WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/ 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
SAN ANTONIO: Rudy Gay (Probable, ankle), Dejounte Murray (Out, knee), Lonnie Walker (Out, ankle), Derrick White (Out, heel)
MEMPHIS: Jonas Valanciunas (Questionable, immigration issues), Kyle Anderson (Out, shoulder), Dillon Brooks (Out, toe)
PROBABLE STARTING LINEUPS:
SAN ANTONIO: Bryn Forbes, DeMar DeRozan, Davis Bertans, LeMarcus Aldridge, Jakob Poeltl
MEMPHIS: Mike Conley, Avery Bradley, Justin Holiday, Jaren Jackson Jr., Ivan Rabb
The Grizzlies continue their home stand with another division matchup as they face off against a shorthanded Spurs squad. Despite being shorthanded for most of the season, the Spurs are just 1.5 games back from the division leading Houston Rockets. However, the Spurs come into tonight’s game on a 4 game losing streak while the Grizzlies are looking to win their second game in a row after defeating the Pelicans on Saturday.
The Grizzlies have won two close matchup’s against the Spurs while the Spurs won a blowout in San Antonio. A win tonight would clinch the season series for the Grizzlies over the Spurs, which doesn’t happen very often. Here’s what the Grizzlies need to do to clinch the season series and win tonight.
In the last matchup, the Grizzlies held the Spurs to a season low 86 points limiting both LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar Derozan to under 15 points. The Avery Bradley-Justin Holiday combo will be tasked with slowing down Derozan. Marc Gasol did a great job down low on Aldridge so with him gone, Jaren Jackson Jr. and company will need to do their best to limit Aldridge while also avoiding foul trouble. The Spurs aren’t a high powered offensive team, so limiting their best two players would go a long way in getting a much needed win.
Unleash the Unicorn
Jaren Jackson Jr. has scored in double digits in 4 straight games, eclipsing the 20 point threshold twice. With Gasol in Toronto, JJJ has become more of a focal point of the Grizzlies offense and has had some success. Mike Conley can’t carry this team by himself so Jaren’s offensive contribution will go a long way in determining how the Grizzlies do. The Spurs have a great defensive system, but the Aldridge, Poeltl and Pau Gasol trio should have a difficult time defending JJJ (and Valanciunas if he’s able to play). Look for the Grizzlies to feed the big men early and often to win tonight.
Protect the Ball
The Grizzlies had no problems integrating their new guys in the lineup on Saturday but look for Greg Popovich to set his defense up to try and force some easy turnovers as the new look Grizzlies get familiar playing with one another. The Grizzlies will need to take care of the ball and not give the Spurs extra possessions and easy points off turnovers, as every possession counts in what is likely to be a low scoring game.
The Grizzlies have played well of late, even in losses, to give fans hope. The Spurs are always a tough matchup for the Grizzlies and tonight should be no different. Ultimately, I think Aldridge is able to get Jaren in foul trouble early en route to a big night for the Spurs big man. With the early foul trouble, I don’t think Jaren will be able to get in enough of a flow offensively to help Conley carry the burden on offense resulting in a close Spurs win.
Spurs 104, Grizzlies 99