The San Antonio Spurs will try to win their fourth game in a row when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies tonight in the AT&T Center. The Spurs currently have a record of 11-8, which is the first time all season that San Antonio has been three games over .500. The Grizzlies have a record of 7-6 and currently hold a five-game winning streak.
The Spurs are coming off two of their best victories of the 2020-21 campaign. First they beat the Boston Celtics and then followed that up with a win last night over the Denver Nuggets. Both the Celtics and the Nuggets were conference finalists last season.
A short time ago, the Spurs were seemingly struggling at home. But that appears to be changing, as the win over the Nuggets was San Antonio’s third straight home win. The Spurs are now 5-5 at home and 6-3 on the road.
The Grizzlies are another team that has been better out on the road, as they’re 3-5 at home and 4-1 on the road. Also consider their five-game winning streak in addition to that sparkling road record and this promises to be another challenge for the Spurs.
Derrick White is Back: What to Expect
Derrick White will officially return to the lineup tonight for the Spurs. He’s not even listed on the injury report. White actually could have played last night but the Spurs will be holding him out of back-to-backs for a while and they opted to play him against the Grizzlies on the second half of the back-to-back.
White missed all of training camp, preseason and the beginning of the regular season due to toe surgery on the second toe of his left foot. In his first game back, he fractured the same toe. While the injury was to the same toe, doctors say the two injures were not related.
Expect White to play between 20 to 25 minutes tonight as the Spurs bring him back slowly. It’s also likely that he’ll come off the bench. The most likely candidate to see his playing time shrink is Devin Vassell, as the rookie was the one who dropped out of the rotation in White’s first return. Another possibility is that head coach Gregg Popovich decides to go with a ten-man rotation instead of the nine-man rotation he has utilized all season up until this point.
The Grizzlies Could Be Rusty
Although the Grizzlies have won five straight games, it’s definitely an odd winning streak. Due to COVID-19 protocols, their last five games have been postponed — and, if you go further back, six of their previous eight games have been postponed.
Add it all up and the Grizzlies haven’t lost since Jan. 7, or more than three weeks ago. While the five-game winning streak indicates Memphis is hot, they will also have to deal with a lot of rust tonight, considering they haven’t played since a Jan. 18 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
Spurs vs. Grizzlies – How the Spurs Can Win
Star sophomore Ja Morant will get most of San Antonio’s focus. The last time these two teams played, Morant poured in a career-high 44 points — though, truth be told, a lot of that came when the game was all but decided in San Antonio’s favor.
Tonight, the Spurs will need to make life difficult for Morant. Last game against the Spurs, Morant had nine assists and only one turnover. San Antonio can’t allow him to be so dominant in all facets this time around.
Expect Dejounte Murray to spend a lot of time on him. Derrick White and Patty Mills could also be thrown at him. Vassell, if he’s still in the rotation, could be a factor as well.