MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES vs. ORLANDO MAGIC
Where and When- Amway Center: Orlando, Florida 6 PM CST
How You Can Watch/Listen- NO TV/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
Orlando Magic Blog: Orlando Pinstriped Post
Memphis- Tayshaun Prince (stomach virus, day-to-day)
The Beale Street Bears are on a road trip the next few games, starting their 3-game road trip tonight in the land of amusement parks against the Magic. The Grizzlies won a competitive game against the Milwaukee Bucks this past Tuesday and are looking to build upon their preseason win streak. The Magic have some pieces, and though they are in the process of rebuilding they can be competitive. Vucevic is a League Pass/NBA Die Hard favorite, a rebounding machine who can also score in the low post. Arron Afflalo, although he has been the subject of trade rumors for a while now, is still an above average shooting guard. And Victor Oladipo, the Magic's first round pick this past draft, figures to see plenty of minutes as the season unfolds.
If Tay-gate Continues
The mystery of the stomach ailment. The possibility that Tayshaun Prince's illness costing him minutes and even in his job was outlined on espn.com and on this site earlier in the week. Quincy Pondexter has been playing quite well (more on that in a moment) and with his continued growth and the log jam of wings beginning to appear like more of a possible problem, Tayshaun looks more and more likely to be lost in the shuffle. Blues City Joe does a great job detailing that minutes issue here. If Tay plays tonight, what role he takes on (starter, role player, etc.) and how many minutes he gets will be monitored closely. If he does not, the rumor mill will only continue to spin in regards to Tayshaun's immediate and long-term future with the Grizzlies.
For more on Tayshaun's possible future in Memphis, click here.
Q-Pon Development Double Check
Q looked good against the Bucks. Darn good. He dribble drove and finished at the rim very well, was a focus of the offense and most importantly displayed that he had been working on his game and is interested in a larger role in Memphis. But Pondexter needs to show that these early season performances are no fluke, that this is consistent and permanent development in his skill set. Quincy is showing the capacity to do big things, but in order to be counted on as a possible Tayshaun replacement he must continue to grow as a player. That continues tonight.
Ed Davis' "Potential" Disappointment
Ed continues to be...inconsistent at best. His post game continues to be a work in progress; he needs to keep focusing on going straight up with his shot and not letting his momentum carry him away from the basket as he turns to shoot. His length and athleticism will best be utilized when this is done, in addition to getting to the free throw line more. But that, for Ed, is not necessarily a good thing; his free throw shooting has been pretty terrible this preseason. In order for the "Boss" to be counted on for prolonged stretches, he must show the capability to make those shots from the line and be a better finisher around the rim. That is supposed to be a strength of his game; right now, it isn't,
Lineup Experimentation Continuing
In the Milwaukee game, Coach Joerger experimented a good bit with personnel combinations. One that jumped out at me and others on Twitter was the three guard lineup of Mike Conley, Jerryd Bayless, Nick Calathes, Jon Leuer and Marc Gasol. While this leads to mismatches on dribble drives and on the perimeter for the Grizzlies, which is an offensive plus, it can also be a defensive nightmare. Perhaps Joerger believes in Gasol's ability as a paint protector so much that the fear of Jerryd Bayless guarding even a shorter small forward type does not concern him too much. But the preseason is the perfect time to mix it up and see who fits in well together and who doesn't. Expect to see a bit more of that tonight. However, as the preseason
thankfully draws to a close, more and more Joerger will want sets with guys he knows will be together for San Antonio less than 2 weeks from now.
Who Gets a Breather Next?
Speaking of the approaching season, Joerger rested Zach Randolph last game in an effort to space out October minutes. Assuming (a dangerous approach in the preseason) that Zach is back tonight, who could perhaps get a night off in Orlando? My guess would be Mike Conley; Mike has played in every game so far this preseason, the only member of the "core four" to do so. Given the fact he will be depended on more than anyone on the Grizzlies not from Spain it may be a good idea to let him rest at some point on this road trip. Add on the fact that Jerryd Bayless and Nick Calathes are in a bit of a competition for minutes at that position, and you have the makings of a night off for Mike. Perhaps tonight's the night.
More than halfway through the preseason. With cooler weather comes basketball games where the record counts. Grind forth, Grizzlies fans.