2017 NBA Playoffs
2017 NBA Playoffs

Numbers preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies

John Schuhmann

John Schuhmann NBA.com


Apr 13, 2017 11:30 PM ET

With one big exception, the Spurs have gotten the best of the Grizzlies in past playoff matchups.

The San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies have a history; This will be the fifth time they've met in the playoffs. The Spurs have swept the Grizzlies in three of the previous four meetings, but the Grizzlies' win (in 2011) was one of three times that a No. 8 seed has beaten a No. 1 seed in a best-of-seven series.

This time, for the second straight year, Spurs-Grizz is a 2-7 series. A year ago, the Spurs' sweep came by an average of 22 points.

The Grizz are much healthier this year, though they're likely to be without Tony Allen, who has a strained calf and was the primary defender on MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard in the regular season. Once again, the Grizzlies limped into the playoffs in more ways than one, winning only seven of their 21 games in March and April.

The Spurs were a regular season juggernaut again. They are, seemingly, the biggest threat to the 67-win Golden State Warriors. But San Antonio's depth won't be as much of a factor in the playoffs, when matchups can dictate success or failure. And this matchup won't be nearly as easy as it was a year ago.

Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for the 2-7 series in the West, with links to let you dive in and explore more.

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

San Antonio Spurs (61-21)

Pace: 96.4 (27)
OffRtg: 108.8 (7)
DefRtg: 100.9 (1)
NetRtg: +7.9 (2)

Regular season:Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups
vs. Memphis:Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

Spurs notes:

Memphis Grizzlies (43-39)

Pace: 94.7 (28)
OffRtg: 104.7 (19)
DefRtg: 104.5 (7)
NetRtg: +0.1 (13)

Regular season:Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups
vs. San Antonio:Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

Grizzlies notes:

The matchup

Season series:Tied 2-2 (Home team won all 4 games)
Feb. 6 @ MEM - Grizzlies 89, Spurs 74
Mar. 18 @ MEM - Grizzlies 104, Spurs 96
Mar. 23 @ SAS - Spurs 97, Grizzlies 90
Apr. 4 @ SAS - Spurs 95, Grizzlies 89 (OT)

Pace: 90.1
SAS OffRtg: 98.2 (25th vs. MEM)
MEM OffRtg: 100.2 (17th vs. SAS)

Matchup notes:

  • None of the four meetings were the second game of a back-to-back for either team.
  • Kawhi Leonard (quad contusion) and Pau Gasol (broken finger) missed the first meeting (Feb. 6). Tony Allen missed the last meeting with an eye injury and Mike Conley was knocked out of that game in the fourth quarter with an eye injury of his own.
  • The pace of 90.1 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes was slowest among first-round playoff matchups.
  • The two teams combined to score just 88 points per 100 possessions in the four first quarters. The Grizzlies led the first and fourth meetings, respectively, by scores of 17-14 and 16-14 after the first quarter. But they combined to score 121 per 100 in the four third quarters.
  • The Grizzlies outscored the Spurs, 60-24, in second chance points (37-9 in Memphis' two wins).
  • The Spurs had the league's best aggregate bench NetRtg at plus-8.9 overall, but it was minus-4.5 against Memphis. Manu Ginobili's minus-20 over the four games was his worst plus-minus against any opponent.
  • According to SportVU, the players who defended each other most over the four games were Tony Parker and Mike Conley. Parker scored 21 points on 10-for-21 shooting with Conley defending him (for 23:18), while Conley scored 18 points on 7-for-17 shooting with Parker defending him (for 23:58).
  • LaMarcus Aldridge shot 10-for-17 (59 percent) with JaMychal Green defending him over the four games, but 19-for-48 (40 percent) otherwise.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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