(Photo credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports)
The San Antonio Spurs hope that a spirited effort, even in defeat, will carry forward and help snap a seven-game losing streak when they host the struggling and short-handed Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.
The Grizzlies head to the Alamo City on three days' rest after a 134-107 loss Tuesday in Los Angeles to the Lakers. Santi Aldama led Memphis with 24 points while David Roddy added 17, and Xavier Tillman and Desmond Bane scored 15 points each in the loss, which was the Grizzlies' third setback in their past four outings.
Memphis trailed by 23 points at halftime, 31 in the third quarter and never recovered.
Memphis guard Marcus Smart suffered an ankle injury in the game. Luke Kennard was ruled out before tipoff because of knee soreness. The Grizzlies are also missing Steven Adams (knee), Brandon Clarke (Achilles) and Ja Morant (suspension). Tillman is already on the injury report for Saturday with knee injury recovery.
"Obviously we've got our challenges, but there are no excuses," Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. "Next-man-up mentality. Show that resiliency, that fight, that care factor. It's there. I'm seeing it. It's not leading to the results right now, but brighter days are ahead. We've just got to endure and overcome."
The Grizzlies could get back Derrick Rose (knee), who is listed as questionable. Anything would be helpful for Memphis, which is 2-9 and carries the worst record in the Western Conference into play Saturday.
"Injuries come and go -- they're stacked up right now," Jenkins said. "So be it. Just keep battling. That's all that we have to focus on."
Saturday's contest against Memphis is the second of a home back-to-back for the Spurs and the second of a four-game homestand that continues with consecutive contests against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday and Wednesday.
The homestand began for San Antonio with a 129-120 loss to surging Sacramento on Friday in an in-season tournament game that the Spurs led by as many as 18 points early on and trailed by just one heading into the fourth quarter. San Antonio was down 123-118 after a 3-pointer by Keldon Johnson with 1:07 to play but could not close the gap in the final minute.
Zach Collins scored a season-high 28 points for the Spurs. Victor Wembanyama added 27, Johnson scored 21 and Malaki Branham tallied 10. San Antonio was missing starting guard Devin Vassell (abductor) and backup guard Tre Jones (hamstring).
Wembanyama, the league's top draft pick, also had nine rebounds but no assists and no blocks.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is not using a road map in developing the ballyhooed 7-foot-4 French teenager.
"He's doing some things that are really special," Popovich told the San Antonio Express-News. "He's doing other things that I don't want him to do, but I'm going to say very little to him now because I need to learn where he feels most comfortable on the court."
The loss to the Kings on Friday dropped San Antonio to 0-3 in in-season tournament games and eliminated the Spurs from wild-card consideration in West: Group C.
--Field Level Media