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Grizzlies vs. Spurs Preview: Grizzlies return home to Memphis, Marc Gasol questionable to play

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Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs, Dec 5th, 7:00PM at FedexForum in Memphis, TN.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
2014/15 NBA Season
vs
2014/15:
15-3 (8-0 home)
2014/15:
13-5 (7-4 road)
December 5, 2014
FedExForum, Memphis, TN
7:00 PM CDT
Fox SportSouth / 92.9 FM ESPN
Possible Starters
Mike Conley PG Tony Parker
Courtney Lee SG Danny Green
Tony Allen SF Kawhi Leonard
Zach Randolph PF Tim Duncan
Kosta Koufos C Boris Diaw
2014/15 Advanced Stats
94.7 (22nd) Pace 95.8 (T-15th)
105.8 (10th) OEff 103.9 (17th)
98.3 (4th) DEff 96.3 (T-2nd)
50.2 (T-13th) RebR 52.2 (4th)

Spurs vs Grizzlies coverage

Opponent's Blog: Pounding The Rock

Injuries

Spurs: Patty Mills (Out, shoulder), Tiago Splitter (Out, calf)

Grizzlies: Marc Gasol (Questionable, knee)

Know Your Opponent

The Spurs continue to do Spurs-like things in a Spursy manner.  Early in the season, San Antonio is flying under the radar but sits just 2 games behind the Grizzlies in the standings.  Though the Spurs' offensive efficiency has been uncharacteristically average, the defense and rebounding that are their other hallmarks have been very evident early in the season.  Not much has changed in the core makeup of the Spurs, as Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, and Manu Ginobili remain their biggest contributors, along with their usual crew of productive role players:  Danny Green, Boris Diaw, Cory Joseph, Matt Bonner, Aron Baynes, and Marco Belinelli.  2013/14 key role players Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills will no doubt rejoin those ranks once they return from injury.

Points of Grizzly Emphasis

Stay the course, Part 1

Adversity had to happen at some point.  The Grizzlies were flying high at 15-2 and had suffered no significant injuries.  Along comes an ugly loss to a depleted Houston Rockets roster and a (thankfully minor) knee injury to Marc Gasol, and here it is.   As our own Joe Mullinax pointed out, there is a long December ahead with a lot of tough matchups that will test the Grizzlies.  Shooting percentages may be up and down.  There may be some ugly wins and uglier losses.  At the end of it all, if this team finds a way to stick together and rack up wins through this tough stretch, they will be a better team for it.

Stay the course, Part 2

What cost the Grizzlies the game in Houston was getting away from many of the things that have made them successful.  The Grizzlies were out-rebounded by 13 and turned the ball over 20 times, nearly all of them coming from guards Conley, Allen, Udrih, and Calathes.  The Grizzlies' bigs must compete on the boards and the Grizzlies' guards must take care of the ball for this team to be successful.   This is a tough veteran group, and I expect that they will right the ship.

Why you should watch this game

Despite Marc Gasol's questionable status and the dreaded Spurs as the opponent, this Grizzlies team is still 8-0 at home and 15-3 overall to start the season.   The Spurs are smarting from an overtime loss to Brooklyn and will likely be geared up to try to take a game from their division rival.  This should be a tough one, the kind of gut-churning test of wills and execution we've come to expect from Grizzlies-Spurs.   We wouldn't expect anything less.