Memphis (6-19) at San Antonio (19-6)

Cloudy Currently: San Antonio, TX
Temp: 66° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Wed Dec 20, 2006
  • TV: WMC, FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The San Antonio Spurs look to win their sixth straight home game on Wednesday when they face the Memphis Grizzlies, one of the worst road teams in the league.

After going 34-7 at the AT&T Center last season, the Spurs (19-6) are 9-3 at home this season. That record includes an 8-0 mark when scoring at least 100 points, including a 103-98 win over Philadelphia on Saturday in their most recent outing.

Although that win was close, San Antonio is outscoring opponents by an average of 17.8 points during its five-game home win streak while shooting 50.1 percent from the floor.

While the Spurs are thriving at home, the Grizzlies (6-19) are 2-12 on the road this season. Memphis has lost its last three road games, allowing its opponents to average 101.0 points and shoot 50.4 percent.

San Antonio has won 14 of its last 17 home games against the Grizzlies, including three straight.

This is the first meeting of the season after the Spurs swept the series in 2005-06, though they hardly dominated the Grizzlies. San Antonio did win 93-83 at Memphis on Jan. 16, but its other three wins were by a combined six points.

The Spurs were not happy with their most recent narrow victory. They blew a 17-point third-quarter lead and allowed Philadelphia to take a lead late in the fourth before Manu Ginobili scored eight of his 17 points in the final 2:47.

“In the final few minutes we stepped up, but we can’t be satisfied with that,” Ginobili said. “It isn’t always going to end up like (Saturday).”

Ginobili has been solid since returning from a lower back contusion that caused him to miss four games in late November. He scored a team-high 24 points to lead the Spurs over New Orleans last Thursday, and is averaging 19.3 points over the last six games while making 16-of-29 (52.1 percent) from 3-point range.

“He has unbelievable will (to win),” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “He does things you can’t draw. He has extraordinary will to get it done.”

Ginobili averaged 16.0 points and hit 7-of-11 (63.6 percent) from beyond the arc in three games against the Grizzlies last season.

Memphis defeated Seattle 134-126 in double overtime on Monday to snap a six-game losing streak.

After scoring just two points in 32 minutes against Miami on Saturday, Chucky Atkins scored a season-high 28 points on Monday. He hit a 30-foot desperation shot at the end of the first overtime to tie the game at 115.

“Any win is big right now,” said Mike Miller, who scored a season-high 29 points. “It doesn’t matter when it comes or who it is against. It’s a big win for us.

“We’re playing better basketball right now. We just have to find ways to win.”

A big help for the Grizzlies has been the return of All-Star Pau Gasol, who missed the first 22 games of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a broken foot he suffered during the FIBA World Championships.

Gasol scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting in his most productive of the three games since his return, but was limited to 21 minutes and did not play in the two overtimes.

“Slowly, Pau is getting a little better each game,” Memphis coach Mike Fratello said.

Gasol averaged 21.5 points and 8.3 rebounds against San Antonio last season.

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Wednesday, Dec 20