To give themselves a legitimate chance to advance to the postseason, the San Antonio Spurs really need to win their first two games of the NBA restart. They accomplished half of that goal on Friday when they defeated the Sacramento Kings by a final score of 129-120.
Today, the Spurs will look to make it known that their quest for a 23rd consecutive playoff appearance is real when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies (32-34) are currently the eighth seed in the Western Conference but the Spurs (28-36) can move with two games of that eighth spot if they can win a second straight contest.
San Antonio Spurs Injury Update
Bryn Forbes is out again due to a quadriceps injury. There has been talk that Forbes will miss the rest of the season but the Spurs haven’t announced that yet.
Marco Belinelli is listed as doubtful against the Grizzlies due to a sprained left foot. Head coach Gregg Popovich has been careful with injuries in this restart so expect Belinelli to sit.
Patty Mills isn’t being listed with an official injury but he didn’t play in any of the three scrimmages and didn’t play against the Kings. Pop hinted that Mills was dealing with an injury earlier but now doesn’t give any concrete reasoning for why the Australian isn’t playing. Unless something changes, expect Mills to sit out again versus Memphis.
LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder surgery) and Trey Lyles (appendicitis) are both out for the rest of the season. Even if the Spurs make the playoffs, it’s unlikely that either player would be able to participate.
Youth Movement in Full Effect
Pop has stated that he wants to develop the young players during these final eight regular season games. Against Sacramento, he proved he wasn’t kidding. Of the ten players who got on the court, only three (DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay and Marco Belinelli) were older than 30 years old. Everyone else was between 20 (Keldon Johnson) and 26 (Derrick White).
In fact, Johnson led the bench in minutes played with 30. Coming into the game, he had never played more than 21 minutes in an NBA game. Quinndary Weatherspoon, the 49th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, played ten minutes. Previously, he had 15 total minutes of NBA experience.
The Memphis Grizzlies are the Favorites
Vegas had the Kings as three point favorites over the Spurs on Friday. This time, the Grizzlies are three and a half point favorites. Let’s hope the oddsmakers are just as wrong today as they were on Friday.