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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies

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After splitting their last back-to-back, the Spurs begin a two-game home stand. First up: the Memphis Grizzlies, who San Antonio already defeated on the road earlier this year.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies

AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
December 17, 2014, 7:30 p.m. Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

There's a half-baked theory that states that the more future Hall of Famers you have suited up, the better your chances of winning are. It's a notion that Coach Gregg Popovich continues to test, the most recent study taking place in Portland Monday night.

The Spurs had just 10 men available in a game against one of the West's best teams. With Tiago (calf) and the Big Three (hamstring, back, age) sitting, San Antonio fell 108-95 to a hungrier Blazers team powered by strong performances from Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge. It dropped SA to a tie for sixth place at the time, with the Mavs able to move ahead Tuesday night.

San Antonio welcomes another playoff contender on Wednesday, as the second-place Grizzlies travel to the T, after taking down the white-hot Warriors the night before. The two teams last played under two weeks ago, with Tim Duncan's triple double leading the Spurs to a 107-101 victory, snapping a 22-game home winning streak for Memphis. It's still the only loss they've suffered at home this season.

While Memphis got solid perfomances from Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Tayshaun Prince that night, the Spurs succeeded in once again stonewalling Zach Randolph down low. The bruising power forward mustered just 10 points on 4 of 11 shooting, and had to really work even for those buckets.

The Spurs are expecting Tony Parker and Tim Duncan back in the lineup tonight, and Tiago could return, as well, as Pop continues to get him up to speed. Considering the early uncertainty with the Brazilian's health, I understand the care they're taking in bringing him back.

Kawhi Leonard left Monday's game with under a minute to go holding his hand, the same one that's already cost him time and bothered him when he has played. There's no word on his status as of this writing, but I'd lean towards the classic "questionable" until we hear any further.

Even with Leonard out, I like San Antonio's chances of bouncing back Wednesday night -- mostly for the same reason I'd give if he were playing: history. Counting their four-game sweep in the 2013 Western Conference Finals, the Good Guys have now won nine straight against the Grizz. Containing Randolph has been a major corollary, and if head coach Dave Joerger doesn't get creative with how to get him the ball, then San Antonio should be able to beat Memphis for the second time this season.

Matchup to watch: Z-Bo vs. the Red Mamba. Conley will get his. Gasol will get his. But Randolph -- he'll try and plant his butt on that left block and, more often than not, get turned away by the steel resolve of the Ginger Curtain. Randolph's struggles against San Antonio are very real, and Bonner's effort in keeping him from getting position is a big part of that. Bryant Big Country Reeves isn't walking through that door.

vs.

Memphis Grizzlies (19-4)

San Antonio Spurs (17-8)

December 17, 2014

AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

7:30 p.m. CST

TV: FSSW

Radio: WOAI 1200AM

Starters

Mike Conley

PG

Tony Parker

Courtney Lee

SG

Danny Green

Tony Allen

SF

Kawhi Leonard

Zach Randolph

PF

Matt Bonner

Marc Gasol

C

Tim Duncan


Game prediction: Spurs by six.

For the Grizzlies' perspective, visit Grizzly Bear Blues.

As always, Tony must dominate Fisher, and you can get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment: Tel: 210-444-5607 | dfarias@attcenter.com