Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs Atlanta Hawks
When: Sunday, October 14, 2012 – 5:00 pm CST
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Records: Memphis (1-1), Atlanta (1-0)
Memphis kicked off their less stressful pre-season campaign in Chicago Tuesday night after a rather serious effort from the home team against Real Madrid last Saturday. Not a single starter played more than 20 minutes and the only one who did was Jerryd Bayless since Mike Conley was given the night off. The 4 point loss was encouraging in some respects and disturbing in others. Going 2-10 from the arc was bad. Grabbing 51 rebounds was good. Turning the ball over 22 times was bad. Holding Chicago to 35.7% from the field for the game was good. With no starters playing significant minutes it didn’t say a lot about what to expect from the team moving forward but did give some bench players a chance to show off including Jerome Jordan who surprised with a strong outing getting 13 points and 5 boards in only 13 minutes.
Atlanta shook up their starting lineup for the first time in years this summer when the Hawks traded Joe Johnson to the Nets. That enabled the Hawks to bring in Devin Harris (for former #2 pick in the draft Marvin Williams) to man the point and sign Louis Williams, last season’s bench scoring sensation, to make up for the lost scoring. The Hawks also brought in 3 pt shooting specialist Kyle Korver and DeShawn Stevenson, among others. So Atlanta is going to be working on team chemistry to get ready for the games that count. Atlanta started the pre-season off right with a win against the World Champion Miami Heat and a tight loss at San Antonio. The Hawks are looking to build on those two strong performances in Memphis.
What to Watch For:
Memphis is looking for someone, anyone, to fill the role of backup PG. After the Chicago game Coach Lionel Hollins stated that no one is going to play until they show they know the schemes and can execute. Against Chicago in the 3rd quarter it became apparent that neither Jerryd Bayless nor Tony Wroten was competent at a level Hollins can feel safe about. Jerryd Bayless and Tony Wroten both had moments in the open practice Saturday for the fans but neither has been able to show a firm enough grasp of the offense and defense yet to escape Hollins scornful expression. Memphis doesn’t likely have any intention of keeping a player on a non-guaranteed contract so the veterans like Flip Murray, Jerome Jordan and Ronald DuPree are likely looking to impress other team with their play in Memphis.
Atlanta is trying to decide who among a list of three players with non-guaranteed contracts. James Anderson, Damion James and Anthony Tolliver are fighting for at most two roster spots. Anderson started against his former team San Antonio but didn’t really distinguish himself. James led the team in rebounding against the Spurs and Tolliver has real NBA game experience when at Minnesota. It should be interesting to see how those three perform in this game. Josh Smith announced he would be declaring himself a free agent this summer so look to see how much he is allowed to audition as well. Memphis signed Smith to his present contract as a restricted free agent which Atlanta matched 3 years ago.