|2013/2014 NBA Season|
|January 10th, 2014|
|FedexForum in Memphis, TN|
|7:00 PM CDT|
|Fox SportsSouth/ 92.9 FM ESPN|
|Mike Conley||PG||Goran Dragic|
|Mike Miller||SG||Gerald Green|
|Tayshaun Prince||SF||P.J. Tucker|
|Zach Randolph||PF||Channing Frye|
|Kosta Koufos||C||Miles Plumlee|
|2013/14 Advanced Stats|
|92.4 (30th)||Pace||98.0 (9th)|
|102.4 (16th)||OEff||105.2 (T-9th)|
|105.1 (T-24th)||DEff||101.9 (11th)|
Line: Memphis -3: O/U: 196.5
Opponent's Blog: Bright Side Of The Sun
Whew: No Eric Bledsoe
Eric Bledsoe has carried the Suns on numerous occasions this season, and he is well on his way to earning a hefty contract in the coming offseason, even a max deal possibly. He's been that good. With that said, the Grizzlies won't have to deal with the uber-talented guard this time. Doctors determined Thursday that Eric Bledsoe will need knee surgery to repair meniscus damage, and he will be out indefinitely. Although it's more fun and improves the NBA's product when squads are at full strength, life becomes much easier for the Grizzlies against the Suns without Bledsoe in the mix. He missed the last meeting with the Grizzlies as well, and it was hard enough for Memphis to scrap out a win without him being available.
Although the Grizzlies held Bledsoe in check the one time they faced him (9 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST), nobody would argue that the odds of a good guys win don't increase without him in the mix. Besides, Goran Dragic is enough of a backcourt nightmare for the Grizzlies to attempt to handle.
Limit Goran Dragic
Dragic is at his best when he's allowed to operate off-the-cuff, which is exactly what he's been allowed to do without Bledsoe in the fold. He's clever, crafty, and the Grizzlies don't handle him well. Just a week ago, Dragic dropped 33 points on this team. If Dragic's creativeness and productivity can be stifled, the Suns become much less of a threat. Without Tony Allen, Mike Conley will have to guard him most of the night. That's not a problem, but even Conley will get tired of chasing the never still Slovenian maestro around. Hopefully fans will be treated to new addition Courtney Lee trying his hand on him. Lee's length is an asset against guards like Dragic that can create their own shot with ease. Despite Dragic's crafty footwork, Lee is both quick and long enough to be able to recover and contest any shot.
Dominate the Post
The Suns are a terrible post defense team, and that was blatantly obvious in the first two meetings. In the first meeting, Ed Davis, Jon Leuer, and Kosta Koufos turned into a three-headed monster and devoured the Suns defense. Davis has been the Suns worst nightmare in the teams two meetings. He shot 73% from the field in both games, and he made it look incredibly easy. In the meeting last week, Phoenix couldn't handle Zach Randolph's size, and the Grizzlies wisely pounded the ball down to him in the post like a broken record. Head Coach David Joerger has grown so much as a coach since Gasol went down, and you can count on him being smart enough to implement a proven, winning game plan. The Grizzlies will live in the paint, and there really isn't much a weak Suns frontcourt can do about it.
The Suns are a really good team, but they simply don't matchup well with the Grizzlies. Without Eric Bledsoe available, Memphis holds a clear backcourt advantage. The matchup in the frontcourt isn't remotely close. Miles Plumlee is the only Suns big that's shown he can play a semblance of good defense against the Grizzlies, and the Grizzlies having a multitude of bigs capable of filling up the basket doesn't bode well for the Suns. The Grizzlies defense is currently bad enough to make this a close game. Also, Goran Dragic will likely get his because he usually does, but without much production elsewhere, this should be a win for Memphis.
Final Score: Memphis 98, Phoenix 93