Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs Golden State Warriors
When: Friday, November 2, 9:30 PM CST
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
Records: Memphis (0-1), Golden State (1-0)
Media: Sportsouth, NBA League Pass, 92.9 FM, 680 AM
Forums: 3 Shades of Blue, Grizzlies Message Board
Memphis, a notoriously slow starter, heads into the Bay Area looking to bounce back from a disappointing season opener against a tough Los Angeles Clippers team. It’s hard to admit, but you have to give the Clips some credit. For starters going forward, Mike Conley has to be hoping to come out of the gate a bit stronger against the Warriors. During the preseason he appeared to be in position to break out, but his performance in LA seemed anything but. One has to believe that 2-10 from the field with 6 turnovers is a far deviation from what we will see out of “Money Mike” this year. In addition to the bad, contributions from the bench were nearly non-existent, and Zach Randolph’s 15 point, 16 rebound stat line is a bit deceiving, as he was off his game for the majority of the night. It is not all doom and gloom, however, as the frontline as a whole displayed a great deal of promise and appeared to work in cohesion with one another. Despite going scoreless in the 4th, Marc Gasol’s offensive game looked fantastic and refined, as he displayed a variety of moves and was unstoppable when he wanted to be. To add to this, Rudy Gay scored the ball efficiently with an increased workload in the post. He picked his spots and didn’t give up on plays, evidenced by his 3 offensive boards. Zbo will not miss all those bunnies and shoot 33% from the field every night, so as usual the frontline gives us a lot to be excited about.
Golden State has been a sexy pick to make the playoffs heading into the season, and showed out in pretty exciting fashion to start the year. Alternatively to the Grizzlies, the Warriors are looking to ride the wave of the momentum they established in their first bout, on the heels of a season opening victory against the Phoenix Suns. In spite of putrid 2-14 and 2-16 shooting performances from Stephen Curry and David Lee, respectively, the Warriors were able to pull through to a nail-biting 87-85 victory over the Suns on their own floor. With the ink still yet to dry on a sweet 4 year contract extension, Curry may have just been caught up in the moment, and will be expected to pick up the pieces going forward, as should Lee, who has been an annual mainstay near the top of the league in FG%. Their victory was powered by their bench, with new acquisition Carl Landry emerging as a real bright spot in his Warriors debut, posting 12 points in the final period, and swingman Brandon Rush providing his usual spark.
Things to Watch For:
Just a single game into the 2012-13 NBA season, the Grizzlies and Warriors are heading into this matchup in similar positions, despite the fact that they experienced different outcomes from their first games. Both teams were faced with the challenge of overcoming shoddy offensive performances from their usually-reliable starting point guards and power forwards. On both sides of the coin, it will be interesting to see who can recover. A worry for the Grizzlies has to be the Warriors’ bench. Mark Jackson has been touting the Warriors’ much improved depth heading into the year, and the Grizz got lit up like a jack o’-lantern by Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe off the Clippers’ bench on Halloween. With Brandon Rush, Carl Landry and Jarrett “Michael Jordan” Jack (as he becomes against the Grizzlies) on their second unit, we cannot afford for our reserves to lay an egg in this one. To quote the cult classic film, “Warriors, come out to play…”
Matchup of the Night: Tony Allen vs. Klay Thompson – Crazy, right? Klay Thompson has been flying somewhat under the radar, but has been quietly making quite a name for himself with his unbridled assault from the perimeter. His performance towards the end of last year greatly softened the blow of shipping out Monta Ellis, and he went right back to work this season, connecting on 4 bombs from three-point land vs. Phoenix. He’s more than just a three point gunner, though. Klay possesses a surprisingly crafty offensive game for a guy entering his second year in the league. Still, he’s young, and Tony Allen likes to eat inexperienced players for breakfast. I’d expect him to come away with a handful of steals by the end of this one, but Klay will go off if Tony gambles as much as he did against LA.