Spurs’ Lackluster Performance Almost Costly Against Grizzlies

By Gregory Moore
Updated: February 27, 2005

SAN ANTONIO – The post-Malik Rose era officially began Saturday at the SBC Center and the San Antonio Spurs played as if it were New Orleans’ style funeral procession. In a game in which Memphis was not at 100% strength, the Spurs allowed the Grizzlies to hang around in the game and let them control much of the fourth quarter.

“We had twenty-four turnovers. We were sloppy with the basketball. That was too many to hand it over and that was our demise,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said after the game.

The last play of the game was indicative of how the Spurs played this game. With 3.9 seconds left, Manu Ginobili decided to dribble the ball and go backwards instead of attacking Shane Battie and putting up a decent shot to try to win the game. That play solidified how this team played all night.

“We have to give them credit for playing a good game,” Spurs guard Devin Brown said. “We’ll move on and we’ll be fine. We have a game in Cleveland on Monday and I think that will be a bounce back game for us.” Many reporters asked whether fact that the trading of Rose was a factor in the loss.

“I don’t think that the trade had anything to do with it,” Tim Duncan said. “It didn’t have anything to do with the outcome of the game.” The Spurs did play incredible defense for much of the game as they held the Grizzlies to just 38% in the contest.

“That was just a real terrific win for us over a great team and as you ca see they don’t die easy at the end,” Grizzlies’ head coach Mike Fratello said afterwards. “I thought Pop ran about three terrific specials off the out of bounds plays to get them either shots, baskets or the open look. But in the end Shane just got his hand in there for the deflection and that probably saved us at that point.

The Spurs didn’t deserve to win this game not just on the horrendous turnovers but also because they were being outplayed in every aspect of the power game. The Grizzlies led them in the points in the paint statistic 44-34 and had fifteen steals.

“Memphis plays a very physical game,” Popovich said. “They do a great job aggressive wise. We made some poor choices.” NOTES; Nazr Muhammad didn’t play tonight’s game but will probably see considerable minutes on Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. As for Rose, he played nine minutes in New York’s win over the Indiana Pacers. Rose scored two points on 1 for 3 shooting but grabbed eight boards, four of them being offensive.