Spurs vs. Grizzlies Preview: 1/16/13
Manu Ginobili is out with an injury, but the Southwest Division-leading San Antonio Spurs feel they can continue their impressive run on their own court.
The Memphis Grizzlies' chances of ending the Spurs' 12-game home winning streak would likely improve if Rudy Gay is back Wednesday night in the second meeting between these division rivals in six days.
With Ginobili suffering a strained left hamstring in Sunday's 106-88 home win over Minnesota, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich won't have his top bench scorer (12.9 points per game) for 10-14 days.
"Our mindset's going to be the same," starting guard Danny Green said following Monday's practice. "Our bench guys have to come in and bring energy, we can't have any letdowns. Let's continue to play good basketball."
The loss of Ginobili is a major one, but the Spurs (29-11) have one of the deepest and highest-scoring benches in the league at 42.0 points per game. Gary Neal and Stephen Jackson will likely fill the majority of Ginobili's minutes, while Patty Mills, Nando De Colo and D-League call-up Cory Joseph will back up Tony Parker.
The Spurs have alternated wins and losses in their last six following a season-best 7-0 stretch, but they're on their longest surge in San Antonio since a franchise-record 22-game run Dec. 3, 2010-March 4, 2011.
The Grizzlies (24-12) have dropped five straight and 15 of 16 visiting the Spurs during the regular season following a 99-95 overtime loss Dec. 1. Memphis, though, defeated San Antonio 101-98 in OT on Friday to end a five-game losing streak in this series.
That was Memphis' first victory over San Antonio since knocking the top-seeded Spurs out of the 2011 playoffs.
The Grizzlies will be trying to avoid a season high-tying third straight defeat following a pair of blowouts. They fell 99-73 to the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, two days after a 104-83 loss at Dallas.
"We're inconsistent," point guard Mike Conley said Monday after Memphis had its worst-ever shooting effort at home at 30.3 percent. "Friday we play to another level, the next night we drop to the level that we played at tonight. That's not something we can afford to do."
Neither is playing without Gay, the team leader with 17.8 points per game. Gay, who scored a team-best 23 on Friday, should be available after missing Monday's game to be in Baltimore for his grandmother's funeral.
While Gay's return may wake up a sluggish offense, the Grizzlies will likely have to find a way to clamp down on Parker and Tim Duncan.
Parker has 30 points in each of the two games against Memphis this season, and his 27-footer at the buzzer sent Friday's game to OT. Duncan finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds in that contest to push his double-double streak in this series to four.
Conley is averaging 19.5 points and 8.5 assists against the Spurs in 2012-13.
San Antonio has won 18 straight at home in divisional play since a 103-94 loss to Dallas on Nov. 26, 2010.
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