 and seemed fresher than the veteran Spurs after a three-day break. The role was reversed late in the game and in the overtime dominated by San Antonio. “I think in overtime we were just worn down,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins told reporters on Sunday. “Not that they’re not, it’s just we’re more worn down. We have to play hard … We leave it all on the court.” Memphis could have avoided overtime but Conley took a poor angle on a last-second driving shot in regulation and missed badly. Power forward Zach Randolph had 14 points and 15 rebounds after being a combined 7-of-26 shooting over the first two games.
* Spurs are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games.
* Grizzlies are 6-0 ATS in their last six games following an ATS loss.
* Over is 6-0 in Spurs’ last six Conference Finals games.
* Over is 4-1 in Grizzlies’ last five overall.
1. San Antonio went 8-for-10 from the field in overtime in Game 3 while outscoring Memphis 18-7.
2. This is the 108th time a team has possessed a 3-0 lead in an NBA postseason series.
3. After having 18 assists in Game 2, Spurs PG Tony Parker had more turnovers (seven) than assists (five) in Game 3.