The San Antonio Spurs are winless midway through their annual Rodeo Road Trip and they look to halt their season-worst, four-game losing streak when they visit the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. San Antonio has lost by an average of 20.8 over the first four games of the trip that occurs when a rodeo show takes over its home arena for most of February.
The Spurs have been horrendous defensively on the excursion by allowing an average of 130 points and Saturday's 125-105 loss to the Utah Jazz represents the fewest they have given up during the trip. "We've got to stay in front of guys," shooting guard DeMar DeRozan told reporters of the defensive issues. "It's our job as guards to stay in front of our man and not let that penetration get in and cause stress on our defense and let them get easy shots, easy layups, and put them on the free-throw line. That's been a killer." Memphis has won three of its past four games and was stout defensively in Saturday's 99-90 home win over the New Orleans Pelicans, a result coming just two days after franchise stalwart Marc Gasol was traded to the Toronto Raptors. "I think with the changes that we made and the amount of bodies that came in and moved out, this is a new team," Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters. "Stylistically, I think it will look different on both sides of the ball. We're looking at it as a blank slate with this group and an opportunity to build something positive."
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FS Southwest (San Antonio), FS Southeast (Memphis) LINE: Spurs -3.5
ABOUT THE SPURS (32-26): San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said "there's no time for sulking" after the loss to Utah but the defensive issues have been glaring. The Spurs are a middle-of-the-pack defensive unit by allowing an average of 111.4 points per game and have given up more than 100 in each of the past 16 games. DeRozan scored 23 points against Utah and is averaging 27.3 points on 34-of-62 shooting over his last three games.
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (23-34): Seldom-used Joakim Noah has an opportunity to see more action with Gasol gone and he was splendid against the Pelicans with season highs of 19 points and 14 rebounds. "Ton of credit to Joakim," Bickerstaff told reporters of Noah. "He had a flashback to a few years ago. He was all over the place, and I think he led the charge with his energy." Noah is averaging 5.1 points and 4.7 rebounds in 14 minutes per game and both of his double-doubles this season have occurred this month.
1. The teams split two meetings in San Antonio earlier this season.
2. Spurs F Rudy Gay (ankle) hopes to return after missing Saturday's contest.
3. Memphis SG Avery Bradley had eight points on 3-of-10 shooting in 25 minutes against New Orleans in his team debut after being acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers.
PREDICTION: Spurs 109, Grizzlies 107 Bet Now
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