Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs Golden State Warriors
When: 7:00 pm CST
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Records: Memphis Grizzlies (29-22), Golden State Warriors (20-31)
Expected Starting Lineups:
Memphis – Jeremy Pargo, Tony Allen, Rudy Gay, Marreese Speights, Marc Gasol
Golden State – Charles Jenkins, Klay Thompson, Dorrell Wright, David Lee, Jeremy Tyler
The win in Oklahoma City was great but Memphis needs this game in the worst possible way as well. Not only because Houston, Dallas and Denver are breathing down the Grizzlies necks for playoff position but this is the only home game in a back to back to back series that ends in Dallas on Wednesday night. The win against the Thunder will mean nothing if the Grizzlies don’t follow it up with a win at home against the Warriors.
Memphis’ win over Oklahoma City was a true team effort with everyone playing their role. O J Mayo was especially effective as the scorer off the bench for the Grizzlies. Mayo consistently made the big shot and outplayed the likely 6th man of the year in James Harden. As solid as Mayo was the Grizzlies only shot 39.1% from the field so they didn’t win the game with their offense.
Defense has been the key for Memphis this season and last night was no exception. The Grizzlies forced OKC into 18 turnovers and holding the top scoring team in the league and holding the Thunder to only 88 points, 15 below their season average. The game was the 12th consecutive game that was decided by fewer than 10 points between the teams, a high in the NBA.
Dante Cunningham is not expected to play and Mike Conley will be a game time decision.
Golden State has struggled since trading Monta Ellis to Milwaukee for Andrew Bogut (out with a broken ankle), Stephen Jackson (since traded to San Antonio) and a future 1st round draft pick. The Warriors are 2-10 since the trade but have played tough on almost every night.
With Stephen Curry (ankle sprain) and Andris Beidrins expected to miss this game Golden State will need to rely on some rather unfamiliar names to pull the upset. The Warriors have gotten surprisingly strong offensive performance from point guard Charles Jenkins who is averaging 19.0 PPG and 7 assists in his last three starts in place of Curry. Klay Thompson, son of former NBA star Michael Thompson, has been averaging 17.6 PPG in his last 17 games and is deadly from beyond the arc.
David Lee is still a powerful force inside but will once again struggle without a partner down low. Jeremy Tyler is making his 8th straight start but only averages 3 PPG and 3 RPG since moving into the starting lineup. Tyler skipped his senior year of high school to turn pro and play in Europe.
Prediction: Memphis needs to guard against a letdown after the emotional win but appear to have too much inside strength for the Warriors.