NBA San Antonio Spurs

Leonard-less Spurs fall to Grizzlies in low-scoring game

San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Photo Credit: Mark Humphrey / AP Photo

It’s obvious after last night that Kawhi Leonard is an essential part of the San Antonio Spurs’ game. The star was a late scratch due to an injury, and the Memphis Grizzlies took advantage of his absence to beat the Spurs, 89-74.

It was, in fact, the Spurs’ lowest-scoring game of the season. They were limited to 37 percent shooting overall and 21 percent from outside the arc, both also season lows. They only had nine points in the fourth quarter.

“Just too many defensive errors,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “Obviously, if you make a shot in the fourth quarter, it would have helped, but the shooting was horrendous.”

The game was actually close, if low-scoring, most of the way, but the Grizzlies really pulled away midway through the fourth quarter. The main reason the Spurs had such a low-scoring night was because their leading scorer, Leonard, was scratched late with a quad contusion. Leonard has been averaging 25.3 points per game this season, 11th best in the league. Pau Gasol was also out with a broken finger.

Without Leonard’s 25-30+ points to help them out, the Spurs struggled. David Lee led the team with 14 points, followed by LaMarcus Aldridge with 13 points. Danny Green and Manu Ginobili finished with 12 points each.

“Obviously, it’s nice to catch the Spurs without Kawhi and Pau Gasol,” Memphis coach David Fizdale said, “so I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.”

Leonard is listed as day-to-day right now, so it’s impossible to know when he’ll be back. However, the Spurs are still impressive on the road; they’re also 82-36 on the rodeo road trip. So, they may have had a tough night in Memphis, but we can’t count them out yet – not by a long shot.

What’s next?

This game against the Grizzlies kicked off the Spurs’ annual rodeo road trip, eight road games through Feb. 26. They head to Philadelphia tomorrow night to take on the 76ers.

The Grizzlies, on the other hand, play the middle game of a three-game homestand against the Phoenix Suns tomorrow night.

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