When: Saturday, November 30th, 7:30 PM CST
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
The above video complements of the Brooklyn Game really says it all, regarding the state of tonight’s opponent, doesn’t it?
If not, how about this one?
Alright fine, I’ll break it down anyway — As rough as the Grizzlies have looked at times, the Nets are a battered team right now enduring a way more difficult adjustment period to their rookie head coach. There are grumblings all over New York that featured summer additions Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett didn’t really want to do the whole Brooklyn thing, and frankly the pride that we’ve seen and heard them boast loudly on their Boston teams has been conspicuously absent since their move to the Barclays Center. To make matters worse, the rest of their roster is beaten up. After an unfathomably mediocre start to the year, Deron Williams was put on the shelf with a sprain to the adjacent ankle to the one that kept him sidelined for the preseason. To pile it on, the only bright spot for them this year, Brook Lopez, missed half of November with some ankle troubles of his own. Oh yeah, the Grizzlies are playing tonight, too. They gave us a tiny scare against Boston, allowing a major halftime lead to dry up, but ultimately held on for the W, and should be able to tread water while they bide time for #theReturn of Marc Gasol.
But seriously, those videos say it all.
Expected Starting Lineups:
Mike Conley vs Shaun Livingston
Mike Conley bounced back from a rough shooting night against Patrick Beverley and the Rockets with a solid 43% from the field against the equally pesky Avery Bradley with 9 assists to boot. Tonight’s match is Shaun Livingston, who will be a tough one of a different breed. He doesn’t have the same hyper-aggressive tendencies as the previous two assignments, but at 6’7 to Conley’s 6’1, he’s got the size to cause some trouble.
Tony Allen vs Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson, along with the rest of this Nets team, started off the year on quite the slow foot, but has responded quite well of late. Through his last five, he’s averaging almost four threes a game, bolstered by his whopping 34 point/8-10 from downtown performance versus Detroit. While size does not usually hold TA back in a matchup, Johnson is another 6’7 draw, and at that one that weights 240 pounds. Allen kept him in check the lone time they met last year with 11 points on 10 shots.
Tayshaun Prince vs Paul Pierce
The numbers may not always illustrate it, and I may be speaking from my heart more than my noggin, but I firmly believe that Tayshaun Prince is way more important to this team than people give him credit for. He rarely makes poor decisions on either end of the floor, he’s one of the more reliable wing options running the fast break, and our offense nets a +7.8 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor vs. off it, while the team’s net defense rating with him is a -3.4. He faces a crafty Paul Pierce tonight, who is currently shooting a Rudy Gay-esque 37.6% on the year, but is prone to go off at any moment.
Zach Randolph vs Kevin Garnett
It was either last season or the year before — my memory escapes me as to which — when Kevin Garnett offered that fantastic soundbite post-battle in the paint with Zach Randolph, suggesting that it was like “wrestling a grizzly bear,” playing against him. After a monster road trip in Cali, Zbo has been a tad more pedestrian in the three games since. With Marc’s floor-spacing high elbow jumper off the court, his already less-than-optimal spacing is even more crowded than usual. I would expect him to really get up for this game though against a struggling KG.
Kosta Koufos vs Brook Lopez
Kosta Koufos has been doing all he can to help the team forget about the loss of Marc, but most importantly he has been playing within himself. He’s not going out there trying to replicate what Gasol was able to give the Grizzlies on a nightly basis; he’s just going out there and playing Kosta Koufos basketball. In his first two games as a starter, he’s put up a solid 13 boards a piece, and 2.5 blocks on average. His counterpart this evening, all-star Brook Lopez, returned to action against Houston yesterday, logging 16 points and 2 blocks, but only one rebound.
Heading into the last game, I charted a potential break out of the slump for Jerryd Bayless based upon the conjecture of “he’s been pretty good against them recently.” Well using that logic I can’t really make much of a determination, as he had a solid game against them last January with 11 points 7 rebounds and 8 assists, but dropped an 0-6 dud in February. In terms of bench production, the Grizzlies enjoyed a very solid showing out of JB, Nick Calathes (7 AST), Mike Miller (2 3PM), and even Ed Davis (11 PTS 7 REB 3 BLK) against Boston, while the newly extended Quincy Pondexter racked up another DNP. The Nets bench unit currently sits at 9th in the league in scoring at 35.4 points per game (to the Grizzlies’ 22nd rank at 10 points less), and contains a certain Alan Anderson who abused the Grizzlies from beyond the arc last year when he was with Toronto.