2012-13 NBA Game Of The Week: Week 5 Grizzlies V Spurs
A month has passed in this 2012-13 NBA season, and what a great month of basketball it has been. This game of the week is between the top two teams from the Western Conference, Memphis and San Antonio.
GAME TIME & VIEWING OPTIONS:
Time & Date: Sunday, December 2, 2012 12:30pm AEDT
Location: AT&T Center, San Antonio.
FORM HEADING IN:
San Antonio: 11-3
San Antonio have got off to a great start, currently sitting second in Western Conference.Their only losses have come against the quality opposition of the Knicks and the Clippers twice. San Antonio have had wins against Oklahoma City, L.A Lakers and Boston.
The Spurs will head into the game coming off a six game road trip throughout the Eastern Conference.
Memphis currently has the best record in the NBA. They had a slow start losing their season opener to the Clippers, but since then have looked like every bit of a Championship contender.
Memphis’ only hiccup came against Denver losing 92-97, going into that match they were on an eight game winning streak. The Grizzlies quickly bounced back after their loss to the Nuggets, beating the Lakers 106-98.
MATCH UP OF THE NIGHT:
Randolph is a huge reason why the Grizzlies are playing so well. Randolph is currently leading the NBA in rebounds, bringing down 14 per game, 5 of which are on the offensive end. Randolph isn’t just raking in the rebounds; he is also averaging nearly 17 points and over 1 assist per game.
Duncan is just being Duncan this season, proving he is still a force to be reckoned with in the NBA. Duncan is now 36 years old and in his 15th season, but has showed no signs of slowing down. He has been averaging over 18 points, nearly 11 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2 blocks per game. These stats show just how much of a complete player Duncan is.
This match up may well be the deciding factor in this game. Whoever can assert their body on the defensive end may just get their team over the line.
Looking at the starting line ups, I would have to say that Marc Gasol is looking like he could be a huge X factor for the Grizzlies. Marc is used to being called the younger brother of Pau Gasol, now he has improved and is widely considered the better Gasol brother.
Gasol is averaging the most points for his career, 15. He has also cut down his turnover to just 1 a game. If Gasol can gain the early ascendancy against DeJuan Blair and get in the younger players head, he could be set for a big, game changing night.
Manu Ginobili is one of the best players coming off the bench for any team in the league. He provides the Spurs with experience when other veterans Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are resting on the bench. Unlike other players in the league, Ginobili doesn’t seem at all fazed that he has lost his starting position to a younger player. Yes, his numbers are down from his best but Ginobili is still averaging 12 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds and a steal in 23 minutes per game.
The Memphis bench doesn’t have the well-known names like San Antonio does, but they still produce decent numbers for the team. Mareese Speights has been a good off-season pick up for the Grizzlies. His offensive style of play binds well with Memphis’ game play. Speights is averaging just under 7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1 block a game.
Tiago Splitter has been a great player for San Antonio thus far. His best game for the season came against Boston when he proved to be the match winner. He scored a season high 23 points, to go with 3 rebounds and 2 steals. If Splitter can continue to play near to that level, I would expect the Spurs to continue to match up well against the best teams.
Jerryd Bayless has also been a welcome addition to the Grizzlies after signing as a free agent during the off season. His numbers don’t jump out at you but he is definitely contributing to the team. In 16 minutes of game time Bayless is averaging 7 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound and 1 steal. Bayless is a good back up for Mike Conley at the point guard position.
PREDICTED STARTING LINE UPS:
- Point guard: Tony Parker
- Shooting guard: Gary Neal
- Small forward: Danny Green
- Power forward: Tim Duncan
- Centre: DeJuan Blair
- Point guard: Mike Conley
- Shooting guard: Tony Allen
- Small forward: Rudy Gay
- Power forward: Zach Randolph
- Center: Marc Gasol
This game is shaping up as being one of the closest, hard fought matches of the year. Both teams are tough, unforgiving and will win at any cost. Although San Antonio will have the home court advantage, they will be coming off a tough six game road trip which will leave them tired and sore.
I can’t see an area where either team has a real advantage that could win them the game. It may take one player to have an amazing game and push his team over the line.
My prediction: San Antonio: 106 Memphis: 102 in over time.
Who do you see winning this match?