San Antonio (23-11) at Memphis (8-26)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Memphis, TN
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 4:00 pm EST Sun Jan 7, 2007
  • TV: CW35
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The San Antonio Spurs are in the midst of their longest losing streak in almost two years, but they’re not worried.

The Spurs (23-11) look to avoid dropping their fourth straight game when they visit the Memphis Grizzlies (8-26) on Sunday.

San Antonio fell to 0-3 in 2007 with a 90-85 defeat to Dallas on Friday. It’s the first time the Spurs have lost three straight since March 20-23, 2005, and they haven’t lost four in a row since Nov. 28-Dec. 3, 2003.

“Better to be 0-3 now then 0-3 during the playoffs,” the Spurs’ Bruce Bowen said.

San Antonio led the Mavericks by as many as 12 points, but shot 32.3 percent from the floor in the second half. The Spurs are shooting 41.7 percent during their skid, compared to their season average of 47.6.

Although San Antonio is in a bit of a slump, the veteran club is maintaining its composure.

“We never panic,” said Tim Duncan, who had 18 points. “There’s always time to panic. We are 34 games into the season. You have to go through ups and downs in a season to build a team and build character in a team. This is our down time and hopefully we can cut it off at this.”

Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 25 points against the Mavericks, going 4-of-6 from beyond the 3-point arc.

The Spurs have won five straight over Memphis, owner of the worst record in the NBA. San Antonio defeated the Grizzlies 105-98 on Dec. 20, shooting 55.2 percent from the floor.

Tim Duncan scored 21 points on 8-for-8 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds in that meeting. He’s averaging 19.0 points and 12.4 boards in his last five games against the Grizzlies.

Michael Finley had a season-high 20 points and went 5-of-6 from 3-point range in the December matchup, but he’s scored just 26 points on 10-of-27 (37.0 percent) shooting in his last five games.

Memphis is playing a different brand of basketball since it faced the Spurs 2 1/2 weeks ago. Mike Fratello was fired as coach Dec. 28 after a 6-24 start, and interim coach Tony Barone has scrapped his predecessor’s slowdown approach in favor of a fast-paced style.

The Grizzlies reached the 100-point mark just six times under Fratello, but have scored at least 109 points in all four games under Barone. They’re averaging 120.5 points in going 2-2 in those contests.

Memphis’ defense, though, has suffered under Barone, as the Grizzlies fell 128-119 to Boston on Friday. The Celtics shot 57.5 percent, a season high against Memphis.

“We didn’t defend,” forward Stromile Swift said. “We couldn’t stop them in the paint, and they got a lot of dribble penetrations and got to the basket.

“…They did everything that we didn’t do.”

Mike Miller and Pau Gasol each scored 24 points for Memphis as they continued to lead the Grizzlies’ offensive resurgence.

Miller is averaging 29.0 points on 62.5 percent shooting, including 56.8 percent (25-of-44) from 3-point range in the last four games. Gasol is averaging 22.8 points on 60.7 percent in those contests.

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Sunday, Jan 7