Who: Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs
When: 7:00 PM Saturday, December 1, 2012
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
Records: Memphis (12-2), San Antonio (13-5)
Media: SportSouth, 92.9 FM, 680 AM
Forums: 3 Shades of Blue, Grizzlies Message Board
Memphis plays their second back to back series of the season tonight in San Antonio against a surprisingly well-rested Spurs team (more on that later). Memphis took care of business in the first game with a convincing victory over the Detroit Pistons. Tony Allen was rested but could have gone if needed. Zach Randolph had his first uninspiring effort of the season as well failing to get double figures in points or rebounds. Still the Grizzlies coasted to a 13 point win against the Pistons who beat Phoenix by 40 recently. Darrell Arthur is getting back into shape scoring 11 points and Jerryd Bayless pumped in 10 as well as the bench made up for a rather disinterested effort from the starting 5.
San Antonio made a very interesting decision to rest Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Danny Green Thursday night. To avoid any temptation of Coach Pops to use them he sent them back to San Antonio. Peculiar move to say the least since the Heat are the defending NBA champs, the game was televised nationally and the Spurs have Friday off anyway. San Antonio has played three more games than the Grizzlies so fatigue early in the season is a factor, especially on an older team like the Spurs. But was the move more of a slight toward the Heat, a nod to the Grizzlies or a flippant response to the NBA scheduler? Stern felt it was a slight to the league and fined the Spurs $250,000 for the slight. The Spurs still put up a big effort against the Heat finally falling at the end.
Expected Starting Lineups:
Mike Conley vs Tony Parker
This is a marquee matchup between two of the better PGs in the Western Conference. Speed is abundant from both players as are clutch big shots. Parker is more of an offensive threat while Conley is better at picking pockets but both are capable in both areas. If Conley can keep Parker from having a big scoring night then the it should be a big advantage for the Grizzlies. However, that is easier said than done. Parker will be well rested after skipping out of the Miami game
Advantage: San Antonio
Tony Allen vs Danny Green
Tony Allen was rested against Detroit, although he said he could have gone if needed. Danny Green was rested against Miami but could have played had he not been sent home. Fatigue shouldn’t be an issue for either player in other words. Allen has been as good on the defensive end as could be asked but his offensive decision-making has been very suspect, possibly because he’s a free agent at the end of the season and wants to get a big contract in the off-season. Green is simply a stop-gap so the Spurs can bring Ginobili off the bench so Tony shutting him down won’t be much of a concern for the Spurs.
Rudy Gay vs Kawhi Leonard
Rudy Gay definitely didn’t get to rest on Friday night. Playing 39 minutes Rudy led the Grizzlies in scoring but only shot 6-17 in the game with 4 boards and no assists. Still Gay is 11th in the league in scoring and has been more aggressive this season than in years past. Leonard has been out the last two weeks but has targeted this game for his return. He gave Gay plenty of problems last season with his aggressive defense and hustling offensive game. Gay is more athletic but Leonard does more with what he has. The rust could be a problem however.
Zach Randolph vs Tim Duncan
Another battle of dominant players, Tim Duncan somehow continues to put up big numbers despite his age and Randolph continues to put up big numbers despite barely being able to jump above the rim. In the playoffs two years ago Duncan was unable to contain Randolph but last season Duncan reasserted himself as the superior player. Duncan is not able to log major minutes any more but is still efficient when he does play. Randolph will need to bring his best effort against the taller Duncan.
Advantage: San Antonio
Marc Gasol vs DeJuan Blair
DeJuan Blair has been playing solidly for an undersized Center since re-entering the starting lineup. His numbers don’t show it but he has helped take some of the pounding off of Duncan by being the brute beneath the boards for the Spurs. Gasol is taller, heavier and far more skilled than Blair. His passing will be a major asset as he will be able to see over Blair when matched up and his jump shot will pull Blair away from his comfort zone around the basket. Of all the match-ups this one favors the Grizzlies the most. The one drawback is Gasol has a tendency to defer to others too often. He will need to be aggressive for the entire game to help the Grizzlies win the game.
San Antonio showed just how deep their team truly is in Miami when they gave the Heat all they wanted before falling in the final seconds. Gary Neal, Paddy Mills and Tiago Splitter all are talented players who know their roles and play them well. However, it is Manu Ginobili that is the spark off the Spurs bench. The 35-year-old Argentine has been a superstar in the league for years despite not starting and will give the Grizzlies fits. Memphis’ bench is improved from past seasons. Bayless and Pondexter have manned the perimeter well with Marreese Speights and Darrell Arthur bringing energy and range in the frontcourt. The wild card could be Wayne Ellington. Against Miami, Ellington was on fire hitting 7 three-point shots and scoring a career high 25 points but he has been cold since that game, hitting only his 2nd three since Miami against Detroit last night.
Advantage: San Antonio
48 Minutes of Hell