The reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs are struggling without star point guard Tony Parker.

They try to put an end to their slump Wednesday night when they visit the last-place Memphis Grizzlies.

The Spurs (18-6) hold a one-half game lead on Phoenix for the best record in the Western Conference, but have dropped three of their last four including a 100-95 defeat to the Suns on Monday. They are 1-2 over the last three contests without Parker, who is nursing a sprained left ankle. His status is uncertain for this contest.

Parker, the 2007 NBA Finals MVP, is averaging team highs of 20.1 points and 6.8 assists. He had 21 points and eight assists in the last meeting between these clubs, a 101-88 Spurs win at home on Nov. 23.

San Antonio has won both games against the Grizzlies (7-17) this season, giving it a 9-1 mark over the last 10 games of the series. The only loss in that span was a 101-91 defeat on April 16, when Spurs starters Parker, center Tim Duncan and shooting guard Manu Ginobili were all rested.

Duncan played well in the Nov. 23 matchup, scoring a then-season high 28 points and adding nine rebounds. The big man topped that Monday with 36 points and a season-high 17 boards.

It was a vast improvement after his first game back from a sprained ankle on Saturday, when he scored eight points with five rebounds in a 102-91 win over Denver.

"He needed a game like this," Ginobili said after Monday's win. "He did everything he could to make us win this game. ... It was frustrating for us not to help him get the win."

Ginobili, who had 18 points against the Suns, has struggled in the last four games. He has made only 31.1 percent of his shots (19-for-61) to average 14 points - down considerably from his averages of 21.2 points and 47.8 percent shooting in the season's first 20 contests.

This is the only road game in a span of seven contests from Dec. 15 to the end of the year for the Spurs, who are 5-5 on the road and have dropped their last two games away from San Antonio. They're trying to avoid their first three-game road losing streak April 13-20, 2005.

Memphis, meanwhile, is last in the Southwest Division and has only one win in its last eight contests. The Grizzlies fell 125-117 to Golden State on Monday to run their home losing streak to four games.

Like the Spurs with Parker, Memphis is dealing with key injuries. Pau Gasol, averaging 17.3 points per game and a team-high 7.7 rebounds, has missed three games with a jammed right big toe, while Darko Milicic left Monday's loss after nine minutes with a nagging left ankle injury.

Helping to pick up the slack for the frontcourt duo is swingman Rudy Gay, who has scored 32 points in each of the last two games.

Gay has 31 total points in this season's two games against San Antonio.


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