Opening tip: 7 p.m., FedEx Forum
At a glance
Record: 49-24 overall, 29-8 at home (fifth in the West, six games behind the Spurs)
Offensive rating: 101.7 points per 100 possessions, 18th (Spurs – 107.1, fifth)
Defensive rating: 98.2 points per 100 possessions, second (Spurs – 98.9, third)
Pace: 91.3 possessions per game, 28th (Spurs – 96.2, eighth)
Margin of victory: 3.8, seventh (Spurs – 7.6, third)
Strength of schedule: 11th (Spurs – 12th)
Last 10: 5-5
Previous meeting: The Spurs won 99-95 (OT) in San Antonio on Dec. 1, 103-82 in San Antonio on Jan. 16; the Grizzlies won 101-98 (OT) in Memphis on Jan. 11.
Injury report: None reported.
Winners of 11 straight home games, the Grizzlies refer to their particular brand of halfcourt, defensive-oriented basketball as “Grit and Grind.” Much like some of the Spurs’ championship teams, it’s not the most attractive thing to watch. But it’s also been highly effective, carrying the Grizzlies to within one victory of the franchise record for a single season and their highest playoff seed ever.
What to watch
* Like Tim Duncan, Grizzlies center Marc Gasol is a strong candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. He isn’t the shot blocker Duncan is, but in terms of positioning his burly body in the right place at the right time, he has almost no peers. The Grizzlies allow 7.6 fewer points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court, one of the league’s top marks.
* The Spurs rank sixth in defensive rebounding, but they’ve struggled at times against more athletic and physical teams. Keeping Memphis off the glass will be key. The Grizzlies rank first in offensive rebounding pct (31.5) and eighth in second-chance points (14.6 per game). Zach Randolph is second individually with 4.2 offensive rebounds.
* Mike Conley continues to develop in his sixth season. He’s about as good as it gets among the NBA’s second-tier point guards. His 14.3 scoring average is a career-high, as is his 18.2 Player Efficiency Rating. He scored a total of 39 in the first two meetings, both of which went to OT. He had only 10 in the third, a blowout loss.
All stats taken from NBA.com, Hoops Data or Basketball Reference