The Memphis Grizzlies will be looking to make history on Monday night, as they will be in search of a franchise-best 12th straight home victory at the FedEx Forum. But standing in the Grizzlies' way is the San Antonio Spurs, the top-seeded team in the Western Conference.
The Spurs will likely be in an ornery mood, having lost on Sunday to a Miami Heat team missing LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers. San Antonio was poised to pull out a hard-fought victory, but Chris Bosh buried a three-pointer with 1.1 seconds left to give the Heat the victory.
The Spurs currently sit 1½ games ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder for the No. 1 seed in the West, and have not lost back-to-back games since mid-September. San Antonio has had a lot of success against Memphis of late, winning six of the last seven meetings and two of three this season. In the last matchup between the two teams on Jan. 16, the Spurs dominated the Grizzlies 103-82 behind 17 points and 11 assists from Tony Parker.
Parker has had his way with Memphis all season, scoring 30 points in each of the other two meetings this year. The point guard also nailed a three at the buzzer to send a game to overtime on Jan. 11, although the Grizzlies did wind up winning that contest in the extra period.
Memphis' stout defense will do their best to keep Parker out of the paint. The Grizzlies have been excellent defensively all year, but they have been especially good at home, giving up a league-low 87.5 points per game. In their last home game on Friday, Memphis held James Harden and the high-powered Houston Rockets to just 94 points. It's because of this home dominance that the Grizzlies would love to grab homecourt advantage in the postseason, and they currently sit a half game behind the Denver Nuggets for the No. 3 seed in the West.
Outside of the matchup between Parker and Mike Conley, perhaps the most intriguing battle of the night will be down low. Memphis of course has one of the best frontcourts in the NBA with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, while San Antonio's duo of Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter is none too shabby in its own right. Gasol and Duncan are two legit Defensive Player of the Year candidates, so watching them go at it in the paint should be an absolute treat. Duncan and Splitter got the better of Gasol and Randolph in the last meeting, so the Grizzlies' bigs will be out for some revenge.
On the injury front, the Spurs will be without Manu Ginobili, who will probably be out awhile due to a strained right hamstring. San Antonio has gone 10-4 without Ginobili this season, but they will still miss his ability to run the second unit. Memphis is not dealing with any significant injuries.
Tip-off for this battle of West powers is set for 8 p.m. ET and will be televised on NBATV.