|NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs Preview & Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Friday, 23 November 2007 07:00|
Champs on a Roll
The San Antonio Spurs have accomplished a lot in the past two regular seasons, winning a combined 121 games. But they haven't started 11-2.
San Antonio (10-2) will look to win its 11th game in 13 tries as it hosts the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night. The Spurs have started the last two seasons with identical 10-2 records but lost their next game each time.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made San Antonio -12 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 203 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 69% of bets for this game have been placed on San Antonio -12 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
The defending NBA champions have won three straight, including a second-half comeback on Wednesday that turned into a 128-110 rout of Orlando. San Antonio improved to 7-0 at home.
The Spurs let Orlando shoot 56 percent from the field and 10 of 20 from 3-point range, but the Spurs clamped down defensively in the second half and were efficient offensively. They outscored the Magic 69-46 in the final two quarters and scored 35 points in the fourth quarter.
"Probably our best win of the year, without a doubt,'' said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
Tony Parker had a season-high 32 points and nine assists and is off to the best start of his career. The French point guard is averaging 20.3 points and 6.4 assists, surpassing his career marks of 15.7 and 5.4, respectively.
Tim Duncan is averaging 17.4 points and 9.8 rebounds, slightly down from his career averages thus far, but Manu Ginobili has been the team's steadying force off the bench. The versatile guard is leading the team in scoring at 20.5 points per game while also grabbing 5.4 rebounds and getting 4.7 assists per contest.
Even with the early struggles defensively, the Spurs are still among the league leaders in scoring defense, conceding just 91.0 points per game. San Antonio has finished in the top three in that category every season since Duncan was drafted in 1997-98.
"This was not the kind of game we want to be in," Duncan said. "They shot a really high percentage, not just in the first half but the whole game really."
Memphis (3-8) finds itself lagging behind San Antonio and every other team in the Southwest Division. They've lost four of five overall, and two of their three wins have come against 2-10 Seattle.
The Grizzlies' latest loss, a 95-89 defeat against Toronto on Wednesday, was tied heading into the fourth quarter, but Toronto took control with its 3-point shooting. Though Grizzlies limited the Raptors to 35.2 percent (25-for-71) inside the arc, Toronto hit 11 of 21 from 3-point range, including three in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, Memphis, which entered the game third in the league in 3-point percentage, missed its first 11 attempts and finished 5-for-24.
"It was not a pretty game,'' said first-year Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni. "Once again, we did not make the little things happen.''
Wednesday was only the fourth time the Grizzlies have failed to score at least 100 points, and they're 0-4 in those games. Memphis is averaging 104.6 points - good for sixth in the league - but allowing 107.6 points, third-worst in the NBA.
The Grizzlies have nine players averaging at least 7.0 points, but the lack of a go-to scorer may be hurting Memphis in crunch time. Rudy Gay leads the team in scoring with 18.2 points per game, but forward Pau Gasol's 17.1 points and 6.8 rebounds are below his career averages.
Duncan has averaged 23.7 points and 12.2 rebounds lifetime against the Grizzlies.
San Antonio won 104-101 at Memphis on Oct. 31, when Ginobili hit five 3-pointers and finished with 30 points overall. The Spurs have won eight of the last nine between the teams, and five straight over the Grizzlies at home.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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