Game Preview #39: San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies

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Just when we thought things were really lining up.

The Spurs pretty much passed out last night - they have occasional blackouts, when nobody remembers anything that happened once they wake up the next day. Wow, what a hangover. And today, they face the dreaded FOGAFINI. Even better news: The team they face tonight is much better than the one they lost to last night. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Hang on, we're going to experience some turbulence.

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San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies
Where: FedEx Forum - Memphis, TN
When: January 15, 2010; 7:00 PM Spurs time
Watch: FSN Southwest


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How They Stack Up
17-6 Home 13-5
7-7 Road 7-13
102.2
Offense 104.0
95.7 Defense 104.2
48.8 FG% 47.6
39.3
3-pt% 32.5
74.1
FT% 73.4
42.1
Rebounds 43.5
13.5
TOs 15.6
7-3 Last 10 7-3
Lost 1
Streak Won 2
2nd, Southwest Position 4th,Southwest (tie)

Country/Time Zone Game Time
Argentina 10:00 PM
West Coast
5:00 PM
Philippines 9:00 AM
Central Europe 2:00 AM
Palestine/Egypt 3:00 AM
East Coast 8:00 PM
Surprisingly Balmy
6:00 PM
Perth, AUS 9:00 AM
Tokyo, JP 10:00 AM
Sydney, AUS 11:00 AM

Spurs
(24-14)
Matchups

Grizzlies
(20-18)

Tony Parker
Plantain Fascination

Point Guard

Conley's a pretty good point guard, and might be a top-5 offensive PG if he was on a team with less scorers. Tony is Tony, injured or not.

Advantage: Spurs


Mike Conley
Not Tony

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Manu Ginobili
FSM's son

Shooting Guard

This isn't a slight to Mayo, whose game compares reasonably well to that of Manu. We'll count on Keith Bogans to try to quiet him down early on, before unleashing Manu on them. Manu gets the edge for his incredible passing and playmaking.

Advantage: Spurs


O.J. Mayo
Excellent Sophomore

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Richard Jefferson
Unfairly Maligned

Small Forward

Just like the above matchup wasn't a slight on Mayo, this isn't a slight on RJ - he's been fitting in much better as of late. Rudy Gay is that good, and he does almost everything very well. As far as Western Conference small forwards go, only Carmelo is better. I need to see some defense out there tonight, Rage. Anything you can provide on offense is just icing on the cake.

Advantage: Grizz


Rudy Gay
Leader of the Grizz

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Tim Duncan
What year is it?

Power Forward

We all know Timmy's been having a career year this season, putting up mind-blowing per minute numbers, and looking as spry as he did 5 years ago. Guess who else is having a career year, and even being unselfish about it? Z-Bo looks like a completely different player these days, and that means the trade that Memphis made for him looks genius, not nearly as terrible as some people initially thought.

Advantage: Tied


Zach Randolph
Z-Bo Lives

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DeJuan Blair
37th Pick - LOL

Center

This is a completely unfair matchup. Gasol and Randolph get after rebounds as eagerly as DeJuan does, and they're both tall enough and skilled enough on offense to make things really difficult for him. DeJuan may end up having a short night, because these guys could easily put him in foul trouble. I'm still interested in Thabeetdown part 2, if that can be arranged.

Advantage: Grizz


Marc Gasol
Might be better than Pau

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George Hill
Freed

Bench & Role Players

Between Young, DeMarre Carroll, Thabeet, Tinsley, and Marcus Williams(the other one), Memphis actually has a pretty strong bench. Other than George, our role players haven't exactly inspired confidence as of late. Statistically, we have the #1 bench in the league, but it sure hasn't seemed that way.

Advantage: Tied


Sam Young
DeJuan's Homeboy (36th pick - LOL)

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Gregg Popovich
Doesn't Suck

Coach

Smallball ain't gonna work tonight, Pop. PLEASE don't try it.

Advantage: Spurs


Lionel Hollins
eh?
images via yahoo.com

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Other Factors

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Intangibles

FOGAFINI for us, SEGABABA for them.

Advantage: Tied

Mojo

Grizz won by 25 last night. Spurs had their worst loss of the season.

Advantage: Grizz

Winner:

Because the last two time I predicted a loss, I was wrong. Good for the mojo to continue doing so. And yesterday, somebody predicted a win, a prediction which lead to a Spurs loss. Also, Memphis is playing incredible basketball as of late.

Keys To The Game

  • Defense - Just in case last night's game didn't make it abundantly clear, the Spurs can not count on their offense to win every game. But unlike last night, today's opponent is very, very good on offense. The 135 points the Grizz scored last night should give the Spurs pause, and the Memphis offense was already 8th in the league in efficiency before that, a huge improvement from the mid-20's, where they were ranked for a lot of the early season. The Spurs have to find a way to get stops.
  • Rebounding - Memphis is the #1 team in the league when it comes to total rebounding percentage, while the Spurs are #3. It goes without saying that the Grizz feed off extra possessions whenever they can, so the Spurs have to limit those. Getting a defensive stop, only to have your opponent get an extra possession is one of the most disheartening things you can see as a player.

Strength of Schedule

This is the final game of the dreaded FOGAFINI, and third in a row on the road. The Spurs' day off tomorrow may not be as much of a break as you think either, since they have a very early start time Monday against New Orleans. Luckily for us, this is a SEGABABA for the Grizz, too.

Last Time They Met

How is it that we're having our very first game against one of our division opponents almost halfway through the season? It's a realy head scratcher. Even stranger is that these teams haven't faced each other in more than a full year, with the Spurs winning the last contest 91-80 on January 2, 2009.

Some Other Reading

Grizzlies

Straight Outta Vancouver - Here you'll find the SBN site for the Grizz, where djturtleface does everything himself. That guy must have a death wish to do so much.
3 Shades of Blue - The Memphis TrueHoop affiliate. True confession: I'm a regular reader - I just really like the way it's written.

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell: The best TrueHoop team blog is now even better, after adding two new writers. Congrats to Jesse and Andrew, who are already doing good work.
Project Spurs: Check out their podcast recaps of the game, plus the well-written articles.


Where to Tune In

TV

This game will be aired on Fox Sports SW in San Antonio, and apparently not on TV in Memphis at all. If you have cable or satellite, you'll have to look up your individual channel. And of course, there's always League Pass for the haves. For the have nots, read on.

Online

As always, NBA League Pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Most Spurs games will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area.

Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. In fact, nobody can stop you from googling "atdhe". You can also shoot an email to dmenendez@gmail.com for more assistance.

NBA League Pass audio is still free this year, so check it out.

Radio

If you're in the San Antonio area and aren't near a TV, tune in to WOAI (1200 AM).

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