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Home Opener! 

Entertainment begins in the Grand Lobby at 5:30 with face painting, appearances by Grizz and the Grizz Girls as well as live music entertainment and likely an appearance by the new ownership group so everyone come out early and enjoy the fun.

Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs Utah Jazz
When: 7:00 PM CST
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Records: Memphis (1-1), Utah (1-2)
Media: Sportsouth, 92.9 FM, 680 AM
Forums: 3 Shades of Blue, Grizzlies Message Board

Memphis finally gets a home game after opening on the road for the first two games. The season opened with a disappointing loss at the Clippers and ended with a surprisingly easy win at Golden State. Even more surprising when the Warriors handled the Clippers in LA the next evening. The Grizzlies strength has been their front line and after two games it appears to be the team’s main strength this year as well. The Grizzlies bench was supposed to be greatly improved and will likely prove it given some time but is clearly struggling at the start of the season. Conley and Allen have not been as impressive as hoped but both have shown the capability to turn a game around on either end of the court.

Utah opened their season with a home win over the Dallas Mavericks. The night before the Mavs defeated the Lakers in LA and so a let down could explain that loss. The Jazz then lost to the Hornets and Spurs on the road and finish their four straight games against Southwest Division foes tonight in Memphis. However, it doesn’t get any easier after tonight with the Lakers next up in Salt Lake City. Utah, like Memphis, is led by their frontline of Jefferson, Millsap and newly acquired Marvin Williams, formerly of the Hawks. Gordon Hayward and former Clipper PG Mo Williams anchor the backcourt of a surprisingly strong Jazz team. Former Grizz players DeMarcus Carroll and Earl Watson contribute off the bench. The Jazz bench is led by former Clipper Randy Foye as well as Derrick Favors and hot young prospect Enes Kanter.

What to Watch For:
Memphis is going to try to feed their frontline early and often but they can’t expect to have as many easy looks as they have in the first two games. Utah’s frontline is formidable and it will take a big effort from their backcourt to get the win. That means Mike Conley needs to be effective scoring as well as setting up the offense. When Conley is hitting his outside shot it denies teams the ability to quickly double Gasol or Z-Bo and leaves lanes for Rudy to operate. Don’t be surprised to see Allen pressuring Hayward as well in an attempt to make him uncomfortable shooting the ball.

Utah relies on Mo Williams hitting from outside and Al Jefferson pounding down low with Millsap around to clean up the misses. Hayward is smooth shooter but better suited to play SF than SG but with Bell out and Williams signed he had to adapt. He still has a good outside shot but he has struggled with some of the play-making responsibility. The Jazz bench doesn’t appear to be as deep as the Grizzlies, especially with Raja Bell on the sidelines, but don’t be fooled by the lack of big names. Enes Kanter has  great potential as a big and Derrick Favors is promising as well. Randy Foye is averaging 13 ppg off the bench and hitting an impressive 42.9% from the arc. Bayless and Ellington need to play tough defense to keep him from going off from the perimeter.

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3 Responses to Memphis vs Utah – 11/5/2012

  1. Slap Dog HoopsNo Gravatar says:

    Hey Memphis fans, be sure to keep an eye on Utah’s Gordon Hayward. Give him a funky mustache, inject some swagger and sprinkle a bit of a mean streak and this kid will be Larry Bird 2.0. Similar to Bird he is deceptively quick and athletic along with having a sweet shooting stroke and excellent passing skills. I sense that he will be having a breakout season.

  2. JoelNo Gravatar says:

    Larry Bird 2.0? Lol, the kid is good, and i have a soft spot for players who can actually shoot the ball with good accuracy. But he is no Larry Bird, nor will he ever be, he has great upside, but no chance at being a superstar.

    The game tonight will be fun, and I hope the Grizz are ready, The Jazz have been one of those teams that we ALWAYS have trouble with, even when they are not that great. Now that they have a solid team, I am a bit worried, I seriously hope our bench steps up, thats going to be the key to the game tonight

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