Spurs, Duncan finish super-strong

The San Antonio Spurs didn’t start strong, but they had plenty left at the finish. Now they are in position to finish the Memphis Grizzlies and advance to the NBA Finals with one more win.

Let’s take a look at some of the statistical highlights from Game 3.

The comeback … kids?

The Spurs have become pretty adept at this comeback thing.

The Elias Sports Bureau noted that the rally from 16 points down at the end of the first quarter marked the third-biggest end-of-first-quarter deficit overcome in the Conference Finals since the round began in 1970-71.

Largest End of 1st-Qtr Deficit Overcome
In Conference Finals Win

The Spurs actually trailed by as much as 18 points during the game, their second rally from at least 18 down this postseason.

They also had such a comeback in the conference semis against the Golden State Warriors.

The Spurs are also the second team in the last 15 seasons to win more than one game in a single postseason in which they trailed by 18 or more points.

The Mavericks had two such wins in the 2003 postseason.

The Spurs have as many 18-point comeback wins over the last two postseasons (3) as the rest of the NBA combined.

San Antonio was 0-21 in postseason games in which it trailed by at least 18 points from 2000 to 2011. They are 3-2 in those games over the last two postseasons. The rest of the league is 3-61.

The Big Fundamental comes up big

Tim Duncan moved his way a couple of all-time lists in this win.

Most 20-point/10-rebound games
NBA Postseason History

He notched his 144th career postseason double-double, passing Wilt Chamberlain for the second-most all-time. The only player with more is Magic Johnson, with 157.

If you wish to hold him to a higher standard—- Duncan had his 94th postseason game with 20 points and 10 rebounds. That’s tied with Chamberlain for fourth-most.

Duncan is 37 years and 30 days old. He finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Elias notes that only two players in NBA history had a 20-10-5 game at an older age in postseason: Kareem Abdul Jabbar (four times) and Karl Malone (once)

Duncan also passed Jerry West and moved into sixth place on the all-time postseason scoring list.

Duncan was 6-for-10 with 14 points when guarded by Marc Gasol. he was only 4-for-11 against Gasol in the first two games of the series.

How the Spurs won

The Spurs won by making their shots after a rough first quarter. San Antonio shot 21 percent in the first 12 minutes and shot 59 percent in the last 41 minutes, including 8-of-10 in overtime.

The Spurs scored on high-percentage shots. They finished with 58 points in the paint, tied for the most by any team against the Grizzlies in any game this season.

Looking ahead

No team in NBA history has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series. Teams that are up 3-0 have won all 107 series’.

During the Gregg Popovich era (since 1996-97), the Spurs have taken a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series on 11 different occasions. None of the previous 10 series went further than five games.