Neal’s buzzer-beating three ranks as best memory of the season

We’ve finally come to the moment all of Spurs Nation has been awaiting for the last two weeks. 

Our countdown of the best and worst memories has taken us throughout the highs and lows of a 61-21 season for the Spurs that ended much too early. 

The most memorable moment of the season still resonates, although it is doomed to fade among the franchise’s top historical moments because of the eventual result of the stunning first-round series loss to Memphis. 

Gary Neal’s buzzer-beating three that forced overtime of San Antonio’s eventual victory in Game 5 was a neat moment. And considering all that he endured en route to his first season in the NBA, it was even sweeter. 

Unfortunately for Neal and Spurs, they lost the next game in Memphis. But Neal’s clutch shot remains a moment frozen in time for all of Spurs Nation as they remember where they were when he made his shot.

No. 1:  Neal’s clutch three forces OT in Spurs’ Game 5 victory over plucky Grizzlies 

When: April 27, 2011 

Where: ATT Center, San Antonio 

What happened: Rookie guard Gary Neal caught an inbounds pass with 1.7 seconds left and sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime after the Spurs had trailed for the entire fourth quarter appeared ready to have their season end. Tony Parker then scored six of his 24 points in overtime to lead the Spurs to a dramatic 110-103 victory over Memphis in Game 5, staving off elimination for the Spurs.   

What was said, Part I: ”It felt good. I knew I had good legs going into it. I followed through and it went in,” Neal on his game-tying shot at the end of regulation. 

What was said, Part II: ”I once hit a buzzer-beater to win a state championship in high school. This feels a little bigger,” Neal on the magnitude of his game-tying shot. 

What was said, Part III: ”When you are facing elimination, you always seem to get something out of nowhere,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, telling the Express-News of the Spurs’ resiliency. 

What was said, Part IV: ”I’m not lying. I saw him miss the first 20 shots he took,” Ginobili, describing the first time he saw Neal shoot shortly before training camp started. 

What was said, Part V: ”I think we were down after the loss of the lead. We had too many guys that were hurt and not mature enough at this stage to just let it go,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins, on what happened to his team in overtime after Neal’s crucial shot.   

GAME  NOTES: The Spurs needed another dramatic shot before Neal’s big basket to force overtime. Ginobili’s foot-on-the-3-point-line basket with 2.2 seconds that pulled them within 95-94. After two Zach Randolph free throws, Neal hit his dramatic shot. The Grizzlies were obviously deflated after Neal’s shot as they went 1-for-7 in overtime, compared to San Antonio’s 4-for-8 in the overtime. Ginobili scored a game-high 33 points, Parker had 24, Tim Duncan with 13 points and 12 rebounds and George Hill chipped in with 12 for the Spurs. Randolph led the Grizzlies 26 points and 11 rebounds with 18 of his points coming in the fourth quarter and overtime. Mike Conley added 20 points, Sam Young had 18 and Marc Gasol added 11 points and 17 rebounds for Memphis. Ginobili’s clutch basket late in regulation originally was ruled a 3-pointer before video replays indicated it was made with his foot on the line for two points. Duncan scored 11 points in the first 9 1/2 minutes of the game and scored two afterwards. The Grizzlies led the entire fourth quarter before Neal’s clutch shot, which came with defender O.J. Mayo in his face. The Spurs led by 16 points at one point in the first half before Memphis rallied to pull within 50-42 at the half. The Spurs’ clutch rally kept them from being eliminated from the playoffs on their home court for a third straight season. 

Previous worst memories: 

No. 10: . 

No. 9: Black Friday fourth-quarter collapse against Dallas helps snap Spurs’ .   

No. 8: : Spurs blown out by Orlando by 22. 

No. 7: Lowly Clips to Spurs. 

No. 6:  Heat’sfrom 30-point loss 10 days earlier. 

No. 5: Blowout loss to Lakers . 

No. 4: Duncan’s ankle injury.   

No.3: Manu injures elbow in. 

No. 2: Grizzlies stun Spurs in Game 1 .   

No. 1: Z-Bo’s monster fourth quarter finishes off . 

Previous best memories: 

No. 10: . 

No. 9: boosts comeback victory over Thunder. 

No. 8: leads overtime victory over Memphis. 

No. 7:boosts Spurs past Warriors. 

No. 6: TD becomesin one game. 

No. 5:with record 3-point binge. 

No. 4: Pop passes Auerbach on. 

No. 3: McDyess’ tip over Lakers. 

No. 2: “Big Three” erupts for 80 as .

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