|2013/2014 NBA Season|
|November 30th, 2013|
|FedexForum in Memphis, TN|
|7:00 PM CDT|
|NBA TV/ 92.9 FM ESPN|
|Mike Conley||PG||Shaun Livingston|
|Tony Allen||SG||Joe Johnson|
|Tayshaun Prince||SF||Paul Pierce|
|Zach Randolph||PF||Kevin Garnett|
|Marc Gasol||C||Brook Lopez|
|2013/14 Advanced Stats|
|92.1 (30th)||Pace||95.1 (22nd)|
|100.3 (20th)||OEff||99.3 (22nd)|
|102.9 (19th)||DEff||107.2 (30th)|
Opponent's Blog: Nets Daily (Run by our very own Tom Lorenzo)
Injury Report: Memphis: Marc Gasol - Out (Knee); Brooklyn: Andray Blatche - Probable (Ankle); Andrei Kirilenko - Out (Back); Brook Lopez - Probable (Ankle); Jason Terry - Out (Knee); Deron Williams - Out (Ankle)
Emergence of Bench Players
Nick Calathes and Ed Davis have played really well in the Grizzlies last two games. Both guys have been tremendous in helping this team find offense since Gasol went out with his injury. In the last tow games, Calathes played 14 and 15 minutes, while Ed Davis played 24 and 16. The minutes are noteworthy because neither player is being overextended. Neither Davis or Calathes is ready for starters minutes, and Joerger is smart to not play them to the point of diminishing returns. Both of them have skill sets that could be very valuable to the Grizzlies, and they've put those skills on display recently. Calathes is proving that he belongs in this league and that he's capable of being a very good backup point guard. He's got incredible court vision, and if he is ever put in a lineup with a shooter or two as well as competent big men, he will be an assist machine.
As for Davis, his recent success can largely be attributed to him being put in situations where he can succeed. As a mobile big, Davis is best utilized in the pick and roll and in other situations where movement is involved (i.e. flashing and cutting). Much is made of Davis' skinny frame, but if he's not forced to bang down low, he can be useful on offense. The stats back this up. This season, Davis is 8/11 from the field as the pick and roll big man. As a cutter, he's 4/10.
Better yet, Calathes and Davis could be developing a mutualistic relationship on the second unit. Over the last two games, they've connected twice on solid pick and roll plays. Hopefully that will become more a regular thing going forward, as it would benefit both of them. Check out the two aforementioned connections in the video below.
Also, Jerryd Bayless finally showed that he still has some blood coursing through his veins against the Celtics. The Grizzlies need him to perform at that level more often, but it remains to be seen whether that performance will carry over or if he will go back into hibernation for another five to ten games. Hopefully it's the former. With Gasol out for an extended period of time, the Grizzlies will need big contributions from the bench on a nightly basis. In two Gasol-less games, the bench has already more than carried its weight.
Conley without Gasol: A Mixed Bag
In two games without Gasol, Conley has had two drastically different games. The first, against the Rockets, was not so good. Conley finished 2/14 from the field, but he was able to finish with 10 assists. Against the Celtics, he finished with 14 points on 6/14 shooting, and he finished with 9 assists. Conley performed well below his 18.5 points per game average in those two games, but he also well exceeded his average 5.8 assists per game. One has to think that the downtick in scoring and the uptick in assists is completely due to Gasol's absence. Without Gasol to facilitate from the elbow and the post, Conley is forced to play more of the set-up man role while being more deferent at the same time.
Conley's drop off in points since Gasol went out isn't a problem for now given his dramatic increase in assists. However, when Gasol comes back, the Grizzlies would hope that he moves closer to that 18.5 points per game average again. It's difficult to tell whether Conley's woeful shooting night in the first game post-Gasol injury can be attributed to the absence of Big Spain or if it was just an off night, but the Grizzlies can't win many games with Conley making just two shots. It might be asking Conley to do too much, but if he could score a little more while remaining his high assist numbers, the Grizzlies would be set up really well to weather this stretch without Gasol.
Jason Kidd's Antics
At this point, everyone has seen first-year head coach Jason Kidd's ridiculous and hilarious antics when the Nets ran out of timeouts against the Lakers earlier this week. After being fined a substantial $50,000 for his mockery of the game, it is probably a safe assumption that he won't try anything like that against the Grizzlies. However, given that he just did, it can't be ruled out. Because it would be incredibly fascinating to see the crowd reaction if he tried that on the road, let's hope he does it again. If by some chance you haven't seen the video of Kidd purposely bumping into Tyshawn Taylor to spill his drink on purpose, here it is courtesy of The Brooklyn Game.
- Ed Davis hit 5 of 6 free throws in the team's last game, which is surprising given his consistent free throw struggles. Going forward, it's worth watching to see whether it was an outlier or becoming the norm.
- The Grizzlies went 2-0 against the Nets last season, in what was their first in Brooklyn.
- The lineup of Mirza Teletovic, Tyshawn Taylor, Tornike Shengelia, Mason Plumlee, and Reggie Evans have played more minutes per game (14.5) than any Nets lineup because of injuries.
- Tony Allen, yes the Grindfather, leads the Grizzlies in eFG% at 57.1%.
The Nets are clawing to get back on track with a win, but I don't expect that to happen against an improving Grizzlies team. The Nets simply have too many big players injured, such as Deron Williams, Jason Terry, and Brook Lopez (just coming off of an injury). They haven't been able to develop any chemistry at all thus far this season, and that's hurt them a great deal. Conley will have a big game, finishing with a double-double, and the bench will once again play a strong game.
Final Score: Memphis 89, Brooklyn 82