WHEN: 7:30 PM CT
WHERE: AT&T Center—San Antonio, TX
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
Memphis: Jaren Jackson Jr. (Questionable-LT thigh soreness), Morant (Out-LT Knee Soreness), Killian Tillie (Out-LT Knee Soreness)
San Antonio: Lonnie Walker IV (Probable-Back), Doug McDermott (Out-Ankle Sprain), Romeo Langford (Out-Hamstring)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Tyus Jones, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Steven Adams
San Antonio: Dejounte Murray, Josh Primo, Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, Jakob Poeltl
The Memphis Grizzlies will travel to San Antonio tonight to take on Dejounte Murray and the Spurs. The Grizzlies finished their homestand undefeated and enter tonight’s matchup on a five-game winning streak. The Spurs have lost all three of the previous matchups to the Grizzlies this season, but enter tonight's matchup on a four-game win streak of their own. In their last matchup, Ja Morant had 52 points highlighted by a monster slam over Jakob Poeltl, who is probably glad Morant will be sitting out tonight. With the Spurs fighting for play-in position, expect a very engaged and hungry Spurs team that knows every game counts this late in the season.
The Grizzlies bench, led by De’Anthony Melton, has been absolutely incredible during their five-game winning streak. The bench has averaged 53.4 points and has shot 44% from three during the last five games. De’Anthony Melton has had one of the best stretches of his career over that span, averaging over 20 points and shooting over 60% from three. Without Ja Morant, the production off the bench has been crucial to the success of the Grizzlies. If this bench production continues for the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs, the Grizzlies are going to be tough to beat in a 7-game series.
Missing Jaren Jackson Jr.?
Jaren Jackson Jr. is listed as questionable for the second straight game after missing Monday’s contest with the Warriors. Although the Grizzlies were able to get by without him against a short-handed Warriors team, his presence on both ends will be greatly missed against this Spurs squad. In his last 2 games against the Spurs this season, Jackson has averaged 17 Points, 10 Rebounds, and 4.5 blocks dominating on both ends of the court. It does not seem that Jaren’s injury is anything of concern long-term, but if he cannot go on Wednesday it will greatly hurt the Grizzlies chances of getting a win on the road. Kyle Anderson is a very capable starter and he played well in the last game against Golden State, but the Grizzlies would be much more comfortable with their DPOY candidate on the floor.
The Spurs are getting hot at the right time
The San Antonio Spurs have been on the outside looking in of the play-in tournament all season. However, thanks to some help from the dumpster fire that is the Los Angeles Lakers, they have found themselves in the 10th spot with seven games to play. The Spurs have won all of their last four games and five out of their last six led by first-time NBA All-Star Dejounte Murray. Murray has been key to their success all season and he has continued to pick up his play during these important games late in the season. During the winning streak, Murray has been incredible averaging 23.8 points, 9.8 assists, and 7.5 rebounds while continuing his tenacious defense. The Grizzlies will rely on Dillon Brooks to guard Murray and hopefully hold him below his career-high numbers, but it will not be an easy matchup. The Grizzlies will also have to deal with Keldon Johnson, who has scored 20 or more in three straight games.
The Memphis Grizzlies have been able to find success all season even without Ja Morant. On Monday, the Grizzlies improved to 18-2 without superstar point guard Ja Morant this season, including eight straight. Tyus Jones leads the NBA in AST/TO ratio and has run the Grizzlies offense to perfection in Morant's absence and moving the ball extremely well. The Grizzlies have shown no sign of slowing down going into the playoffs so there is no reason to expect them to start now. Grizzlies win 130-118 behind a big night from Desmond Bane.