Matchup of the Game: Spurs vs. Grizzlies

The matchup for tonight's game will be between Tony Parker and Mike Conley when the San Antonio Spurs open their season at the AT&T Center against the Memphis Grizzlies.

San Antonio is coming off from a disappointing postseason end in the NBA Finals and it might mean Parker and crew are coming into this season with a chip on his shoulder with something to prove to the league. Both teams' cores have stayed the same while adding a few new pieces, especially the Spurs.

That may effect the matchups tonight as both teams play with a team oriented style.

What Parker must do on offense:

Parker played at an MVP level with his aggressiveness in the paint and shot making ability (20ppg, 52% FG) last season. Look for him to play like the Parker we've known, except with a little more freedom. With the addition of Marco Belinelli, look for Parker to have more reliable shooters wide open off the pick and roll. He'll also get plenty of looks off the ball with more ball handlers on the floor this season with the former Chicago Bull being able to play the point guard capacity.

He'll also see more wide open looks to improve his 35% 3FG rating from last season with a more balanced team on the floor. The Grizzlies' big men are physical, but also more of the traditional slower breed of NBA big men. This will help Parker's offense off screens, pick and rolls, and on switches during the game.

If Parker can get into some sort of rhythm on offense by being in motion, he'll likely confuse the defense with his speed and quickness. That will also open up a lot of back door passes that are famous by Tm Duncan on the perimeter.

What Parker must do on defense:

Memphis isn't much of a running team and their offense is predictable most of the times with their players showing their worth by still scoring on plays. Conley is becoming more of a complete player as he matures in the league, but there will still be places where the Spurs can force Conley to beat them with his weaknesses.

Conley's 3-point shooting is still at an unimpressive 36% from last season and might not improve much on a team with guys who prefer to create for themselves on offense or are spot up shooters. If Parker can force long shots from Conley, it will take away the big men from getting into any rhythm and also take Conley out of his at the same time.

We may see Coach Gregg Popovich also put different defenders on Conley besides Parker, especially if Memphis decides to go with a two point guard backcourt for stretches on the game, but this shouldn't effect Conley's inside game as the Spurs will likely look to clog the paint against Conley and the other guards.


Matchup of the Game: Spurs vs. Grizzlies

The matchup for tonight's game will be between San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker and Memphis Grizzlies' Mike Conley.

This will be the fourth and final meeting between the two teams this season. In those 3 games, Tony Parker has gotten the best of Conley by averaging 25.6ppg with 7.3apg compared to Conley's 16.3ppg and 6.6apg this series. Parker has been in attack mode against the Grizzlies, a mindset he's had against the team since Memphis dismissed San Antonio in the first round of the 2011 NBA playoffs. With Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, and Manu Ginobili out this game, look for Parker to be aggressive from the start off pick and rolls and in transition.

What Parker must do on offense:

He has to be aggressive off pick and rolls against Memphis tonight, especially with Marc Gasol's abdomen still being questionable. The Grizzlies will be in a very tough situation with either big man in this position. Zach Randolph isn't a defender who plays up on the ball handler in fear of getting beat to the rim without help and Marc Gasol most likely won't look to elevate to block Parker's shot in this instance. Parker's gotten his shots against the Grizzlies in the restricted area where he's shooting 72% (13-18) and in the mid range area where he's shooting 50% (6-12) when Conley is on the floor. Those are shots he has to make tonight where the Grizzlies will keep trying to leave him open without much of a supporting cast due to injuries.

What Parker must do on defense:

Conley has been shooting just 33% (4-12) in the restricted area with Parker covering him, but that's in big part due to Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter's help defense. With Tim Duncan out, whoever is filling in for Duncan likely won't bring the same help to protect the basket. Parker will likely have to keep Conley on the perimeter where he's shot 33% (1-3) against Parker's defense this whole series. Conley is also shooting just 33% (2-6) from the paint area, but Parker will likely have to use much of his legs if he dares Conley to take him off the dribble. The farther the shot he has to take, the more Parker can rest and the Spurs will accept over closer shots.

Matchup of the Game: Spurs vs Grizzlies

Express NewsTim Duncan and Zach Randolph will be the matchup for tonight's game when the San Antonio Spurs visit the Memphis Grizzlies.

The last time these two men faced each other, Duncan had the better individual game. he shot 75% (6-8) from the paint area while shooting 67% (4-6) from mid range with Randolph on the court and Randolph shot 30% (4-13) from the paint area and 20% (1-5) from mid range with Duncan on the opposing him. The game ended in overtime with San Antonio defeating Memphis 99-95 with Duncan having 27 points and 15 rebounds compared to Randolphs 17 points (5-21 overall shooting) and 15 rebounds.

What Duncan must do on offense:
This season he's had a more consistent mid range jumper than before. If Duncan can keep in motion from the top of the key to the paint, that will tire Randolph out. Zach Randolph prefers more of a power game inside where he can push his opponents around and Duncan in motion will make him use up energy and legs. With Tim shooting more, that will help his body not get beat up by posting up like he used to and saving his energy for the defensive end of the court.

What Duncan must do on defense:

He has to force him off his spots. If he gets the  ball mid range, he has to force him to put the ball on the floor then recover to the paint to contest a drive. Once he puts the ball on the floor, it'll be a more uncomfortable post up attempt while he's already dribbling and will be great position for Duncan farther away from the basket. The Spurs would rather the Memphis big game shoot the ball than get in the paint and with San Antonio having more size and defense, it will be easier for the Spurs to defend the Grizzlies with a defensive minded unit.