Spurs-Grizzlies Game 6 preview
Tip-off scheduled for 8:30 p.m. on TNT and FSN Southwest
SAN ANTONIO – Homecourt advantage held for each of the first five games of the series, and the Memphis Grizzlies are hoping to keep it that way for just one more game. The seventh-seeded Grizzlies attempt to avoid elimination in the first-round, Western Conference series when they host the No. 2 San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 on Thursday.
The Spurs breezed to double-digit victories in each of their three home games but are 0-4 in as many games in Memphis including the regular season and dropped a 110-108 overtime heartbreaker the last time they visited in Game 4.
San Antonio should feel more confident in Game 6 after getting star small forward Kawhi Leonard some scoring support off the bench in Game 5 from Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili, who combined for 30 points on 11-of-16 shooting.
"We expected that," Grizzlies coach David Fizdale told reporters of the big games from Mills and Ginobili. "We expected them to rise to the challenge, but the Patty Mills 3s are just our guys falling asleep. Our attention to detail and our ability to focus in chaos was not there (Wednesday)."
The Grizzlies shot 51.4 percent from the field and went 20-of-22 from the free-throw line in Game 5 but could not get enough stops in the 116-103 setback.
TV: 8:30 p.m. CT, TNT, FSN Southwest
ABOUT THE SPURS: Ginobili is a four-time NBA champion and averaged 14.7 points in 198 career playoff games prior to this postseason but went scoreless on a combined 0-of-15 shooting in the first four games of the series before breaking out for 10 points on 4-of-6 in Game 5. The 39-year-old added three assists, three steals and a blocked shot in 18 minutes.
"It really is inspiring when you see him dive on the ball, putting his body on the line, hard drives, hard cuts," Mills told reporters of Ginobili. "It gets us all going. We shouldn't need that to get going, but he's a hell of a player, hell of a competitor. It trickles down, and we feed on it for sure."
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES: Memphis allowed the Spurs to shoot 52.5 percent from the floor, including 14-of-28 from 3-point range, in Game 5 after holding them to 42.3 percent in the Game 4 win at home.
"We were definitely sharper with our defensive execution at home, no doubt about it," Fizdale told reporters after Game 5. "It was night and day actually. I think all of our guys can own that, and that is the good part about them. They know their baskets came off of breakdowns. Obviously, it is hard enough to guard the talent when you don’t mess up. Like I said, we have got a group of guys who are very hungry to get back home, try to get a win, and find our way back here for Game 7."
The Grizzlies are leaning heavily on point guard Mike Conley on the offensive end, and he is delivering an average of 27.3 points on 53.5 percent shooting over the last four games.
1. Leonard scored 28 points in Game 5 and is averaging 31.6 on 57.6 percent shooting in the series, including 54.2 percent from 3-point range.
2. Memphis is shooting a league-best 87.8 percent from the free-throw line in the postseason.
3. San Antonio PF David Lee scored in double figures for the first time in the series with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting in Game 5.