Spurs’ Julian Champagnie gets real about ‘slap in the face’ moment in skid-snapping win vs Grizzlies.

In a battle of very shorthanded teams, the Spurs finally end a head-scratching losing streak to the Grizzles.

Spurs' Julian Champagnie looking serious. San Antonio Spurs' logo, Memphis Grizzlies' logo.

Thanks to a 102-87 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, a dubious losing streak for the San Antonio Spurs is finally over. It’s no wonder one of their players used the term “slap in the face,” and another said they “took it personally.”


The Silver and Black lost 26 times to the Grizzlies in regular season meetings through the first 25 years of the match-up. They dropped exactly half that many to Memphis in just the last four seasons.

“I feel like we all took it personally because we wanted to win this game, especially after last game, it was a tough one,” Spurs forward Sandro Mamukelashvili said, alluding to a double-overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.

Very shorthanded vs. extremely shorthanded

On any other night, the Spurs would’ve featured the more shorthanded roster. They’re without Devin Vassell, Jeremy Sochan, Keldon Johnson and Cedi Osman; their second, third and fourth leading scorers along with a top reserve.

“I think after the first time out we were completely flat. We had no energy. I think the only person that played with energy throughout that first half was Cidy [Cissoko],” Spurs forward Julian Champagnie said.

The Grizzlies were without even more impact players. But that had also been the two case in two previous meetings in San Antonio this season. Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson, Jr., Marcus Smart, Derrick Rose and Luke Kennard, among others, missed Tuesday’s game.

“Obviously, that was a slap in the face. They came out and punched us. At halftime, coach kind of got on us and was like, ‘we’ve been through this before. We have to play. It doesn’t matter who we have on the court, team’s are coming to play.’ So, the second half we just kind of followed up on what he said and played harder,” Champagnie added.

Champagnie, Mamukelashvili step up alongside Victor Wembanyama in Spurs’ victory

San Antonio Spurs forward Julian Champagnie (30) and Memphis Grizzlies guard Scotty Pippen Jr. (1) battle for the ball during the second half at FedExForum.Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Champagnie finished second only to Victor Wembanyama’s 18 points, with 17 in the skid-busting loss. Mamukelashvili added a career high 16 rebounds and 11 points.

“It was just a flat start. I think we kind of new. Like coach said, they were like a wounded animal. They want to win, they want to play together,” Mamukelashvili continued.

“To stay in the league is hard so just having the opportunity, for everybody – me, the guys who are in Memphis just having that limited opportunity, come out there and just playing the hardest and crash the boards and be productive. I totally understood how they would play, to want to stay in here and continue an NBA career. They were really good. They battled a lot. We picked up and we played together.”

The 6-foot-9 forward, who’s seen tons more playing time over the last week and a half because of injuries, called the Grizz “srappy.”

“I think they came out more locked in, more physical. They had more energy than us. I think we came out slow, started second guessing a lot of stuff. At halftime, coach said they were more physical. We were not going defensively at all. We came out, we competed and picked up our defense and just stayed together.”


Wednesday marked the first Spurs win vs. Memphis since December of 2020 – something not lost on Julian Champagnie.

“We wanted the game, so we went out and got it.”

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