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Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs San Antonio Spurs
When: Monday, April 1st, 7:00 PM CST
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Records: Memphis (49-24), San Antonio (55-18)
Media: NBA TV, SportSouth, 92.9 FM, 680 AM
Discuss at: 3 Shades of BlueGrizzlies Message Board

Memphis looks to snag a win tonight, which would solidify just the second 50 win season for the franchise, and match the team’s highest single season win total of all time with eight games remaining. In spite of all the turmoil this season, perceived or real, they have managed to keep the majority of it where it belongs: behind the scenes. To achieve the 50 win mark tonight all they must do is defeat the San Antonio Spurs… surely a tall order. The Grizzlies have the home crowd behind them as well as the national stage on NBA TV as they attempt to do so. Home court advantage has been huge for the Grizzlies as of late, displayed by their winning 11 straight at the Grindhouse, where they haven’t lost since a February 5th meeting with the Suns. In their last outing, the Grizz amounted a double digit victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, but in very unassuming fashion. The bench played well, which is an encouraging sign, and they’re going to need more of that against tonight’s opponent.

76ersSan Antonio is coming off of a two point loss at the hands of the Miami Heat, in spite of the fact that Erik Spolestra “Gregg Popovich-ed” Gregg Popovich. That was a mouthful, but the Heat took down the Spurs with Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Mario Chalmers in suits. The loss was just the Spurs fifth home loss of the season, but luckily for the Grizz, tonight’s matchup is not their house. Formerly known for their defense, the Spurs have evolved and made waves with their offense this season. They currently sit at fourth in the league in points per game, and move the ball with ease as they sit atop the league in assists per game with 25.2. A solid 64% of their baskets are assisted as opposed to the Grizzlies’ 58% on the year. The Spurs are not to be confused for a team to place priority on regular season games (especially back-to-backs) over longevity for the postseason, but I reckon they’ll be highly motivated to win this one with Oklahoma City nipping at their heels for the one seed.

Expected Starting Lineups:

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Mike Conley vs Tony Parker:
There have been few spans of time over the course of Conley’s career in which he has played better ball. He has been coming up big as a scorer and distributor lately, has a crazy steal streak running, and on the season, his PER is up to a career high of 18.22. All of this being said, Parker is having himself yet another phenomenal season as he transitions towards being the lead cornerstone of the Spurs franchise. He is shooting 53% this year, which is unheard of from the one spot and has historically caused tons of problems for Mr. Conley, who would be very well served to watch as much film on him as possible to pick up some pointers in the offseasons.
Advantage: San Antonio

Tony Allen

Tony Allen vs Danny Green:
I would never mistake Allen for a man to back down from a challenge, but the fact that Manu Ginobili will be sidelined with a hamstring issue has to be a relief heading into this game. That means that Green will likely be his main assignment for the night, which I wouldn’t call a softball, but is certainly a far cry from Ginobili.
Advantage: Memphis

Rudy Gay

Tayshaun Prince vs Kawhi Leonard:
I was going to leave Rudy Gay as the photo for this matchup as a weak and misguided April fools’ gag, but man that would just downright be doing Tayshaun dirty. The fresh Prince has done an exceptional job of distancing himself from the shadow cast by the man who preceded him at the position by embracing the grit n’ grind culture of this team, shutting down his man on the defensive end, and playing within himself offensively. Leonard has played well and recollected his game after he was hampered by an injury early in the year, and is continuing to emerge as a force on both ends of the floor.
Advantage: San Antonio

Zach Randolph

Zach Randolph vs Tim Duncan:
Here we go again. The battle of the front-lines could very well be the determining factor of this game, and the matchups “in the mud,” as Randolph so eloquently put it, are usually more of a tag team effort than a collection of one-on-one assignments. By the law of the land, Duncan is a power forward, but his size frequently shifts him over to the center to cover Marc Gasol. If he stays at the four, his combination of length and precise positioning spell bad news for Randolph, who just recently snapped out of his mini-slump.
Advantage: San Antonio

Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol vs Tiago Splitter:
Gasol continues to boost his campaign as a serious contender for the title of top center in the league. He has gone 8-12 shooting from the floor for 21 points in each of the past two games. And that might at most tell a third of the story of the impact he has on the game. He may be harboring a bit of pain stemming from his abdominal strain/tear/whatever you want to call it, but he sure as heck won’t let you know it by his play. Splitter is no opponent to stick your nose up at, however. His stats don’t jump out at you, but his physicality and effectiveness around the rim are a strong net positive for the Spurs. It would greatly benefit the Grizzlies to draw him out of the paint with the high-low game of the bigs.
Advantage: Memphis

Benches:

San Antonio, even without Sir Manu, is one of the deepest teams in the league. Stephen Jackson headlines this group with Ginobili sidelined, and can get more than his fair share of shots off and in. Additionally, he’s essentially the guy that during his tenure with the Bobcats taught the O.J. Mayo-era Grizzlies that they couldn’t rely on Juice as the sole shooting guard down the stretch. Essentially, he likes to abuse smaller two guards with the post-up game, which doesn’t sound good for the Grizzlies who have been playing the 6’3 Jerryd Bayless at the two a whole lot lately. In addition to Jackson, Gary Neal, Matt Bonner, Boris Diaw, Nando de Colo, are all viable options to give the Grizzlies headaches off the bench. On the Grizz side, the bench looked good against the lowly Timberwolves, but has been anything but consistent lately.
Advantage: San Antonio

Opposing Views:
48 Minutes of Hell

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3 Responses to Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs – 4/1/13

  1. Chip CrainNo Gravatar says:

    Spurs just announced that Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan are both out to ight with sore left knees.

  2. Chip CrainNo Gravatar says:

    Spurs just announced that Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan are both out tonight with sore left knees.

  3. LuvThem GrizzliesNo Gravatar says:

    2 big games for Memphis tonight, the Grizzlies-Spurs and the Pacers-Clippers. this game will probably be a barn burner just like 2 of the other 3 were, just hope the Grizzlies come out playing well. Grizzlies-Pacer wins could go a long way toward Memphis getting the HC advantage.

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