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Grizzlies survive near-monumental collapse, down Spurs

Dec 20, 2007 - 6:10 AM MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Rudy Gay wasn't about to be the victim of another Memphis Grizzlies' loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

Gay scored 23 points - including a 3-pointer as time expired - to lift the Grizzlies to a thrilling, 88-85, win over the Spurs on Wednesday.

With 2.4 seconds remaining and the game tied at 85-85, Gay received the inbounds pass, took a couple steps to the right and launched a 3-pointer over the extended arms of Tim Duncan as time expired to clinch the game for Memphis.

"First, I looked to see who was guarding me," Gay said. "I knew Tim wasn't going to get to me quick enough. I just put it up and thought I had a pretty good follow-through. I had enough time to finish my shot, and it went in."

The final play was drawn up for Mike Miller, but Gay was ready to fire away as the second option.

"That was a big shot; we needed that, too," Miller said. "This would have been a tough one to go into overtime and win. It (was) a big win and a big shot."

Miller led all scorers with a season-high 31 points for the Grizzlies, who ended a four-game home losing streak.

Miller did most of his damage through three quarters, when the Grizzlies' offense raced out to leads of 21 in the second and 23 in the third.

The Grizzlies quickly advanced a 49-35 halftime lead into a 62-39 advantage at the 7:39 mark of the third period on the strength of 11 straight points from Miller. The Spurs were able to cut the deficit down to 69-57 at 2:29 before Memphis ended the quarter on an 8-2 run.

However, Gay hit a jumper at the beginning of the final period to extend the lead to 78-59. But San Antonio turned to its trademark defense to initiate a 24-6 run over the next 10 minutes to pull to within 84-83 after Duncan hit a short turnaround bank shot with 46 seconds left in the game.

The Grizzlies were held scoreless for nearly seven minutes in the quarter as Miller's basket at 6:56 was the last point scored until Damon Stoudamire hit the second of two free throws with five seconds remaining to give the Grizzlies a tenuous 85-83 lead.

After San Antonio's timeout, the Spurs took advantage of a defensive breakdown when Manu Ginobili worked a perfect give-and-go with Duncan. Ginobili, who was being guarded by Miller, left him behind as Duncan handed the ball back to Ginobili for an uncontested dunk to tie the game at 85-85.

Memphis immediately called a 20-second timeout, setting the stage for Gay's heroics.

"We can't be satisfied with that comeback because we played really bad," Ginobili said. "We executed really bad defensively and made too many mistakes. The fourth quarter was really good, but when you give a team so much confidence, it's really hard to come out (with a win). They made a great shot at the last second."

Ginobili scored 20 points to pace the Spurs, who lost their third straight road game for the first time since April 13-20, 2005.

"We've got to get some things corrected soon," said guard Michael Finley, who scored 11 points. "We've hit a tough stretch and haven't been executing on both ends like we normally do. Tonight, we had too many defensive letdowns. We need to figure some things out when we get back home."

Grizzlies center Pau Gasol missed his fourth straight game for Memphis with a jammed big toe while Spurs guard Tony Parker sat out his fourth straight contest for San Antonio with an ankle sprain.

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