Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs Orlando Magic
When: 7:00 PM CST
Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
Records: Memphis (3-3), Orlando (2-4)
Media: No TV, AM 680, FM 92.9
Forums: 3 Shades of Blue, Grizzlies Message Board
Memphis lost their 3rd game of the preseason when Indiana made a late charge to slip by the Grizzlies. Rudy Gay continues to struggle from the field in the pre-season hitting only 34.5% of his FG attempts and 20% from the arc. Rudy hasn’t shot 50% from the floor since the opening preseason game against Real Madrid. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol came off the bench to lead the team with 15 and 13 points respectively while Mike Conley continued his hot shooting. The game was the Grizzlies 3rd in 4 nights, all on the road, and fatigue definitely looked to play a factor in the game. Rookie Tony Wroten missed his 2nd game after twisting his ankle but is expected back for this game.
Orlando has struggled both on and off the court since the Magic traded All-Star Center Dwight Howard to the Lakers. The Magic have gone from perennial Eastern Conference competitors to rebuilding team in one off season, a situation many Grizzlies fans can probably remember without fond memories. However in their last two games the Magic showed some life defeating San Antonio and Indiana. Replacing Howard inside is Nicola Vucevic, a 7 ft big man from Montenegro. Jameer Nelson returns to man the point and Glen Davis has taken over the starting PF position. The Magic have yet to see newly acquired G/F Aaron Aflallo who should help tremendously once he recovers from his hamstring injury.
What To Watch For:
For the Grizzlies the answer is simple: watch to see if Rudy can find his shot. The team has high hopes of competing for a division title and renewed post-season success, but that isn’t likely to happen without a healthy and on target Gay posting up over shorter players and extending the defense with his long range shots. Also keep an eye on the backup SG battle between Wayne Ellison and Josh Selby. Tony Allen’s injury has afforded both players more minute which has made their battle more front and center. Ellington has been the starter since Allen was hurt and was shooting well until the Pacer game. Selby got a late start to camp after twisting his ankle working out before the season and hasn’t shown the shooting touch he had in Vegas yet.
Orlando is hoping their walking wounded can play. Joining Aflallo on the injured list has been Al Harrington, Hedo Turkoglu and Quentin Richardson. Once healthy the team hopes to continue their string of 6 straight playoff appearances, longest in the Eastern Conference. The Magic will be undersized and inexperienced. Former Celtic Glen Davis will try and bang with Zach Randolph while Vucevic tries to keep Gasol out of the paint. Rookie SF DeQuan Jones has averaged 10 ppg in the pre-season and is a promising young talent. Sharpshooter J J Recick rounds out the backcourt starters.