Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs Miami Heat
When: Sunday, November 11, 5:00 PM CST
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Records: Memphis (4-1), Miami (5-1)
Media: Sportsouth, NBA League Pass, 92.9 FM, 680 AM
Forums: 3 Shades of Blue, Grizzlies Message Board
Memphis continued their roll with a victory over the Rockets, Friday night, and looks to extend the streak today vs. Miami. Objectively, I have got to say that they needed this equity that they have built up in the win column to buffer against any shocks that may occur heading into a very tough week, also including match ups against Oklahoma City and the surging Knicks. Looking back at the good, however, the Grizzlies bench was absolutely dynamite against Houston. Lionel Hollins entrusted a unit composed of Zach Randolph and bench players down the stretch, and they did not disappoint. Jerryd Bayless and Wayne Ellington have displayed an ability to hit shots, and appear to be developing a good bit of chemistry together as a backcourt duo. Quincy Pondexter did a great job of harassing James Harden for the majority of the night, playing more minutes on him than Tony Allen, who found himself in foul trouble. Additionally the bench guys seem to be adopting the same ball-hawk mentality of our starters, as Bayless and Pondexter combined for 7 steals in the game.
Miami comes into Memphis looking vengefully to break the Grizzlies’ record regular season home winning streak which stands now at thirteen games. I say vengefully, because this is just what the Grizzlies had done to them last season. Aside from how embarrassingly caught off-guard they were by the Knicks, Miami has been scorching out of the gates. Of course they’re led by Lebron James, who has been his usual self, averaging a 20+ points, 10 boards, and 6 and change in the assist column. The offseason acquisition of Ray Allen has been paying off dividends, as he is averaging 14.7 points per game on nearly 60% shooting from beyond the arc, and has already sank a game-winning dagger from three against the Denver Nuggets. Dwyane Wade missed the Heat’s last game against the Hawks with a cold, but all signs point to him being ready to go against the Grizzlies.
Things to Watch For: Both Miami and Memphis jump into this one riding a 4 game winning streak, so momentum does not figure to be a factor in this one. Rudy Gay always seems to get up for big matchups like this one against Lebron, so it should be a lot of fun to watch the two duke it out. The Grizzlies thrive on creating havoc in the passing lanes and creating turnovers, but the Heat protect the ball very well. For the Grizzlies to gain an edge against the Heat, they are going to have to do what they do best, grind in the paint. In this one, our best defense may be a good post offense. Shane Battier is one of the smartest players in the game, and Chris Bosh is a great finesse player, but both are physically over-matched by Randolph and Marc Gasol. If our bigs can take advantage of this and force Erik Spolestra to play Joel Anthony big minutes, it will help us out tremendously on the defensive end by hindering their ability to spread the floor at all five spots.
Matchup of the Night: Marc Gasol vs. Chris Bosh – Overshadowed by the star power of Lebron and Wade, people forget that Chris Bosh is an all-star in his own right, and has just as much of an impact on their success. His jump shot is one of the better in the league for a guy his size, and has been become increasingly lethal since his arrival in Miami. His ability to draw his matchup out of the paint is critical to Miami’s spacing, and Marc and Zach lack the quickness to close out on him effectively. Marc’s ability to attack and abuse him early in the paint will be a crucial point to the Grizzlies chances of winning this game.