Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs Sacramento Kings
When: 7:00 PM, Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Records: Memphis (32-18), Sacramento (19-33)
Media: TNT, 92.9 FM, 680 AM
Forums: 3 Shades of Blue, Grizzlies Message Board
Memphis has turned around the season again. After a red-hot start the team became a middling performer, a bad team after the trades and now are back to beating the bad teams. While it hasn’t been determined how they will play against the good teams they will face in March. It is much more encouraging now than it was just a week ago. After the poor game in Atlanta, Memphis has fought off a game Golden State team and then blew out Minnesota. The wins in front of the home crowd has to be encouraging. Fans were told that Ed Davis would be the big jewel of the Rudy Gay trade but so far it has been Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye that have ignited the Grizzlies fans. Prince has been more efficient than Rudy and Daye has far better range.
Sacramento comes to Memphis on a two game winning streak with wins over Houston and Utah. The wins push the Kings out of the Western Conference cellar with 19 wins. Sacramento is a team that likes to get out and run. Their problem has been they don’t like to get back and defend. The Kings surrender a league worst 103.3 PPG. The Kings like to run because they are a poor perimeter shooting team which allows teams to collapse inside on Cousins and Thompson. When able to run the Kings are as fast as any team in the league as the Houston Rockets discovered Sunday evening.
Expected Starting Lineups:
Mike Conley vs Isaiah Thomas
Mike Conley game by game performance has been up and down this season but Mike has always been the team leader. That hasn’t changed with the new players being added. In his last 5 games Conley has scored 18, 9, 17, 7 and 16 points respectively. His shooting percentages are not where they need to be either. However the Grizzlies operate better when Conley is on the court regardless of the PG’s individual play. Thomas is undersized, lightning quick and capable if hitting the long ball. His diminutive size is his biggest liability as he struggles to stop even smaller PG’s trying to hit from the perimeter.
Tony Allen vs Tyreke Evans
Tyreke Evans was ROY just 2 years ago. Of course, back then he was also a PG. Evans this season and moved to SF and SG while trying to help the Kings break out of their malaise. Tyreke can get inside with his fast first step and physical play but teams expect him to drive. What could be changing is his perimeter game where Evans is hitting 34% from the arc this season. Allen has had tremendous success slowing Evans down in their previous matchups holding the former Tiger to a mere 6 PPG.
Tayshaun Prince vs John Salmons
Salmons was struggling before the Houston game but broke out in a big way with 23 points. In the four games Salmons reached double figures only once with three games of 3 points or less. Teams need to keep Salmons off the arc. He is hitting better from three (34.8%) than two (28.3%) in the last five games. Prince was almost perfect against the Timberwolves going 8-8 from the field, hitting his first 3 as a Grizz and going 1-2 from the charity stripe. Fans can’t expect that every night from Prince but his high level of offensive efficiency will likely improve as he adjusts more and more to his new team.
Zach Randolph vs Jason Thompson
Jason Thompson is Sacramento’s silent assassin. Teams plan on stopping Cousins but often Thompson is often overlooked. Teams need to stop doing that. Thompson is averaging nearly 19 PPG in his last three and is doing so hitting 24 of 39 attempts. Randolph has not been playing his best of late and always seems to struggle against long, athletic PFs like Thompson. The good news for Grizz fans is Randolph is doing what is asked of him and not wearing down his old body too early in the season. It could be old age but more likely veteran experience.
Marc Gasol vs DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins is talented but unstable. Gasol is stable yet not so athletic. Theirs is a conflict of styles emotionally as much as physically. Emotionally Cousins is the spoiled brat of the NBA. Cousins leads the league in technical fouls and is fifth in personal fouls. Gasol on the other hand is cerebral and skilled instead of impetuous and talented. Gasol out-thinks his opponents and takes advantage of the holes in the opponents defense. However, Gasol has struggled as well with foul calls of late and is now 9th in the league in fouls himself. Cousins is averaging 16 points and 10 boards against Gasol while Marc returns with 15.5 and 8 but Gasol also has more assists, blocks and steals.
Benches: Memphis vs Sacramento
The Memphis Grizzlies entered the season with supposedly their best bench in a long time. Reality was something very different however. Suddenly the team made sweeping changes and now the Grizzlies bench is performing as advertised. Jerryd Bayless has emerged from a season long funk to be a productive scorer. Austin Daye has been deadly from the perimeter. Tony Wroten is fighting his way into the rotation. Darrell Arthur is hitting the mid range shot and playing good defense and Ed Davis is finding his way as well. Sacramento’s bench has been struggling with injuries. Marcus Thornton is a deadly perimeter scorer but has only played in 43 games. Aaron Brooks has been in 44. Francisco Garcia has been in 37. Jimmer Fredette has been a deadly perimeter shooter but not much else. Chuck Hayes is the only interior player off the bench.