Popovich: Grizzlies tough physically and mentally


The amount of media available before the San Antonio Spurs (40-16) prepare to face the Memphis Grizzlies (34-23) is noticeably smaller tonight, now that the Los Angeles Lakers have left town.RG

The Spurs will face the Grizzlies for the final time this season, in a series where the Spurs are 3-0 against the Grizzlies, though most of those games have been played without Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph.

The Spurs will be at full health tonight as guard Gary Neal will be in uniform according to Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, “He’s going to give it a shot.”

Pop also talked about what kind of matchup the Spurs will face in playing Memphis.

“They’re tough physically and mentally,” said Popovich. He also said that the Grizzlies having Rudy Gay through this season gives the Grizzlies another weapon the Spurs will have to defend.

Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins is also aware of the boost the Spurs’ offense has installed, with the new depth the team has added.

“The play a high pace offense,” said Hollins, “but they also have a good defense.”

Hollins spoke about what makes the Spurs so difficult to defend with Manu Ginobili coming off the bench, and Stephen Jackson being acquired as well.

“He’s great at getting to the basket,” said Hollins of Ginobili, “he slithers.” “They have a big time player who is fearless and makes shots,” said Hollins of Jackson.

Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph has taken a page out of Ginobili’s book, as he is now coming off of the bench for the Grizzlies. His coach said “Zbo” has been professional about the role he’s taken.

“He’s doing fine,” said Hollins of Randolph, “he’s been a pro about it.”

Grizzlies guard Tony Allen told me he would be out tonight against the Spurs, but he said he expects to be back playing by the weekend. Then he did something Tony Allen only does, he showed me the stitches in his upper lip that have him sidelined with facial lacerations.

It’s Spurs-Grizzlies time.