Southwest Division powerhouses collide, as Spurs visit Grizzlies

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Updated: January 11, 2013

The San Antonio Spurs can become the first team to 29 wins with a victory Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Spurs and idle Los Angeles Clippers both have 28 wins on the season, with
the Oklahoma City Thunder right behind with 27. The Spurs will try to stop a
two-game slide on the road and have alternated wins and losses over the last
five games.

In a 108-105 triumph versus the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday in the Alamo
City, Tony Parker scored 24 points and Manu Ginobili had 19, including a key
3-pointer with 43 seconds remaining. Tiago Splitter recorded 14 points and 14
boards for San Antonio, which got just eight points from Tim Duncan and made
48.8 percent of its shots.

“We made some good stops at the end,” said Parker. “We need those to win the
game. In basketball it can go both ways and luckily it went our way tonight.”

San Antonio was able to take advantage of a depleted Lakers’ lineup, which was
minus big men Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. The Spurs, winners in nine of the
past 11 games, are 13-8 as the guest this season. Their road winning
percentage of .619 is fourth in the NBA.

The Spurs are third in the NBA with 104.9 ppg and first with 25.2 assists per
game. Parker is averaging a team-high 7.2 assists.

Memphis is right behind the Spurs in the Southwest Division and will try to
extend its winning streak to four straight Friday night at FedEx Forum, where
it has lost two of three games and owns a 13-4 mark.

The Grizzlies, winners in 25 of their last 28 as the host, completed an
unblemished three-game road trip with Wednesday’s 94-87 decision over the
Golden State Warriors. The Grizzlies almost blew a 14-point lead in the second
half and saw Zach Randolph post 19 points and 12 rebounds for his NBA-best
23rd double-double of the season.

Memphis scored 60 points in the paint to Golden State’s 34 and recorded 18
fast-break points. Mike Conley chipped in 16 points for the Grizzlies, who
have won nine of their last 13 games overall.

“Our focus was to come in and get three wins. We did that. What a great way to
come close it out in the last game,” Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said. “We
played hard for 48 minutes again. We weathered that storm.”

The road ahead for the Grizz won’t be an easy one as they face San Antonio
twice, Dallas and the Clippers. The Grizzlies have a tough defense to weather
the storm and rank first in the NBA in points allowed per game (89.1). Memphis
also has forced at least 10 turnovers in 137 consecutive games.

In milestone news for Memphis, Rudy Gay, who leads the team with 17.8 ppg, is
eight games shy of passing Gasol (476) as the franchise’s career leader in
games played.

Memphis dropped a 99-95 overtime decision in San Antonio on Dec. 1 this season
and is only 4-14 in the past 18 meetings between the Southwest foes. The Spurs
lead the overall series by a 52-16 advantage.