Marc Gasol Hits OT Game-Winner to Even Series vs. Spurs; Kawhi Leonard Scores 43

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2017

Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) drives against San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge, left, during the first half of Game 4 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Saturday, April 22, 2017, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Brandon Dill/Associated Press

Marc Gasol played the role of hero with the game-winning shot for the Memphis Grizzlies in a 110-108 overtime victory in Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinals to even the series at two. 

After Kawhi Leonard's three-pointer with 12 seconds remaining tied the score, Gasol hit a jumper in the lane to give the Grizzlies the victory in a wild back-and-forth affair:

Before Gasol's heroics, Leonard and Mike Conley were seemingly playing their own game of one-on-one. 

Leonard scored a playoff career-high 43 points, including the final 16 for the Spurs in regulation to get the game into overtime. Conley responded with his own playoff career high (35 points), adding nine rebounds and eight assists for good measure. 

When the Grizzlies re-signed Conley to a $153 million contract over the summer, it was not a well-received deal from analysts. That narrative took a 180-degree turn Saturday night:

With the Spurs trailing 88-80 with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Leonard went into hyperdrive to get the team into overtime with those 16 consecutive points.

He also did something no one in NBA history has done in the playoffs, per Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN Stats & Info):

The internet reacted with appropriate respect and awe:

The Spurs stormed out of the gate in the first quarter, taking a 24-14 lead in the first 10 minutes, but that seemed to wake up the Grizzlies. 

ESPN Stats & Info highlighted the numbers from Memphis' 23-4 run that started with 1:34 remaining in the first quarter:

During that first- and second-quarter run by the Grizzlies, Conley pulled off an acrobatic three-pointer while being fouled, which seemed to indicate how well things were going to go for him and the team. 

 

There was a full-quarter stretch from the 1:55 mark in the first quarter to the 1:20 mark of the second quarter in which every Spurs point came from either Tony Parker or Pau Gasol

But Leonard never gave in and was as close to an unstoppable force as any individual player has been in a postseason game so far. 

This series has completely turned since the Grizzlies got back home. Conley has raised the level of his game and is playing like a superstar. There is still work for him and the team to do if the Grizz want to advance, but this is a momentum-builder that can carry them far. 

The Spurs will be frustrated by the end result, though they can at least feel good knowing they responded well late in the game when things looked dire. This wasn't their best effort of the year by any stretch, so look for head coach Gregg Popovich to have them focused for Game 5.