Tonight, the Grizzlies return home to take on the New Orleans Hornets in the final home game before a long and difficult West Coast road trip. The Grizzlies come in having won 11 of their last 12 games, and currently just a game out of 3rd place in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Hornets are a paltry 21-41 on the season, and 3-7 in their last 10 games. Folks, this is the exact definition of a trap game.
There really is no time for a letdown tonight, as Memphis will need to win as many of their remaining games as possible if they want to move up in the standings and avoid a first round matchup with Denver. Games like these, at home against inferior opponents, are games they have to win, need win, and should win. They will again likely be without both Darrell Arthur and Zach Randolph, but that doesn’t and shouldn’t matter.
Keys to the Game
Don’t get Ryan Anderson’d: In the last meeting, Anderson dropped 22 points on the Grizzlies, going 7 of 13 from beyond the arc. (If you are having trouble with the math, 7 x 3 = 21. He did not register a two point field goal!) He’s going to be in the game to do one thing and one thing only: piss me off drain threes. Knowing where he is and running him off the 3-point line will likely be up to Jon Leuer and Austin Daye (Did we just lose already?)
Outside Shooting: The Hornets are going to make their share of 3’s, shooting 37% as a team, good for 7th in the league. We’ll need guys like Jerryd, Quincy, Mike, and Austin Daye to knock down the looks when they get them. We don’t need to try and outshoot them or make as many as they do, but when we take those shots, we need to be knocking them down.
Flex That Muscle: Let’s be honest, as pesky and frustrating as the Hornets are, they are not in the same league as the Grizzlies. The same division? Yes. The same conference? Also, yes. The same League? Technically, yes, but the Grizzlies are far and away a better team than New Orleans, and tonight, they need to make that known, in addition to trying to avenge a home loss to them earlier in the season. Marc Gasol needs to outmuscle the smaller Hornet bigs, and Ed Davis needs to not dribble in the paint, and finish strong at the rim.
It’s not going to be a pretty win, and I’d imagine it won’t even be an easy win, especially coming off of a back-to-back, but this should indeed be a win. Again, the Grizzlies are just a better team than the Hornets, and luckily for Memphis, Jason Smith is supposed to be out tonight (Is that the first time any team has ever said that?). Get ready to do your prophesying later on this afternoon. Until then, discuss the game here, and Go Grizz!
Tickets: Memphis Grizzlies tickets