SAN ANTONIO — With the game on the line and a chance to take advantage of a 5-on-4 numbers game in the final minutes, the San Antonio Spurs did what they do best: pass the ball around until they find the open man for the best available shot.
That man just happened to be Manu Ginobili, who was open in the corner because Memphis’ Lance Stephenson was lying on the floor at the opposite end of the court after a collision under the San Antonio basket.
Ginobili poured in a 3-point shot, Kevin Martin followed with another a minute later, and Ginobili hit a third on the ensuing possession to allow the Spurs the cushion they needed to shrug off Memphis Grizzlies 110-104 on Friday night to remain undefeated at home.
LaMarcus Aldridge led San Antonio with 32 points and 12 rebounds as the short-handed San Antonio Spurs played just well enough to win.
The Spurs (61-11) are 37-0 at the AT&T; Center this season and have also won a franchise-best 46 straight regular-season games at home since a loss to Cleveland in March 2015.
San Antonio’s streak is the second longest in NBA history, trailing only the continuing streak by Golden State (51 games entering Friday). It’s tied with the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls for the longest home winning streak to start a season in NBA history.
With 11 games left on its schedule, San Antonio needs three more wins to break the franchise record for victories in a season, set by the 2005-06 team when it went 63-19.
The Spurs led 98-92 and were struggling to put away the Grizzlies until Ginobili’s and Martin’s 3-pointers provided some breathing room.
“The biggest play of the game was when (Stephenson) got tackled and they go down there and hit a three,” Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said. “(San Antonio) hit three threes in a row and that was it — it was very, very frustrating.”
San Antonio played without Kawhi Leonard (right quad contusion) and Boris Diaw, Danny Green and Patty Mills (who were all held out for rest), allowing Kyle Anderson and Martin into the starting lineup.
Memphis was more of a MASH-unit than a solid NBA team, with six players — including Marc Gasol (right foot fracture), Mike Conley (left Achilles tendinitis), Zach Randolph (right ankle sprain) and Brandan Wright (right MCL sprain) — out for the game.
When the Grizzlies (41-32) lost to the Spurs 103-83 on Dec. 3, players who were responsible 75 of those points for Memphis are out, injured or no longer with the team.
“We didn’t do a very god job defensively tonight,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “We scored well enough points — we just didn’t guard. Memphis is doing a great job with all the injuries and everything. Coach Joerger and his staff have got those guys playing at a high level and they deserve a lot of credit.”
Tony Parker scored 14 points for San Antonio, Martin and Ginobili added 13 points apiece and Tim Duncan had 12.
“We didn’t follow the game plan as expected — I’m not sure if it was effort or just things that happened,” Ginobili said. “(Memphis) had a good game, but we were always a step too late. It was not a great performance. We want to improve every game and tonight we didn’t.”
JaMychal Green’s 20 points led six Memphis players in double figures. Lance Stephenson added 17 points and Matt Barnes scored 14. Chris Anderson added 13 points, Jordan Farmar had 11 and Vince Carter hit for 10 points, all in the first half, for the Grizzlies.
The Spurs led 37-23 after the first quarter (scoring the most points in any first quarter this season) and 64-51 at halftime.
Memphis outscored San Antonio 16-8 in the first four minutes of the third quarter to reduce the Spurs’ lead to 72-67 as Barnes hit a turnaround bank shot, a 3-pointer and a driving hook in the surge. San Antonio pushed the advantage back to as many as seven points before a Barnes finger roll at the buzzer put Memphis back within striking range at 88-84.
Back-to-back dunks by Green off passes from Stephenson and Barnes brought the Grizzlies back within 92-90 with 8:12 left and set the stage for a furious finish. And then the Spurs started raining shots from 3-point territory.
“That was the biggest sequence of the game,” Stephenson said of the time he was on the floor holding his ankle and Ginobili hit his big shot. “I thought I was fouled and I twisted my ankle a little, but I should have gotten up and ran back. That was one of the reasons we lost the game.”
NOTES: The Spurs won the first two games played against Memphis this season, capturing the first meeting 92-82 on Nov. 21 at the AT&T; Center and 103-83 in the second matchup on Dec. 3 at FedExForum as Spurs F Kawhi Leonard connected on a career-high seven 3-pointers. … Memphis G Ray McCallum played in 31 games with San Antonio earlier this season, averaging 2.2 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 8.3 minutes. … The Spurs established an NBA season record this season by winning 54 straight games when shooting a higher field-goal percentage than their opponent. That record streak ended in a 91-89 loss at Charlotte on March 21. … Memphis has seen 27 different players log minutes this season, the highest number of players for one team in the course of a season since Dallas suited up 27 players in 1996-97. … The Grizzlies, who are in fifth place in the Western Conference standings, would become the first team in NBA history to make the NBA playoffs while using 24 or more different players in a season.