The NBA regular season is almost here. Here are a few things to watch for in the San Antonio Spurs final preseason game of 2019.
It took a while for them to finally get going but it looks like the San Antonio Spurs are finally ready to play meaningful basketball. After a slow start to the preseason, the Spurs put together a solid effort earlier this week in Houston. Their commitment to defense and the impressive play of their young core of guards helped them net a 128-114 win over the Rockets.
The Spurs final preseason game comes against the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis and San Antonio have had some serious battles in years past. Frankly, I’m still not completely over that playoff series back in 2011. But many of the Grit ‘n Grind Grizzlies have moved on, this team is young and full of up and coming talent.
The Grizzlies were a frequent playoff team over the past ten years. Their future now is fully centered around Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant. These are the two players you will want to have your eyes on in tonight’s game.
Jackson is a rangy forward who can create matchup problems with anyone. LaMarcus Aldridge is a solid defender but he’s not as quick as he used to be. That’s a problem when guarding Jackson. Jackson has three-point range and will draw Aldridge out of the post, once he’s out there one on one Jackson has the handle and first step to take him off the dribble and get to the rim.
It’ll be important for Aldridge to stay in front of him as best as he can and try to force him to pass out of drives. If that fails he will just have to rely on his teammates to help meet Jackson at the rim.
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The duel between Dejounte Murray and Ja Morant is the must-see matchup of the night. Morant is explosive, an excellent passer, and but lacks an outside shot. He’s like early-stage Dejounte. As we saw in the recent matchup with the Rockets, Murray is still the rock-solid defender he was pre-ACL tear.
This is a matchup that Dejounte can win. He’s got the quickness to stay in front of Morant, the length to block him at the rim, and, offensively, can shooter over him. The rest of the Grizzlies guards are less intimidating. We could be in for a big game from Bryn Forbes and Lonnie Walker.
The biggest thing to keep an eye on in tonight’s game is the starting lineup and bench rotation. As the final warm-up game before the season gets going this is the perfect opportunity for Popovich to trot out his opening-night starters.
The bench rotation will also likely follow a similar structure to what we will see in the regular season. It seems to be a given that Derrick White will command the second unit. It’s a role that he’s well suited for and one that he should excel in.
San Antonio will need to come out fast and carry the momentum from their last win into tonight’s matchup. They need to hit the ground running in the regular season. Tonight’s final preseason game offers the perfect opportunity to build up some speed and take the regular season by storm.