When: Sunday, November 17th, 5:00 PM CST
Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA
We still have no idea what this Grizzlies team is, but at least they beat the Lakers – and we got a great Z-Bo game out of it, too Hooray! Meanwhile, the Kings lost to the Pistons on Friday, sending them to 2-6. These guys haven’t been getting a lot of hype in the tanking wars, but they can’t be overlooked. Their starting small forward is John Salmons! Imagine if you replaced him with Andrew Wiggins. Not Andrew Wiggins ext year, but Andrew Wiggins right now. Even that would probably get this team an extra 20 wins. The Kings new ownership wants to turn things around, but they’re probably realistic to know it won’t happen this year, and they need at least one more quality player. Look for them to make like Fountains Of Wayne and sink to the bottom.
Expected Starting Lineups:
Mike Conley vs Greivis Vasquez
While the Grizzlies have struggled to find a suitable backup point guard over the years, Greivis Vasquez has done quite well for himself since leaving Memphis. He established as one of the premiere passers in the league last year, finishing third in assists. Vasquez has a deceptive offensive game – he’s a pass first guy, but he can certainly heat up when he wants to. He’s a bit like Jose Calderon in this regard. Meanwhile, Conley has been holding down the fort quite well for the Grizzlies, often being the one thing they can rely on during a period of turmoil. These players likely know quite a bit about each other’s game, and it should be quite fascinating to watch them attempt to outsmart each other.
Tony Allen vs Marcus Thornton
For years, Thornton as been one of those players who puts up impressive stats, but makes little impact. Everyone thinks he could become a star, but it never quite pans out. This season, he’s made things easier by losing the impressive stats. Thornton has shot just .366, and is averaging 10.1 per game. Add his weak defense to that equation, and there’s just not much to get excited about here. TA can force Kobe and Harden into bad games, so the odds of him struggling against this guy are slim to nil. If Ben McLemore starts, it’ll be a bit more interesting, as McLemore has the potential to be something great, even if he has a long way to go. Hey, if you’re bored, look up McLemore’s missed dunk against the Pistons – it’s hilarious.
Tayshaun Prince vs John Salmons
Hey, everybody, it’s the battle to see which 12-year veteran is more washed up! While Prince’s usefulness has come into question at times this season, he still gives a lot more to his team than Salmons, are player who is starting for no discernible reason whatsoever beyond seniority. He’s averaging 4.9 points a game on .300 from the field. He’s a liability at this point, and it’s only a matter of time before the Kings stop giving him so many minutes. prince might have his share of problems, but his defense is strong enough that he should be able to render Salmons a non-factor in this game.
Zach Randolph vs Patrick Patterson
At a time when the Grizzlies have been going through some turmoil, nothing eases the mind quite like a good Z-Bo game. He was dominant in leading the Grizzlies over the Lakers on Friday, reminding us that even as he’s gotten older, Z-Bo is still not to be messed with. Patterson seems to come from the Brandon Bass Academy of Quietly Effective Power forwards. He doesn’t scare, and he’ll never be an All-Star, but on a given night, he can put up a decent stat line without anyone really noticing. he cant be taken lightly, but this should be a good matchup for Z-Bo tonight.
Marc Gasol vs Demarcus Cousins
While the kings have struggled out of the gate, Cousins is off to an excellent start, and it looks like he may finally be living up to his potential. His offensive game looks more polished than it ever has before, and we’ve seen him pull off plenty of devastating moves in the post. This will be one of his biggest challenges yet, as he brings his multi-dimensional offensive game against arguably the best defensive center in the NBA. Marc has basically been the same guy he always is, looking good on D, while making plays when he needs to on offense. His rebounding is a bit down at 6.9 per game, but that seems like something that will sort itself out as the year goes along. Look for this to be the most intense matchup of the night. Cousins being able to thrive against Marc’s defensive attack is the one thing that could lead the Kings to an upset victory.
If you haven’t been paying attention to Isaiah Thomas, you need to start immediately. When the Kings added Vasquez, it seemed like Thomas was destined to become afterthought. Instead, he’s emerged as one of the best sixth men in the game, averaging 18 points and five rebounds a night so far. Thomas single-handedly gives the Kings an intriguing second unit. Meanwhile, Chuck Hayes still plays trong D and shoots hilarious free throws. The Grizzlies have gotten a little bit more of Nick Calathes lately, which is exciting, but Ed Davis is a problem. It’s funny; last year, the problem was that Hollins didn’t want to play him, now fans seem to be cheering for his absence. Joerger’s DNP-CD for Davis against the Lakers seemed to get a thumbs up from Grizzlies who have grown tired of Davis getting a lot of minutes only to do nothing noteworthy on the court. Hopefully, he gets it together sooner than later, because he certainly has the talent.