It’s easy to forget that the Grizzlies had one of the more impressive starts to the 2017-18 season, reeling off three straight wins over the Pelicans, Warriors and Rockets on their way to a 5-1 record.
Of course that was one coaching shakeup and one Mike Conley injury ago, and entire franchise directions can shift in three months. Memphis now has its sight set on the lottery, with a bit of self-reflection required on the best way to manage a bloated salary cap and diminished hopes for success.
The Spurs have had some ebbs and flows themselves, most recently at the starting point guard slot, where Dejounte Murray has stepped in to relieve Tony Parker. The upside is clearly there with the 21-year-old — he has 10 combined steals over the last two games to go with a flurry of impressive feats. The next step will be showing a bit of consistency and reliability in the half-court. Against the Cavaliers defense, that didn’t prove to be a challenge, but a Grizzlies team that has taken to winning again (three straight) should offer a bit more resistance.
The Grizzlies aren’t world-beaters, but with a 16th-rated defense, they will serve as a perfectly average test for the Spurs, and for Murray who will look to parlay the good vibes from Tuesday night into Wednesday.
San Antonio Spurs (31-18) at Memphis Grizzlies (17-29)
January 24, 2018 | 7:00 pm CDT
Watch: FSSW; Listen: 1200 AM WOAI
Spurs injuries: Rudy Gay (heel), Kawhi Leonard (quad tendon), Pau Gasol (right wrist sprain), Manu Ginobili (right thigh contusion)
Grizzlies injuries: Mike Conley (Achillles), James Ennis III (calf), JaMychal Green (ankle), Chandler Parsons (knee), Brandan Wright (illness)
It’s the closest thing to a Clegane Bowl that the NBA can offer us — if the elder Gasol’s in uniform, that is. Pau sat out Tuesday night’s game against the Cavs under the same explanation (wrist) that had him on the injury report a few games ago. My guess is that was to rest the 37-year-old for tonight, but we’ll see as we approach gametime.
Losing streak, snapped
The Spurs had lost two straight before bouncing back against the reeling Cavaliers, 114-102. In his second start as The Starting Point Guard versus Cleveland, Murray stole the show, crashing the offensive glass, attacking in transition, and finishing above the rim. Another positive from Tuesday night: the Spurs were able to limit the minutes of guys like Patty Mills (20 minutes) and Tony Parker (18 minutes), who should both be fresh tonight.
The Road SEGABABA Blues
Until the team can prove otherwise, it wouldn’t hurt to expect the themes of road games past (poor shooting, subpar play from the reserves) to rear their ugly heads tonight.
Vegas prediction: Spurs by 3.5.
Game prediction: Grizzlies by 5.
For the Grizzlies fans’ perspective, visit Grizzly Bear Blues.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher.
PtR’s Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.