Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs Preview
It’s Tony Parker night tonight in San Antonio as the Spurs raise number nine’s jersey to the rafters to join his fellow Big Three members in Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili along with other former Spurs greats. But the Memphis Grizzlies will be hoping to rain on that parade as they are on the road to try to stop their current skid.
Memphis lost their last two games and they are currently 2-7 on the season as they sit in 14th place in the Western Conference, just one-half game ahead of the cellar-dwelling Golden State Warriors. The Spurs have also had their own adversity to deal with. They followed a nice conference win over the Oklahoma City Thunder last Thursday with a matchup on Saturday against the East-leading Boston Celtics, which ended up being their worst defensive game of the year. LaMarcus Aldridge had 39 points on Thursday, only to follow it with a measly three points on Saturday, so the Spurs will likely look to get him going early tonight.
Time: 7:30 PM ET
Arena: AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Channel: FSSE-MEM, FSSW-SA
Grizzlies: Grayson Allen, Andre Iguodala (O)
Spurs: No injuries
Memphis Grizzlies Starting Lineup
The Memphis Grizzlies are coming into tonight’s game off two consecutive losses. The losses came on a back-to-back series against the Orlando Magic and Dallas Mavericks
“That makes it tough,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said. “But back-to-back nights, as we try to solidify this defensive identity about anchoring down, protecting the paint and second-chance points, it’s a struggle.”
In the game against the Mavs, Memphis started off hot, scoring 34 first-quarter points, before fizzling out in the second as Dallas made a big run. Dallas never looked back as they won every quarter after on their way to a 138-122 win.
It was not a great defensive game for Memphis, as they allowed eight players to score in double figures for the Mavericks, led by Luka Doncic’s 24 points and 14 rebounds.
With Ja Morant out, the Grizzlies looked for offense in other places, and they were able to find some success, but just not enough to stay with Dallas. Jaren Jackson Jr., who has had a rough start to the season, broke out from his slump and finished with 23 points to lead Memphis in the losing effort. Jae Crowder had 18 points and Serbian guard Marko Gaduric came off the bench for his season-high of 14 points.
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
The Spurs, through nine games, have had more ups and downs early on than any local San Antonio theme park roller coaster. They have yet to find consistency and the rotations early on have been head-scratching at times. When LaMarcus Aldridge follows a 39 point game with a three-point game, you’ve obviously got consistency issues.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was unimpressed with his team’s effort in a key game on Saturday afternoon against the Boston Celtics, one of their toughest tests of the season so far. Unfortunately, San Antonio failed to meet the challenge and got down early in their 135-115 loss as they watched Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker go off.
“What surprises me is that we were so unaggressive and so unphysical against a team,” Popovich said. “I mean, I was excited as hell. My team didn’t seem to be as excited. I thought it would be a great night just to go compete against a talented team like that, that’s going to be contending in the East. But we really didn’t look like that.”
Aside from allowing Brown and Walker to have big games, the Spurs also allowed Jayson Tatum to score 19 and Marcus Smart to score 16. Aside from that, bench players Robert Williams and Javonte Green just outworked their counterparts and either got open shots at the rip, were the recipients of lob passes or just outhustled their defenders.
DeMar DeRozan has been more consistent lately, and he finished with 22 points. Bryn Forbes added 14 points and Patty Mills continued to play well, coming off the bench for 20 points.
Key Player Matchups
Ja Morant vs. Dejounte Murray
Ja Morant and Dejounte Murray are two of the most exciting young point guards in the game. Morant is averaging 19 points and 5.5 assists per game, while Murray, who is on a minutes restriction, is averaging 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists per game. This is going to be speed versus speed, and whichever point guard can have success limiting the penetration of the other will tilt the matchup in their preview
LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Jaren Jackson Jr.
Jackson is coming off two good performances, while Aldridge had an all-star worthy performance, followed by a G League callup-worthy performance. The important question to answer in this matchup is which version of each player will show up tonight. Aldridge seems to struggle against taller defenders who can move around the court, so if Jackson defends him, look for Aldridge to take advantage, but Jenkins could counter with Valanciunas and make things slightly more difficult.
DeMar DeRozan is my singular stud pick in tonight’s matchup. He’s found some consistency lately. He is available for just $7k on FanDuel and is projected for 38.06 points.
Look to the young point guards, Dejounte Murray and Morant as your value picks. Murray is valued at $6k and has a very high pointer per $1k rating. He’s expected to bring in 32.92 points. Morant is available for $6.5k and has a projection of 26.68 points, which seems a little low, but Murray’s defense could be a reason for that.
Bet on Matchup
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