Game: Memphis Grizzlies at New Jersey Nets
When: 6:30 pm CST
Where: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
Records: Memphis (15-14), New Jersey (8-21)
Expected Starting Lineups:
Memphis – Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Rudy Gay, Marreese Speights, Marc Gasol
New Jersey – Deron Williams, Anthony Morrow, Marshon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Shelden Williams
Memphis is coming off a hard fought win over Houston last night. They now must travel half way across the country to play another game after more than a week of sleeping in the own beds. Luckily the Grizzlies play a team that is struggling as bad as any team in the league.
The Grizzlies are 5-9 on the road but only have lost their last five games away from FedEx Forum and could use a road win to confirm the team’s recent success. The recent 5 game home stand concluded at 3-2 but also included wins over 2 teams in playoff position and one team competing for the playoffs. One of the losses was to the hottest team in the league on the second game of a back to back and the 4th game in five days.
Mike Conley has begun to own this team and his huge finish against Houston just confirmed that role. With Houston making a run late in the game it was Conley not Rudy Gay or All-Star Mark Gasol who stepped up scoring 7 of the Grizzlies last 9 points to put away the Rockets and move within half a game of the final playoff spot. Memphis is now 14-11 in games without Zach Randolph who is cleared for non-contact workouts and could be back in the lineup soon.
New Jersey has struggled no matter where they play but have received encouraging news themselves from the injury front as Brook Lopez has been working out with the team. However, Shawne Williams is expected to miss this game with a sore shoulder suffered in the Nets loss to the Spurs. Williams joins a who’s who of injured players including Mehmet Okur, Keith Bogans, Damian James and DeShawn Stevenson.
The Nets have lost 6 consecutive games including four straight at home but are well rested having last played February 11th, a rare four-day break this season. What’s more the Nets hit the road after this game to play at Indiana and Chicago so they want a win in the worst way.
New Jersey has been getting excellent play from Deron Williams at the point averaging 20.9 PPG, 8.4 APG and 3.4 RPG but he is getting little support anywhere else. Anthony Morrow is starting in place of DeShawn Stevenson at SG but only shooting 42% from the field (42% from the arc). Undersized Sheldon Williams replaces Brook Lopez as the starting center. Former Kim Kardashian husband Kris Humphries is a strong rebounder who starts at power forward and 6-5 Marshon Brooks starts at SF.
Prediction: Despite playing back to back games this is one the Grizzlies should win.