Days after their most embarassing loss of the season, the Grizzlies have a chance to redeem themselves tonight as they facing the New Orleans Hornets, this time at home. Considering that the Hornets are the worst team in the Western Conference, things should go more according to plan this time. Furthermore, the middle seedings in the Western Conference are almost set. Memphis probably won't surpass Los Angeles, but they probably won't be surpassed for the fifth seed either. This is a bit disappointing for Grizzlies' fans who had legitimate aspirations of the third seed, but it also takes some of the pressure off the team's shoulders heading into the postseason. Though Memphis seems to play best under pressure, it might do the team some good to play relatively carefree against some of the league's weakest teams.
New Orleans Hornets (19-42) at Memphis Grizzlies (36-25)
8:00 P.M. ET at the Fed-Ex Forum
After doing something different last time, we're going back to the keys to the game:
1. Rest for the Weary?: The Grizzlies should have no trouble dispatching the Hornets tonight, especially because the players win surely want to avenge Sunday's loss. The best case-scenario for tonight would be for Memphis to build a large lead early and give their starters plenty of rest.
2. Tankfest: Monday night, Eric Gordon did not dress due to "rest." It's no secret that New Orleans has little to play for, and are surely looking to improving their chances of landing a high draft pick for the star-studded 2012 draft class. Chris Kaman has already been shut down for the remainder of the season, and it's entirely possible that Gordon will be as well. It's entirely possible that Memphis sees a very diminished New Orleans squard tonight.
3. Hamed Haddadi: Last night, Hamed played fairly well (8 points, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks) in limited minutes. He's a limited player, but he probably deserves more playing time than he actually sees. With Marc Gasol suffering a bone bruise in his knee against the Hornets, many thought he might sit out last night's game. Instead, he played 33 minutes. Gasol is the glue for this team, and needs to be as close to 100% as possible heading into the postseason. Therefore, it would be beneficial if Haddadi could play well again tonight and allow Coach Hollins to keep Gasol's playing time down to, ideally, no more than 25 minutes. Although Hamed is incredibly foul-prone, the Grizzlies would probably be best-served by simply allowing him to foul out.
As always, be sure to check out our friends at At The Hive for coverage of the Hornets.