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Game 4 Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies

The Spurs may have taken the best shot the Grizzlies had in Game 3. Now that they're facing elimination at home, what does Memphis have left?

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies

FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
Date: 4/24/16, Time: 12:00 PM Spurs Time

With little going their way in the second and third quarters of Game 3, the Spurs appeared to be locked into the type of trench warfare Memphis wanted. It wasn't pretty, and it yielded little separation for either side as baskets were exchanged in such a way that a harrowing conclusion seemed inevitable.

But this wasn't a fair fight before the series started, and Kawhi Leonard reminded everyone of that as the final quarter got underway. He scored five early points in the first couple of minutes (and 13 total in the quarter) and San Antonio slowly but surely pulled away.

Now on the brink of elimination, the onus is on Memphis to once again dominate the offensive glass, coax another 20-10 game out of Zach Randolph, and win the battle in the paint, where they outscored San Antonio 44 to 28 in Game 3. It's a big ask for a squad that's heard every synonym of "ragtag" and "overmatched" throughout this series, but this also isn't the type of team to lie down and forfeit a sweep.

As a result, we may see a lot of Game 3 in today's Game 4, beginning with Dave Joerger rolling out the same small-ball unit he started last game with. Randolph slid into the center spot, and Chris Andersen was replaced by Tony Allen in the starting five. It didn't necessarily give the Grizzlies more spacing, but they had more mobility on the defensive end and still managed to wreak havoc around the rim.

On the Spurs' side, more of the same will probably get it done, but my curiosity's definitely piqued by a fivesome that Paul Garcia from Project Spurs pointed out after Game 3:

The most intriguing part of this lineup is obviously not the impact it'll have in this series but in a potential matchup against that Bay Area team they might face in a few weeks. We won't know how that lineup is able to defend against the Warriors' galaxy-destroying unit, but it does look like a formidable group to roll out in a close one. Look at the chaos a Kawhi iso play causes for the Grizzlies' help defense in the play below, with no player able to commit to help due to the threat their man poses once/if the ball were to be swung around (H/T Chris Itz):

Before we can focus on that matchup (or even the team before them), San Antonio will have to close things out against a proud group of guys on their home court. Here's hoping for a nice, healthy sweep.

Key to winning: Healthy being the operative word.


San Antonio Spurs

(Playoffs record: 3-0)

Memphis Grizzlies

(Playoffs record: 0-3)

April 24, 2016

FedExForum, Memphis, TN

12:00 PM CDT



Tony Parker


Jordan Farmar

Danny Green


Vince Carter

Kawhi Leonard


Tony Allen

LaMarcus Aldridge


Matt Barnes

Tim Duncan


Zach Randolph

Game prediction: Spurs by 16.

For the Grizzlies fans' perspective, visit Grizzly Bear Blues.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.

As always, PtR's Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. But if you're not able to log in here, you can try the Fanvana app which helps connect sports fans and was created by a fellow Spurs fan. Check out the free app on iOS or Android to discover other Spurs fans and join the live chatter for tonight's game. You can follow PtR's tweet stream directly on Fanvana as the game unfolds.