Washington Wizards at Memphis Grizzlies - Game 46 Preview

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Eastern Conference Wizards coming to Memphis for the 46th game of the season

Overview

Records: Washington Wizards (11-33) at Memphis Grizzlies (29-16)

7:00 PM CST

FedExForum, Memphis, TN

Line: Memphis by -6.5; O/U: 181.0

Opponents Blog: Bullets Forever

Injury Report: WAS: Beal DTD; MEM: Conley DTD, Pondexter Out, Wroten DTD

Memphis Grizzlies Tickets

Six Questions with Friend and Passionate Wizards Fan, Chris Cornett

Being from Virginia, I happen to know numerous Washington Wizards fans. To help expose Grizz fans to the Washington Wizards and get an idea of tonight's opponent, I called my good friend Christopher Cornett and asked him a few questions.

We streamed the conversation live this afternoon. Here's a recording in case you missed it:

Chris had some good insight on what John Wall's return has done for the league and what Bradley Beal's potential absence could mean for the Wizards going forward. He also touched on the Wizards' playoff chances and gave me an idea on what kind of down-low presence Washington could put forward against the Memphis bigs.

Thanks for doing that, Chris. Follow him on twitter here.

Dealt a Short Hand

The Grizzlies' first game without Rudy Gay, last night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, was pretty dismal for both teams. Russell Westbrook was ejected in the third quarter when he began a tirade against his own teammate. I felt like it gave us some hope, but we ended up losing a nasty game 106-89. Oh - and the game was nationally televised on TNT.

Jerryd Bayless, who started in place of Rudy Gay, led Memphis' scoring with 23 points. Zach Randolph missed all 10 of his first shots and wound up with 9 points and 19 rebounds.

None of this helped, but what made it worse was the fact we were short changed while waiting for new acquisitions Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye, and Ed Davis to arrive and pass physicals. Not to mention we were already short on bench players when we dealt away Speights, Ellington, and Selby for Jon Leuer a week earlier. Quincy Pondexter was out with a sprained ligament in his left knee.

With only nine healthy playable guys for the Grizzlies, we all expected a lot of minutes from reserves Bayless and Leuer. When it comes to Leuer, though, he only got the final 5 minutes. By that time the score was already out-of-hand.

Who knows what Coach Hollins was thinking. Some are interpreting Leuer's lack of minutes as a way to send a strong message to ownership he's unhappy with the team's 8-day overhaul. Hollins' comments today in response to the trade do nothing but support the claims.

Turning our eyes to Washington

But alas - the show must go on. The tweets have been firing on all cylinders and things are confirmed: all players involved in the Memphis-Detroit-Toronto deal passed physicals and will play for their respective teams tonight.

This information puts a new spin on tonight's game, for tonight will be a chance to see the new 2013 Memphis Grizzlies play simultaneous basketball. My guess is Prince will be in the starting-five as a small forward and Ed Davis will be played backup power forward behind Zach Randolph. That puts Prince on Martell Webster and Ed Davis potentially on a combination of Nene or Cartier Martin - maybe a bit of Emeka Okafor. Defensive depth charts are always a bit more confusing to matchup when Tony Allen is considered.

Prince and Davis on the court is a very, very good thing and will help us understand the vision behind the trade a little bit more. Keep on eye on Prince's defense and Davis' rebounding ability. They have the potential to transform the game.

Quick Tidbits

  • Grizzlies have won five of their past eight games since losing three-in-a-row by 20-or-more points. We've also won 28 of the last 35 home games with a franchise-high 15-game home winning stream from March 2011 to Nov 2012.
  • Grizzlies are undefeated this season (14-0) when scoring 100 points. On the other hand, we've only one once when the opposing team scores 100.
  • We lead the NBA in points allowed per game (89.8). Lead in steals (9.1), forced turnovers (16.0), and points off turnovers (18.7).
  • John Wall for the Wizards tonight is averaging 14.1 points, 6.5 assists, and 2.5 rebounds per game in his first 11 games of the season. He also scored 24 points (season-high) at LAC on January 19th. Wizards are 6-5 since Wall's return.
  • Nene is averaging 12.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 25.3 minutes per game in 31 games since returning to action.

Final Prediction

I don't really know what to expect from tonight. This just came in, which definitely changes some things:

Beal's been huge for the young Wizards this season, especially in January. In the Wizards 15 January games, he's averaging 15.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game while shooting a little over 50% from three.

I'm expecting Zach Randolph to return tonight with a vengence and am really hoping Prince's debut is a strong one. Keep on eye on how he's incorporated into the game, if at all.

Final Score: Washington 88, Memphis 95

Check out Bullets Forever's coverage of tonight's game HERE.

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