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Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs Game Preview

Enjoy the little things.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (18-44, 5-24 road) @ San Antonio Spurs (36-27, 22-8 home)

WHEN: 7:30 PM CT

WHERE: AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: FOX Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis

INJURY REPORT-

MEMPHIS- Jarell Martin (Probable, knee), Deyonta Davis (Questionable, knee), Marc Gasol (Questionable, quad/ankle), Mario Chalmers (Out, hamstring), Andrew Harrison (Out, wrist), Tyreke Evans (Out, rib), Mike Conley (Out, heel)

SAN ANTONIO- LaMarcus Aldridge (Questionable, ankle), Kawhi Leonard (Injury Management, out)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS-

MEMPHIS- Wayne Selden Jr., Ben McLemore, Dillon Brooks, JaMychal Green, Jarell Martin

SAN ANTONIO- Patty Mills, Dejounte Murray, Kyle Anderson, Davis Bertans, Pau Gasol


It is a battle of streaks tonight in San Antonio.

The one you know about is the 13-game losing streak of the Memphis Grizzlies. That’s the one that has led to Memphis being atop the tankathon.com standings as the team most likely to land the #1 draft pick in the NBA Lottery...for now. Injuries have derailed this season for the Grizzlies, and poor play since then have driven it completely and totally in to the ground. Ben McLemore is playing big minutes. Jarell Martin and Mario Chalmers started the last game Memphis played, a loss in Orlando. There’s a lot that led this team to this streak...and it may not end any time soon.

The other streak, the one you’re probably not as familiar with, is the 4-game losing skid at home of the mighty San Antonio Spurs. The scary Spurs, the boogeyman who everyone fears this time of year as the playoff push ramps up, are struggling in their friendly confines. How much of that has to do with their own injury issues (or Kawhi Leonard’s lack thereof creating drama)? Surely some of the issue is that. But in the past San Antonio was able to overcome that and still be a dominant regular season squad. Now? The Spurs are only two games ahead of 9 seed in the Western Conference.

Two streaks meet in San Antonio tonight. How can the Grizzlies end theirs?

GET AT THE RIM

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Pau Gasol and Davis Bertans are not known dominant rim protectors. Gasol has lost a step or two, and Bertans is more comfortable on the perimeter than in the paint. While the Spurs defense is still a strength of theirs, they can potentially be taken advantage of at the rim, especially if Aldridge is out. What the Grizzlies lack in shooting and overall offensive efficiency they make up for in raw athleticism, especially among their bigs. JaMychal Green, Jarell Martin, Ivan Rabb...these are three guys who could really make an impact on rim runs.

Movement and smart decisions in the paint will make a big impact tonight.

KEEP THE FOUL DIFFERENCE AS LOW AS POSSIBLE

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Grizzlies are the 2nd-most foul happy team in the entire NBA. The Spurs foul less than any team in the Association. If Memphis fouls the Spurs early and often, and San Antonio gets in to the bonus early, it is going to be near impossible for the Grizzlies to win. It would be silly to ask the young Memphis roster to not foul. That is going to happen. But a sign of growth would be smart fouls, necessary fouls. Protecting the rim, closing out on shooters and going around (not through) them. If they can do that, the gap between free throws won’t be so large that the Spurs could put the game away at the charity stripe.

It would give Memphis a fighting chance.

THE PREDICTION

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs are struggling currently, but no where near as much as Memphis. The Grizzlies simply do not have the horses to hang with San Antonio, in San Antonio, for a full 48 minutes. The young Grizzlies are scrappy and will probably keep this game closer than it should be, especially since the two slowest PACE squads in the NBA (San Antonio is 29th, Memphis is 30th) are facing off. But the Spurs will finish it out.

Memphis will have other, better, chances to end their streak this week. Tonight, the Spurs will end theirs.

San Antonio 101, Memphis 94

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