For the second consecutive game, the San Antonio Spurs saw a late opportunity to win slip through their grasp. On Monday night, the Spurs (13-28) fell to the Memphis Grizzlies (27-13) 121-113, though it was even closer than the score portrays. With the loss, San Antonio falls to 5-14 on the road while Memphis improves to 17-3 at home, claiming the top seed in the Western Conference in the process. Now that both teams have a feel for one another, Wednesday’s contest should be interesting as the two run it back. The Grizzlies will surely take their opponent more seriously.
In an interesting game note, brothers Tyus Jones and Tre Jones were the leading scorers for the Grizzlies and Spurs respectively with both teams missing star players. Tyus’ 24 points led all scorers, while Tre had a game-high seven assists in addition to his 18 points. Steven Adams was a force on the boards and the only player with a double-double, posting 15 rebounds and 13 points. San Antonio once again was missing Keldon Johnson who is nursing a hamstring injury in addition to Devin Vassell who will receive a knee procedure this week. As for the Grizzlies, Ja Morant (thigh) and Brandon Clarke (hip) were both out as well.
The San Antonio Spurs Weren’t Active Enough Against the Memphis Grizzlies
Monday night’s game was a close affair throughout, something rather unexpected after the Grizzlies broke out to a 10-point lead to end the first quarter. San Antonio never went away, however, and even took the lead late with 10 minutes left in the game. Neither team played particularly well as they were both turnover prone. Memphis also struggled mightily from the free-throw line, connecting on just 57 percent (20) of their 35 attempts. As a team, they are shooting a league-worst 71 percent from the line. Still, the six-point advantage from the charity stripe certainly helped make up the difference. San Antonio was seriously lacking the lane-driving presence of Johnson in that department.
Outside of another strong performance from Tre Jones, the Spurs played well as a unit, even without their top two scorers on the season. In total, six players scored in double digits, including four of the five starters, and both Josh Richardson and Malaki Branham off the bench. Zach Collins and Doug McDermott were just on the cusp with nine each, though they contributed elsewhere as well. Memphis had similar depth with seven players putting up double digits, though theirs largely came from their starting unit. The Grizzlies starters outscored San Antonio’s 83-61, something to watch in the Wednesday rematch.
Up Next for the San Antonio Spurs
After a day of rest, the Spurs and the Grizzlies will meet again in Memphis on Wednesday. It will be the third time they meet this season, with Memphis owning the series 2-0 so far. As both Johnson and Morant aren’t dealing with significant injuries, one has to wonder if they play in the mid-week contest. If one team decides to play their guy, one has to wonder if it baits the other into doing the same.
While the Grizzlies don’t need to go all out against the young Spurs, Monday’s game may have been a wake-up call. If Memphis hopes to preserve or extend its lead in the Western Conference, then it is surely a victory it wants to secure.
Check out the complete box score.