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Spurs-Grizzlies Preview

AP - Sports

A victory over the league leaders was a nice way for the San Antonio Spurs to head into their longest trip of the season.

Another big game from Tony Parker could help the Southwest Division-leading Spurs open that nine-game stretch with another win.

San Antonio goes for back-to-back road wins - both against Memphis - for the first time since March on Monday night, when the Grizzlies look for a better result against the Spurs than the last time they returned from the road.

With their annual rodeo trip looming, the Spurs (16-9) won their season-high fourth in a row Saturday, 107-96 over Oklahoma City behind Parker's season-high 42 points and nine assists.

The French point guard moved past Avery Johnson as the franchise's all-time assist leader with 4,477 while making a strong case to earn his fourth All-Star nod when the reserves are named Thursday.

"I would like to go again eventually,'' said Parker, who was last an All-Star in 2009. "We'll see what happens.''

The Spurs have to like what's happened through 25 games, holding a two-game divisional lead over defending champion Dallas while being without Manu Ginobili (broken hand) the last 20 games.

San Antonio could get Ginobili back during this trip, which would be a tremendous boost for a club that's won just three of 11 on the road.

However, rookie guard Kawhi Leonard has been a solid replacement. His play on both ends of the floor against All-Star forward Kevin Durant was key to the Spurs finishing off a 3-0 homestand on Saturday.

"The last game of the homestand, you always kind of call it the first game of the road trip - beating a great team like Oklahoma City is a good way to do it," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

The Spurs last won five straight during an eight-game run from Jan. 7-21, 2011.

They'll hit the road for the first time since opening their current winning streak with an 83-73 victory over the Grizzlies (12-12) on Jan. 30.

Matt Bonner hit five 3-pointers and scored 15 points and Parker added 12 assists in that game to help San Antonio snap a five-game skid at Memphis, which included three defeats in last season's first-round playoff loss.

The Grizzlies, who suffered a 95-82 season-opening loss at San Antonio, could equal their best 11-game start at home (8-3) since 2003-04. However, the team is not returning to FedExForum with much confidence after shooting a combined 39.7 percent in losses to Oklahoma City and Boston to end their 1-2 trip.

"I can't even put a finger on (what's happening with the offense)," point guard Mike Conley told the Grizzlies' official website following Sunday's 98-80 loss to the Celtics. "We are missing shots we normally make and they are good looks, lot of them good looks."

Memphis made 37.0 percent from the field - a season-low at home - on Jan. 30.

Conley leads the league in steals with 2.5 per game, but the Grizzlies' ability to slow down Parker and the Spurs' backcourt could be severely impacted if Tony Allen misses a second straight game due to a sore hip and knee.

Grizzlies leading scorer Rudy Gay had a team-best 19 points Dec. 26, but he missed all seven shots and finished with one point Jan. 30 when Memphis dropped its season-high fourth straight following a 1-3 West Coast trip.

The Spurs last won two straight road games on March 2 and 12.

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