Spurs-Grizzlies Preview

After resting every key player in a throwaway loss to another Western Conference power, Gregg Popovich is planning on doing it again in Memphis.

The injury-ravaged Grizzlies aren't exactly a threat to his San Antonio Spurs.

Before heading home and trying to set a new NBA record, the Spurs on Monday visit a Grizzlies team on pace for a unique distinction of its own.

San Antonio (61-12) rested Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker during Saturday's 111-92 loss in Oklahoma City.

If any of those players takes the floor against the Grizzlies (41-32), it would only be Aldridge with Leonard nursing a bruised quadriceps and Popovich set to give Duncan, Parker and Ginobili additional rest.

Popovich was OK being short-handed against the third-place Thunder, so it's not surprising that he's fine with the same versus Memphis, which is fifth in the West but playing without Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Mike Conley and three others due to injury.

David West and Jonathon Simmons each scored 17 points against Oklahoma City, which dealt the Spurs only their second loss in 10 games.

Popovich said his team played hard, but he was his typical blunt self when addressing the lack of punch in his lineup.

“They did what they were supposed to do in the end and they kicked our butt,” he said of the Thunder. “We hung in there really well and did a good job. You learn from everything. Win or lose, it doesn't matter.”

And ultimately it doesn't for San Antonio, which is locked into the No. 2 seed in the West and seems to be fine with that even though it does have a real chance to catch defending champion Golden State for the top spot with nine games left. The Warriors and Spurs play two more times before the postseason begins.

Memphis is on pace to become the first NBA playoff team with 24 or more players taking the court during the course of a season. The Grizzlies trail the Los Angeles Clippers by 4 1/2 games for the fourth seed and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, but making up that ground does not appear likely.

They also face the possibility of tumbling out altogether with sixth through ninth place in the conference all falling within two games of each other.

Memphis has lost 244 games to injury this season, the most in the league. The 27 players the Grizzlies have suited up in 2015-16 mark the most by an NBA team since Dallas used the same amount in 1996-97.

“When the playoffs come, we're going to do like we do now, go out and fight all 48 minutes,” said forward JaMychal Green, who started against the Spurs on Friday and scored a team-high 20 points in a 110-104 loss.

“Just give our best and leave it all on the court.”

Aldridge had 32 points and 12 rebounds in that victory to help the Spurs match the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls for the best home start in league history at 37-0.

Before trying to eclipse that mark Wednesday against New Orleans, San Antonio will try to sweep the season series with Memphis for the second time in three seasons. The Spurs rolled to a 103-83 win in their last visit to FedExForum on Dec. 3.

San Antonio finished with a season-high 37 points in the first quarter Friday and shot 63.4 percent in the first half.

“It's the Spurs, that's all you need to say,” Green said. “You've got to come ready against them.”