Tonight's game against the 76ers is the last game before the NBA all star break, and with no one on the Grizzlies playing in the game or any other events, it will be the last time we see them for about a week. With that said, there are some pretty important things to keep an eye out for tonight. Lets take a gander at them.
1. The Return and End of the O.J. Mayo era- OJ Returns tonight after serving his 10 game suspension for violating the league's drug policy. In the ten games he missed, Memphis went 8-2, played more efficient offense, scoring at a mark of 105.8 per 100 possesions, and played stingier defense, giving up 100.4 every 100 possesions. For a guy who has fallen out of favor with the front office and stands to make 5.6 million next year for a cash strapped team, thats not what you wanted to see. He was a popular trade topic already, and its a good possibility that this is his final game in a Memphis uniform. With a few days off, I definitely wouldn't be surprised to see the Grizzlies make a move over the break. Do I like it, not really, I'm in OJ's corner. Do I think its in the best interest of both parties? Unfortunately yes. It was a nice run, and he'll be really missed, but if we can trade him to someone and get good value in return, something like better outside shooting, I think we have to do it. The only thing that scares me is potential backlash from the fans, because he is still well loved around here. *sighs* This is why I don't buy energy drinks...
2. The Distance- As of right now, we currently sit with in 1 1/2 games of the 6th seed in the western conference. A win tonight, coupled with a Utah loss puts us .5 back of them for the 8th spot and 1 full game back of Denver for 7th. These are two teams on the brink of turmoil who could take a few steps back in the second half. Utah just lost their Hall of Fame coach, and Denver is surrounded by trade rumors for Carmelo and now NeNe. If we can win tonight and keep the gap at what it is while clilmbing to a season best five games over .500, it would be huge. Huge because we have a really tough 17 game stretch coming up and we'll need all the wins we can get. Huge because it puts us 11 wins away from guaranteeing a winning season. Huge because there are about 7 teams duking it out for 4 playoff spots, and it would be really nice to get one of them.
3. The Roar of the Bear- Thanks for enduring that cheesey title. The Grizzlies are a more than respectable 18-8 at home, and the crowd seems to be getting more hostile and thunderous with every game. It'll be interesting to see how many make it out for tonight's game. Its a Tuesday, which generally isn't the most popular day in Grizz Country, but its the last game before the break, and the team is playing really good basketball as of late. The theme the marketing team wants to run with is all about making The Fed (you heard it hear first. I'm a huge Braves fan and we refer to Turner Field as The Ted. Lets start this trend) a place where visiting teams hate coming because the crowd is so crazy. Lets hope tonight is no different.
It going to be an exciting night tonight, thats for sure. Here's to hoping the Grizzlies win, and if you need be, I'll be in section 110.