When: Tuesday, December 3rd, 7:00 PM CST
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
So, let’s talk about Phoenix. Who would have the Suns and the Grizzlies would be just a half game apart from each other? Not even Sports Illustrated. After a demoralizing home loss to the struggling Nets, the Grzzlies will try to set things right against the youthful Suns, who have been the biggest surprise in the league. Let’s see if the Grizz can teach those young punks a lesson….
Expected Starting Lineups:
Mike Conley vs Goran Dragic
Dragic is a tricky guy to pinpoint. He’s probably one of the better point guards in the league – although there are so many good ones that it’s hard to tell – but mostly, he’s a streaky player. Dragic has always been one of the more energetic guards in the league – think back to his early years as Nash’s backup on the 09-10 Suns – and he’s the kind of guy who can score 13 points in the first quarter. The thing is, he’ll end up with just 19 for the game. Look for Dragic to get tired after a night of dealing with Conley, who will push him to his limit throughout the game.
Tony Allen vs Eric Bledsoe
The Clippers must wish they could have this one back, right? I mean, Jared Dudley is fine and all, but Bledsoe looks like a stud, and should be a huge piece going forward for the Suns. And when you watch him succeed as a 2-guard you have to think they wish they had tried that last year. I mean, a CP3-Bledsoe backcourt would have been electric, but it wasn’t meant to be. Probably a good thing for the Grizzlies, really. Anyway, Bledsoe vs. Allen should be a fascinating matchup, as both players are high-energy guys, and should push each other all game along. If Tony’s knockout perimeter can keep Bledsoe from having a big game, the Grizzlies will be in good shape.
Tayshaun Prince vs PJ Tucker
Oh, come on! Look, I love being challenged as a writer, but this is just too boring. This is like eating unflavored oatmeal while watching paint dry. Okay, fine, Tucker should some credit for emerging as a solid role player, when most people forgot he existed, and Prince’s shots have been falling a little more frequently lately. But man, this Dullsville, USA. Of course, now that I’ve said that, they’ll probably combine for like 75 points or something. So..that’ll be fun.
Zach Randolph vs Channing Frye
How do you know you’re team is snakebit? When you’re best player goes down for two months, and then your second best player goes down with a toenail injury. Not that I’m blaming Z-Bo – he’s a mighty tough dude, and if he couldn’t play, he couldn’t play. But man, of all the things, and of course it happens this season. Anyway if Z-Bo returns tonight, he’ll have a matchup with Channing Frye, who is his polar opposite, a stretch four who is rarely physical, but compensates for that with his excellent shooting. These players do share a common trait; they were both trapped on Isiah’s awful Knicks teams, and reached their full potential upon entering better situations.
Kosta Koufos vs Miles Plumlee
Who would have thought both Plumlees would be rotation players in the NBA this soon? I’m guessing it doesn’t go far beyond Mr. and Mrs. Plumlee. Still, Plumlee has proven surprisingly effective, when most thought the center position would be a void for the Suns after they traded Marcin Gortat to the Washington Wizards. Koufos has been solid since entering the lineup for the Grizzlies – especially in terms of rebounding, but we have yet to see him really take over a game. His offense has gone down from last season in Denver, as his shooting percentage has dropped by nearly 10 points. This could be the resulting into a different, slower-paced offense, but it would be nice to see Koufos display some of the efficiency that marked his time with the Nuggets.
After struggling with the Pacers last year, Gerald Green is having a big comeback year. You can see why it didn’t work in Indiana – they’re a slow, defensive team, and Green is fun, explosive, and occasionally irresponsible. That sort of mismatch can work if you make it fit – see Nate Robinson’s time with the Bulls – but if not, it’s just uncomfortable for everyone. Ish Smith is the sort of point guard that bounces around a lot, always just good enough to keep a job, but not much more. As for the Grizz, let’s hope Qpon never gets another DNP-CD again, because man, did he explode against the Nets. He single-handedly made it a game again in the early fourth. We all know what happened next, but wow! Also, Ed Davis still hasn’t been consistent, but he has had some highlight reel plays, and you get the feeling a big game is coming. Oh, and MORRIS TWIN POWERS ACTIVATE! Seriously, they’ve both been pretty effective. How cool would it be if the Lopez twins ended up on the same team? Okay, I’m getting off-topic here. Anyway, slight edge to the Suns for the bench.