San Antonio Spurs News

For Spurs, young core and defense are key to a play-in win over Grizzlies

Keldon Johnson, Kyle Anderson
Keldon Johnson, Kyle Anderson / Ronald Cortes/Getty Images
1 of 3
Next Slide

After clinching a spot in the play-in tournament this past Thursday, the San Antonio Spurs were patiently waiting to see if they would be playing the Memphis Grizzlies or the Golden State Warriors in their first play-in game this coming Wednesday.

Despite a great effort, the Grizzlies came up short in the final minutes of their game against the Warriors because of a last-minute rally by scoring title-winner Steph Curry. In the wake of their win, the Warriors will now be facing the Los Angeles Lakers in their first game of the play-in tournament, leaving the Spurs to face the Grizzlies in Memphis on Wednesday.

The Spurs have already played the Grizzlies three times this season, but Wednesday's matchup will undoubtedly be a much different-looking game, for good or bad. Key players on both sides will either be missing from or returning to the lineups, the teams have had vastly different schedules as of late in terms of difficulty, and there is a clear difference between the two teams when it comes to playoff experience.

While the Spurs played quite well against the Grizzlies in their season debut back in December, they struggled badly against them in their January 30 and February 1 games, handily losing both with final scores of 129-112 and 133-102, respectively. In those two games, severe defensive collapses by the Spurs allowed for the Grizzlies to shoot 56 percent from the floor and 49 percent from three on over 90 total shots in each game.

With all that in mind, some of the young Spurs players will need to step up and play well and the Spurs' defense must be sharp to stop the Grizzlies on Wednesday.