Memphis come to Sacramento with high hopes after blowing out Golden State at home Monday night. Led by the ‘Beast on the Bluff’ Marc Gasol (27 pts, 16 rebounds and 3 blocks) and a suddenly ferocious defense that is holding teams to below 38% from the field the Grizziles come to Arco Arena with a .500 record and optomism among their few fans as high as it has been since Shane Battier was in uniform. O J Mayo and Darrell Arthur complete the triumverate of rookies starting for the Grizzlies. The lack of history may benefit the Grizzlies in this game since Memphis has lost 17 consecutive games in Sacramento and never won there since the team moved to Memphis.
Sacramentoisn’t exactly rudderless right now. The rudder is just in reverse. Beno Udrih has been a disaster so far, and Mikki Moore is underperforming his meager expectations. Kevin Martin isn’t quite on track, those everyone has confidence he’ll be himself soon enough. But Sacramento fans can put up with the overall malaise so long as Jason Thompson impersonates Karl Malone and Spencer Hawes shows his remarkable talent. Thompson has received the bulk of the team’s power forward minutes, and he’s made the most of them. He’s a tenacious, Elton Brand-like rebounder with a littany of offensive moves. Few big men run the floor like him … he even leads the break on occasion. A home loss to a fellow cellar dweller might be too much, but Thompson has allowed us to forget our plight four times already. – Tom Ziller Sactown Royalty
Small Forwards: Rudy Gay vs John Salmons
John Salmons was supposed to be the team’s up and coming star last season but never really found his niche until late in the season. Now with Artest gone Salmons can take over the SF position full time and he has responded well so far. It is uncertain whether or not Salmons can become a front line scorer and leader on a team but so far he is doing a fine imitation of one. Rudy Gay is starting to grow into his leadership role as well but there are few questions about his ability to man that role. Against Golden State Rudy showed his willingness to share the scoring load as he repeatedly fed Gasol for easy plays arount the hoop. Last year he would have taken the tougher shot instead. It’s basically a toss-up right now between the two players and Sacramento is at home.
Mikki Moore is a thin but physical PF that