The NBA season is back in action with an exciting night of basketball on Wednesday. Thirteen games will be up on the board throughout December 23. One of these games will be between the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies. These two teams are coming off of disappointing seasons and will look to start out this season a bit stronger. This game will tip off at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
San Antonio finished out last season with a record of 32-39, which put them in eleventh place of the Western Conference. The Spurs had a chance to make the postseason in the qualifiers, but were not able to secure a spot. San Antonio will look to bounce back this season as they look to compete in a very competitive Western Conference.
The Grizzlies put up a record of 34-39 throughout last season, which had them in ninth place of the Western Conference. Memphis had a chance to earn a playoff spot with a mini series with the Portland Trail Blazers, but were bounced out. The Grizzlies young team will look to come out strong and build off of last season in the beginning of this season.
These two teams were in the qualifiers last season, but were knocked out before the playoffs started. These two teams seem to be trending in opposite ways as Memphis’ young core looks to keep building, while the Spurs are nearing a rebuild. The Grizzlies will look to make the leap with their team this season, starting with a big win over San Antonio on opening night.
The Spurs and the Grizzlies met up four times last season. The first game was in San Antonio on November 11. LaMarcus Aldridge dropped 19 points, while Rudy Gay finished with 18 points. Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 24 points, while Dillon Brooks scored 21. Memphis was able to sneak away with a solid 113-109 win early in the season.
The second game of the season series was on December 23 in Memphis. Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 22 points, while Ja Morant put up 19 points. LaMarcus Aldridge dropped 40 points and 9 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan finished with 26 points and 10 assists on the night. The Spurs lineup put up a dominant night up and down as San Antonio finished with a 145-115 win on the night.
The Grizzlies hosted the third game of the season series on January 10. DeMar DeRozan scored 36 points, 9 assists and 9 rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge and Bryn Forbes both dropped 21 points, but it was not enough. Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, Jonas Valanciunas and Jaren Jackson Jr. all dropped over 20 points to help lead Memphis to a big 134-121 win.
The final game of the season series was in the qualifying round on August 2. Ja Morant scored 25 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists on the night. Jaren Jackson Jr. added 21 points, but it was not enough. Dejounte Murray added 21 points and 10 rebounds and Derrick White scored 16 points as the Spurs were able to squeak out a 108-106 win.
DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge both had strong seasons to lead San Antonio last season. DeRozan averaged 22 points per game, while Aldridge averaged 19 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Patty Mills, Derrick White, Dejounte Murray and Rudy Gay all return to the Spurs after averaging 10 or more points per game throughout last season.
Ja Morant is looking to build off a strong finish to last season. Morant averaged 18 points and 7.5 assists per game last season. Jaren Jackson Jr. was averaging 17.5 points per game throughout last season. Dillon Brooks averaged 16 points per game, while Jonas Valanciunas averaged 15 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Brandon Clarke added another 12 points per game as well.
These two teams did not make a lot of noise throughout the offseason, keeping mostly the main core for their rosters. The Grizzlies will look to build upon that this season as Morant enters his second season. Memphis put up a strong push to the end of the season, but were not able to squeak into the postseason. Now the Grizzlies will look to start this season out stronger in hopes of a win.
Field Goal Shooting Last Season
The Spurs were solid shooting throughout last season, but struggled at shooting in close. San Antonio made 47.2 percent of their shots from the field, which was 5th in the league. The Spurs made 37.6 percent of their shots from deep, which was 4th in the NBA. San Antonio only made 51.6 percent of their shots from inside the arc, which was 22nd in the league.
Memphis was another solid team shooting last season, but struggled when it came to shooting behind the arc. The Grizzlies were able to make around 46.8 percent of their shots, which was 7th best in the NBA. Memphis was able to make 53.2 percent of their shots in close, which was also 7th in the NBA. The Grizzlies only made around 34.7 percent of their shots from deep last season, which was 23rd in the league.
These two teams were better from opposite parts of the court last season, which will lead to an interesting battle on Wednesday night. The Grizzlies had the better defense last season, but struggled guarding the perimeter. Memphis will look to force San Antonio inside, while the Spurs will try to make this a three point shootout on Wednesday night.
The Grizzlies and the Spurs split the season series 2-2 throughout last season and both teams will look to earn a leg up in this season. Memphis had the better finish to last season, but still could not make the postseason. San Antonio has dominated the past couple of decades and will look to make it back to that position with a stronger start to this season.
BetOnline has the Grizzlies listed as a -2 against the spread on Wednesday night. This gives a solid edge to Memphis at home in this one, which I agree with. The Grizzlies have a young lineup still and I expect them to make another jump together this season. If Ja Morant can pick up where he left off last season, I think it could propel Memphis into the playoff race this season.