The night started off inauspiciously for San Antonio on Saturday night in the team's 104-93 win at FedExForum in Game Three.
Memphis went ahead by 11 in the first five minutes of the game and Gregg Popovich instituted a line change, replacing his starting lineup with an entirely new group hoping that would spark something. It did not matter much as the first quarter and much of the first half was an utter disaster. The Grizzlies built as much as an 18-point lead and fed off of crowd energy at the Grindhouse to force eight first-quarter turnovers and 10 first-half turnovers.
That prompted Gregg Popovich to give one of the all-time great inter-quarter interviews in NBA history:
Then things changed. The Spurs started the second quarter on an 11-2 run, took the lead in the third quarter for the first time and ended up forcing overtime.
How did this happen?
The Grizzlies did not turn the ball over, so Popovich does not have much of an explanation for us there. Instead, the Grizzlies shot 30 percent in the fourth quarter and then followed that up with a 2-for-8 performance in overtime. The Spurs recovered from a 4-for-19 start to shoot better than 50 percent in each quarter the rest of the game.
San Antonio awoke and kept calm, methodically working its way back into the game until the deficit was gone. The Grizzlies did not seem shell shocked, they still traded punches. The Spurs just made more plays and got the rolls at the end of the game.
It is a 48 — or 53 — minute game, after all.
The Heat on Sunday buried the Pacers pretty early and never looked back in a thorough 114-96 beatdown at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Miami was an offensive juggernaut, scoring 70 points in the first half alone and ending up shooting 54.5 percent from the floor and 6-for-14 from beyond the arc. Indiana was pretty strong offensively in the first half too, but in the second half, well, tell them Gregg:
The Pacers only had 11 turnovers, but five of them came from point guard George Hill. Miami pressured Hill on the inbounds and forced Paul George to bring the ball up the floor. Even though Indiana ended up scoring a bunch of points, it disrupted their rhythm and eventually Miami took advantage with the offensive onslaught that made the team the top team by offensive rating this season.
The Pacers ended up shooting 39.7 percent from the floor after shooting 11 for 37 (29.7 percent) in the second half. Not strong against a strong defense in a big bame.
But it is still 2-1 in the series and this was just one game. Indiana still has time to fix its problems.
Memphis may not.