Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs Orlando Magic
When: Sunday, March 3rd, 5:00 PM CST
Where: Amway Arena, Orlando, FL
Records: Memphis (38-19), Orlando (16-43)
Media: SportSouth, 92.9 FM, 680 AM
Forums: 3 Shades of Blue, Grizzlies Message Board
Memphis is out to reclaim stride on the latter half of its Floridian road trip, after a minor stumble out in Miami. To retract a tad, given how effectively the Grizzlies executed Friday night, it’s hard to call it a stumble. While it holds true that at this juncture of team maturity there are no such thing as moral victories, let’s just call it what it is: the Heat are a more talented team and when push comes to shove, talent wins. Tayshaun Prince’s on the ball defense (and a nice block) along with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph’s excellent help rotations were inspiring to say the least, and it’s admirable the way this group refused to be put away by the defending champs. If it wasn’t for a heroic, or villainous depending on which side you stand, performance from none other than Shane Battier, we might be having a different discussion right now. As long as the Grizz didn’t spend too much time drowning their sorrows with Mickey Mouse on their day off, they’ve got a very winnable one on the docket tonight.
Orlando reached the official point of sub .500 for the season on Friday, as the Magic suffered their 43rd loss at the hands of the Houston Rockets. The Magic have only won 1 game of their last 8, but did manage to play the Grizzlies within 6 points in the last go-around at the Forum. In trading J.J. Redick they acquired Tobias Harris who has been a very nice surprise having gone off for 23 and 27 points in his last two respective games. He’s definitely a player to look out for as he’s also averaging over 7 rebounds since the trade and has yet to shoot at under a 50% clip from the field in a game.
Expected Starting Lineups:
Mike Conley vs E’Twaun Moore:
Jeff Van Gundy couldn’t get enough of Mike Conley last game, and to be honest neither could I. His stats didn’t jump off the page, but man this dude has come a long way since his rookie year. While it’s more an indictment on the backup situation than anything else, the Grizzlies’ chances of success are infintely greater with him in the game. E’Twaun Moore has a size advantage over Conley, but couldn’t amount to much with it last time out, having gone 5-18 shooting on the night.
Tony Allen vs Arron Afflalo:
Since being traded, Afflalo has seen his role shift from defensive specialist and spot up shooter to volume scorer. As a result, his efficiency measures and shooting percentages have taken a hit. To be fair, last time we played them, he had a darn good game posting 20 points 6 rebounds and 7 assists in 44 minutes of action. Tony had a rough go of it guarding Wade in Miami, but who doesn’t? I’m sure he’ll be the ringleader of the charge to come out with a vengeance tonight.
Tayshaun Prince vs Moe Harkless:
Moe Harkless has been a major beneficiary of steady increased playing time as he’s proving himself to be a valuable commodity for the Magic going forward. Tayshaun Prince put on an awesome display of defense on Lebron James in his last outing, and for his next trick will try to contain Harkless. After watching Prince on Friday night, I simply cannot doubt him in this one.
Zach Randolph vs Andrew Nicholson:
Zach Randolph: how’s the ankle? I’m sure Lionel would love to get out to a bright and early lead to get the guy some rest, but let’s be real… no matter what the opponent, that just hasn’t been Grizzlies basketball. Nicholson has some talent, but his production has been all over the map. Injured or not, Zach skirts the line of double-double in his sleep and forced Nicholson into foul trouble throughout the last one.
Marc Gasol vs Nikola Vucevic:
Last time the two squared off I gave the edge to Vucevic and looked like a fool as he was overwhelmed in the matchup. He pulled in 11 boards, but shot 2-8 from the floor and fouled out in the process. Vucevic is a heck of a player and I surely don’t want to underestimate him, but I’m not going to make the same mistake I made last time.
Tobias Harris… look out for this guy. He’s got all the physical tools in the world, and in his new situation in Orlando: a stage for which to show them off. Beno Udrih was another piece of the trade deadline yield, and is a very capable point guard. Lastly, the Magic have Al Harrington back in the mix after missing a ton of time with an infection, but he won’t be likely to make much of a difference at this point. On the other side of the coin, how about Quincy’s game in Miami? Whether he kicked out his leg or not, I was doing laps of jubilation around my living room in response to that 4 point play. One thing’s for sure kids (and adults), he’s proven that he’s definitely not afraid of the moment. With the way Harris is playing, he may produce the most of all individual bench players in this one, but the Grizzlies sideline crew is far more rounded.