Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs New Orleans Hornets
When: 7:00 pm CST
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Records: Memphis Grizzlies (36-25 ), New Orleans Hornets (19-42)
Expected Starting Lineups:
Memphis Grizzlies – Mike Conley, Quincy Pondexter, Rudy Gay, Marreese Speights, Marc Gasol
New Orleans Hornets – Greivis Vasquez, Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jason Smith, Carl Landry
Memphis gets a quick shot at redeeming what was a terrible loss at New Orleans tonight as the Hornets come to town. It was just three days ago that Memphis squandered a halftime lead to lose to the Hornets in New Orleans.
The Grizzlies should be glad to hear the familiar roar of the home team fans tonight. Fans of the Grizzlies are getting justifiably nervous after watching the team play down to their opponent the last two games. The Grizzlies struggled against the Minnesota Timberwolves last night on the road. Minnesota was 0-26 in April over the last three seasons but held the lead late before a Grizz run helped the team take control in the 91-84 victory.
The Grizzlies don’t need revenge to motivate themselves tonight. A win all but clinches a playoff berth for the Grizzlies as they will be up 4 losses over Phoenix and Houston with only four games remaining on the schedule. With the Lakers loss last night and the Clippers playing at Denver tonight the Grizzlies could find themselves within 2 games of home court advantage in the first round as well.
Memphis escaped the Timberwolves last night thanks to a huge fourth quarter from Rudy Gay. For the game Rudy scored 28 points to go with 9 rebounds 4 assists and a steal but when the game was on the line Rudy stood tall scoring 9 points in a row over the last four minutes to help pull the win out for the Grizzlies. Marc Gasol shocked many fans by starting the game in Minnesota after suffering a knee bruise in New Orleans.
New Orleans didn’t sit on their laurels after the upset over the Grizzlies. The Hornets went out on the road and defeated the Charlotte Bobcats to pull within a game of Sacramento for 14th place in the conference. New Orleans looks like a different team with Eric Gordon playing. They are 6-4 over their last 10 games and have won four consecutive games. When Gordon has played the Hornets are 5-2 this year.
However the win in Charlotte came with a big cost. Chris Kaman, who has been playing excellent in the middle, was likely lost for the season with a bruised tibia. This is another tough injury for the Hornets as Emeka Okefor is already out with a sore knee. That leaves the Hornets very small inside. Carl Landry and Jason Smith are expected to man the starting roles with Gustavo Ayon looking to log major minutes off the bench.
Prediction: The Grizzlies are home, smell the playoffs and playing a Hornets team missing a major starter. Grizz win and all but clinch a playoff spot in the process.