The San Antonio Spurs are the picture of organizational stability with head coach Gregg Popovich the longest tenured in the NBA and R.C. Buford serving as general manager since 2002. The Memphis Grizzlies, who visit the Spurs on Wednesday, are in organizational turmoil after letting go of head coach David Fizdale on Monday amid an eight-game losing streak.
Fizdale lasted 101 games as the coach of the Grizzlies before being let go by general manager Chris Wallace, who made J.B. Bickerstaff the sixth head coach of his tenure when he announced him to replace Fizdale in the interim. “After a thorough evaluation, I decided a change was necessary to move forward and provide the team and organization its best chance at success this season and beyond,” Wallace, who took over as Memphis general manager in 2007, said in a statement. “Coach Fizdale represented the Grizzlies and City of Memphis proudly, and we wish him well as he continues his career.” Buford has never known a head coach other than Popovich, who had kind words for Fizdale. “Fiz is a fine young coach, and nobody likes to see those guys have such a short tenure,” Popovich said, according to ESPN.com. “He did a helluva job, and I don’t think he’s going to have any problem landing someplace. He’s a good man, and he knows what he’s doing. He’s tough-minded. I think he will be fine.”
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Memphis), FSN Southwest (San Antonio)
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (7-12): Fizdale’s firing comes one day after he benched star center Marc Gasol in the fourth quarter of a 98-88 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets, a move that didn’t make his star player very happy. “I don’t know the why,” Gasol told reporters after the game. “...It’s a first for me, trust me, and I don’t like it one bit. I‘m more (upset) than I can show and frustrated.” Gasol and Fizdale were trying to win without point guard Mike Conley, who sat out the last six games with an Achilles injury and is not expected back until sometime in December.
ABOUT THE SPURS (13-7): San Antonio just got its point guard back with the return of Tony Parker, who made his season debut on Monday after rupturing his quadriceps tendon during the playoffs last spring and delivered six points and four assists in 14 minutes. “I‘m always amazed by all the love from Spurs fans,” Parker told reporters. “It’s hard to describe the feeling, but I was just excited and just wanted to thank everybody for all the support. The city of San Antonio has been amazing, all the fans, the Spurs organization.” San Antonio earned a 115-108 win over Dallas with Parker back -- its ninth win in the last 12 games.
1. Gasol is shooting 35.4 percent from the floor over the last five games and was 6-of-17 before taking a seat on the bench Sunday.
2. Spurs PF LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 33 points on 13-of-19 shooting Monday.
3. San Antonio beat Memphis in six games in the first round of the playoffs last spring
PREDICTION: Spurs 103, Grizzlies 95