The Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs haven't exactly met one another with their current roster makeups. The trade of Rudy Gay from the Grizzlies came after three of those games, and in the series finale the Spurs held out Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard. But if their season series is any indication, the Western Conference Finals matchup that begins Sunday could be quite the nailbiter.
The two teams split their four contests — two went into overtime, two ended with a margin of a single possession and two included buzzer-beating shots.
A Game 1 of the playoff battle could include a great deal of feeling one another out, but the trend over the regular season included big games from Tony Parker -- he averaged 25.5 points and 6.5 assists per game against Memphis this year -- and enough San Antonio defense to limit Memphis' big men. Nonetheless, Memphis had enough elsewhere to pull out two games.
Here's how the regular season series went down.
Dec. 1, 2012
The Grizzlies visited San Antonio in the series opener between the two teams. The Spurs were coming off their nationally-televised appearance against the Miami Heat that cost the club $250,000 for sending Duncan and Tony Parker home to rest, and the fresh-legged duo combined for 57 points in a 99-95 overtime victory. It was the worst shooting games for each team in the season series as neither shot above 42 percent.
Jan. 11, 2013
In another overtime contest, the Grizzlies pulled out a 101-98 home win to stave off a big game from Parker. The Spurs point guard scored 30 points and hit a 27-foot jumper at the end of regulation to force overtime. But that's where Gay took over. He hit the go-ahead jumper with 27 seconds left in overtime and Memphis held San Antonio to a single three-pointer in the extra period. The Grizzlies surprisingly scored 19 fastbreak points in the victory, a sign that the usually-apprehensive tempo of Lionel Hollins' team could find success against the Spurs in the right spots.
Jan. 16, 2013
Memphis' heads must have gotten bloated from the Jan. 11 victory against the Spurs. They lost to the Dallas Mavericks by 21 points the next night, fell by 26 points to the Los Angeles Clippers two days after that, then made a trip to Texas where they lost 103-82. Memphis scored only 28 points in the second half, its big man duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combined for just eight boards and the team scored a measly 26 points in the paint. Part of that was due to Duncan, who scoured the paint to record five blocks. San Antonio shot 58 percent from the floor in the rout.
April 1, 2013
The only game played after Gay was traded to Toronto went in Memphis' favor. The Spurs kept it close without Duncan, Ginobili and Leonard, but the Grizzlies won 92-90 on a Mike Conley driving layup with 0.6 seconds left. On another night where Gasol and Randolph put in lackluster scoring efforts, the Grizzlies got help elsewhere. Tayshaun Prince had 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals and Jerryd Bayless scored 17 off the pine to push Memphis over the top.