National Basketball Association
Grizzlies-Spurs Preview
National Basketball Association

Grizzlies-Spurs Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 10:22 p.m. ET

By now, it's obvious the media has come to admire - and opponents certainly respect - Kawhi Leonard's ability to take over a game on the defensive end.

After leaving his indelible mark in a lopsided Game 1, Leonard will try to continue tormenting what's left of the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night when the San Antonio Spurs look to take care of business on their home court.

Leonard not only led the way offensively with 20 points in Sunday's series opener, but he also finished with four of San Antonio's 13 steals and three of its nine blocks in a 106-74 rout.

''Kawhi's a very good defender, and he takes great pride in it,'' coach Gregg Popovich said. ''He did what he usually does for us. It's important."


The All-Star forward helped hold Matt Barnes to two points on 1-of-7 shooting. Barnes has averaged five points on 23.1 percent shooting in his last three games after scoring 18.8 per game while hitting 13 3-pointers over his previous four.

Leonard even blocked Zach Randolph's shot in the first quarter as the Spurs ran a number of double teams at the only remaining player among the Grizzlies' top three scorers with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley out for the season.

Reserves Brandan Wright and Jordan Adams are also sidelined with injuries.

San Antonio held Randolph to six points on 3-for-13 shooting after the veteran power forward had averaged 18.6 over his last 11 regular-season contests.

It was something of a preview for the news Monday that Leonard was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. He was the catalyst of the league's best defense, becoming the first noncenter to win the award in consecutive seasons since Dennis Rodman in 1989-90 and 1990-91.

''He's in passing lanes, he has great on-ball instincts, great hands and he blocks shots very well at his position as well," Memphis swingman Vince Carter said. "He's just relentless, and he really gets their defense started.''

Carter finished with a team-high 16 points and Lance Stephenson added 14, but no other Memphis player scored more than seven. After shooting 39.2 percent in their worst-ever playoff defeat, the Grizzlies will have to find a way to get more going offensively if they hope to steal a victory at the AT&T Center.

"It don't matter if we would have won by one, lost by 30 or won by 15, we're just trying to get one game,'' Randolph said.

San Antonio's starters should be well-rested after sitting out the fourth quarter in preparation for Game 2. LaMarcus Aldridge is dealing with a sore pinkie finger after dislocating it April 7, while Boris Diaw is nursing a sore right abductor.

''A couple of guys got a little banged up,'' said Popovich, whose club is 41-1 at home. ''LaMarcus on his hand, and Boris' groin, so it was a little bit more than rest. But they're pros and they've all been in the league a long time.''

Aldridge had 17 points and Tony Parker and Patty Mills contributed 15 apiece for San Antonio, which shot 68 percent while breaking Game 1 open by outscoring Memphis 33-14 in the third quarter. The Spurs shot 51.9 percent overall, made 10 of 23 from 3-point range and owned a 44-35 advantage on the glass.

"We've got some young guys that are going to get better," Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger told the team's official website. "We will go back and watch the video and come back and try to get a little bit better and look for making a bigger dent."

Memphis has dropped six in a row and 21 of the past 25 meetings, including the postseason, and has lost 11 of 12 overall going back to the regular season.


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