8. San Antonio Spurs, Aug 2
What otherwise would’ve been a hugely important game for the playoff race tanked with LaMarcus Aldridge’s shoulder injury.
Without their most-recent All Star, the Spurs – already playoff longshots – are effectively toast.
The Spurs are the NBA’s 24th-ranked team defensively; an astonishingly low mark for a Gregg Popovich squad. Sans Aldridge, they’ll struggle to maintain their fringe Top-10 offense, and stretch an already-thin frontcourt.
With such a generous play-in window for non-Grizzlies teams, every seeding game will count as a must-win for Memphis. But this one is as close to a gimme as Memphis will get.
They’ll need to take advantage and deliver a decisive win – a blowout to rest their starters wouldn’t hurt. A loss could be just cause for some early anxiety in the 901.