San Antonio had won five straight in the series since the Grizzlies upset the then-No. 1 seed in the opening round in 2011. The Spurs also had a 2 ½-game divisional lead on Memphis coming into this game despite Memphis having played five fewer games, and the teams played at postseason intensity despite the calendar.
Tony Parker forced overtime, beating the buzzer with a 27-footer that tied it at 95. He also opened overtime with a 3 that turned out to be the Spurs' only bucket as San Antonio went 1 of 10 from the floor. Manu Ginobili missed a long 3 just before the buzzer.
Darrell Arthur's dunk with 8.9 seconds left gave the Grizzlies the final margin and forced the Spurs to take the desperation shot at the end of the game. Ginobili's shot hit the backboard and then rim.
Gay led Memphis with 23 points, and Mike Conley had 21 points and five assists, hitting all 10 of his free throws. Zach Randolph had 18 points and 10 rebounds for his NBA-leading 24th double-double of the season. Arthur had 14 and Marc Gasol and Tony Allen each added 10. Allen also had three steals on his 31st birthday.
The Spurs came in tied with the Clippers with a league-best 28 wins, but they've struggled lately away from San Antonio, losing seven of their last nine road games. They also had won five straight against Memphis since the Grizzlies upset the Spurs as the Western Conference's No. 1 seed in the opening round of the 2011 playoffs.
Memphis had just gotten back in town from winning three straight on the road.
The teams came out with playoff-level intensity swapping the lead 14 times with 11 ties, the last at the end of regulation.
San Antonio also needed overtime to beat Memphis 99-95 on Dec. 1 in the teams' first meeting this season, and this was another doozy with 14 lead changes and 11 ties.
The Spurs thought they had a 100-97 lead when officials ruled goaltending on Gay on a bucket by Ginobili with 44.5 seconds left. But they overturned the ruling after reviewing the play and called jump ball between Duncan and Arthur. The Grizzlies forward won the tip, knocking it out to Conley. Gay hit the jumper on the possession to put Memphis ahead to stay.
The Grizzlies led 95-92 when Randolph hit two free throws with 3.5 seconds left. That was just enough time as Parker took the ball and dribbled up the left side before tossing up a 27-footer that beat the buzzer forcing overtime.
Memphis outscored the Spurs 29-18 in the second quarter and led 60-48 before they started struggling offensively yet again in the third quarter. The Spurs had a 28-17 edge in the third to eat away at the Grizzlies' 12-point lead. But Memphis outscored San Antonio 27-24 in the fourth and 6-3 in overtime.
NOTES: The Spurs had been 19-2 when leading after the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies outscored the Spurs 50-40 in the paint and now have 138 straight games where they have forced at least 10 turnovers. They forced 18 leading to 26 points.