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Whatever Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said to his team at halftime worked very, very well.
The eighth-seeded Grizzlies outscored San Antonio 30-15 in the third quarter, turning a 2-point halftime deficit into a 104-86 rout Monday night of the Spurs for a commanding 3-1 lead in their opening series.
“It was an incredible performance in the third and fourth quarter,” Hollins said. “We outscored them 30-15 and from the second quarter on, our defense just kept getting better and better.”
San Antonio led 50-48 at halftime, and Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo said Hollins lit such a fire in his team with telling them exactly what he wanted them to do that they couldn’t wait to get onto the court.
“We’re not playing too well in so many words,” Mayo said. “That’s the clean version. And we need to get it together, and play with a lot of energy and play like we’re a desperate team. All year he’s been preaching that the desperate team usually wins, and we didn’t look very desperate that first half.”
The Grizzlies already had made franchise history by winning their first playoff game in Game 1 and added their first playoff win at home. Now they are a game away from becoming the second eighth seed to knock off a No. 1 seed since the NBA expanded to a best-of-seven series.
“I know a lot of people didn’t expect us to be here,” Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said.