SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker had 23 points, sparking the San Antonio Spurs to a needed 100-98 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night (Tuesday, Manila time) before embarking on a difficult road trip.
Memphis has lost 14 straight, but San Antonio's recent skid has had a greater impact on the Western Conference playoff picture. The Spurs had dropped eight of 10 and fallen from third to sixth in the crowded West, putting them at risk of missing the postseason for the first time in 21 years.
San Antonio moved up a spot to fifth place ahead of Minnesota with the victory.
Davis Bertans added 17 points and Danny Green had 14 for the Spurs, who snapped a four-game losing streak at home.
San Antonio desperately needed the victory considering their next three games are at Golden State, Oklahoma City and Houston.
The Spurs were thrown into this dilemma after losing two straight home games by blowing a lead in the final two minutes of each game.
LaMarcus Aldridge returned after spraining his right ankle in the first half against New Orleans and missing the following game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Aldridge's absence contributed to San Antonio blowing a 15-point lead against the Pelicans and a 17-point lead to the Lakers.
Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, who finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds, did scare the crowd by draining a 3-pointer and then banking in jumper with 0.3 seconds remaining to cut the Spurs lead to 100-98. Gasol pleading for a foul, but none was given as San Antonio inbounded the ball to close out the win.
The championship reserve squad of subs Parker, Green and Manu Ginobili prevented another crushing last-minute loss.
Parker's 11 points in the first quarter were the most he's scored in any quarter this season, and Green's 3-pointer at the close of the first half erased an eight-point deficit and gave the Spurs a 47-45 lead.
After the Spurs went on a 9-2 run to take an 81-78 lead, Parker drained a 21-foot pull-up jumper over JaMychal Green to give San Antonio a 93-87 lead with 4:37 remaining.
Memphis rookie Dillon Brooks finished with 21 points, one off his season high.
Grizzlies: Marc Gasol and Deyonta Davis both played after being list as questionable with left ankle injuries. ... JaMychal Green had 14 points and 15 rebounds.
Spurs: Parker was assessed his first technical foul of the season after arguing a defensive foul against him with 35.8 seconds remaining. ... Danny Green is the only guard with 50-plus steals and 50-plus blocks in the last six seasons. The only other players to achieve that feat are Detroit's Anthony Davis and New Orleans teammates Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
Grizzlies: Visit Chicago on Wednesday night.
Spurs: Visit Golden State on Thursday night.