Don't Get Burned: Memphis Grizzlies at Phoenix Suns Game Preview

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

After a positively brutal loss to the Bulls, the Grizzlies need to find a way to grind out a win in Phoenix against the scorching hot Suns.

2013/2014 NBA Season
@
13-17 (6-6 road)
Lost 1
19-11 (11-4 road)
Won 2
January 2nd, 2013
US Airways Center in Phoenix, AZ
8:00 PM CDT
Fox SportsSouth/ 92.9 FM ESPN
Possible Starters
Mike Conley PG Eric Bledsoe
Tony Allen SG Goran Dragic
Tayshaun Prince SF P.J. Tucker
Zach Randolph PF Channing Frye
Kosta Koufos C Miles Plumlee
2013/14 Advanced Stats
92.1 (30th) Pace 98.1 (7th)
101.4 (20th) OEff 105.5 (9th)
105.5 (25th) DEff 101.8 (11th)

Line: Phoenix -5.5: O/U: 197

Opponent's Blog: Bright Side Of The Sun

Injury Report: Memphis: Marc Gasol - Out (Knee); Quincy Pondexter - Out (Foot); Phoenix: Emeka Okafor - Out (Neck)

Memphis Grizzlies Tickets

Style Battle

The Grizzlies are painfully slow. This isn't news, but this fact affects the Grizzlies every time they play a team with a dynamic, up-tempo offense. The Phoenix Suns fit that bill. Last time these teams met, the Suns took more shots in transition (19) than they did from any other type of play. Memphis was lucky that Phoenix only hit 7 of those shots, or that game could have turned out much differently. The Suns are one of the best transition teams in the NBA (5th according to Synergy), and that should be concerning for the Grizzlies. Although Memphis won the last meeting handily, it's unlikely the Suns will perform that poorly in transition again. Also, the trio of Jon Leuer, Ed Davis, and Kosta Koufos are not likely to combine for 58 points and 33 rebounds like they did against the Suns back in December. The Grizzlies will need to slow the game down to their pace as much as possible, as a game with more possessions favors the Suns.

Goran Dragic Bobblehead Night

The following statement is made with no basis whatsoever: It's Goran Dragic bobblehead night at US Airways Arena, so he will probably have a stellar game. Another statement not without basis; the Grizzlies have struggled with Dragic's slipperiness and craftiness in the past. In the teams' last meeting, Dragic scored 16 points. That's not an outstanding stat in and of itself, but he shot 53.8% from the field while making it look incredibly easy. Not to take away from Dragic's individual effort the last time these teams met, but the Grizzlies were keyed in on Eric Bledsoe, leaving Dragic to be defended by lesser defenders that he took advantage of. This tactic was reflected in the box score. Bledsoe was held to a pedestrian 9 points. This strategy is likely to be repeated, and it should be. However, the Grizzlies need to be careful and respect Dragic, because he can hurt them in a big way.


Ed Davis: Suns Killer?

Against the Suns earlier this season, Davis went off for 21 points and 12 rebounds. That performance is still easily his best of the season. He abused Channing Frye all night, so let's hope the Suns don't adjust and those two are matched up again. This game will be slightly different than the last meeting though because Zach Randolph was out with an injury. With a healthy Randolph in the lineup, Davis won't have as much of an opportunity to explode against the Suns. If he makes the best of his opportunity off the bench though and plays like he did last time, Coach Joerger will likely leave him in the game. The Suns are bad at defending the pick and roll, so hopefully Joerger relies heavily on Davis to pair with Conley and wear out the Suns with it.

Quick Tidbits
  • 7-28: Grizzlies all time record in Phoenix. The Suns don't have a better win percentage at home against any other team in the NBA.
  • 29: Number of threes the Suns took when they played the Grizzlies earlier this season
  • 69.2%: Percentage that a lineup of Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis, and Kosta Koufos shot in the teams' last meeting.
  • 110-91: Final score of the first meeting this season between these teams, which the Grizzlies won.
Final Prediction

The Grizzlies looked really bad against the Bulls in their last game. It's still hard to get a beat on what this team will do on a nightly basis without the steadying presence of Marc Gasol. However, It bodes well for the Grizzlies that they won their first and only meeting against the Suns this season handily. Hopefully that will give them a lot of confidence heading into this game. Also, the Grizzlies matchup exceptionally well with the Suns. The Suns have a terrific offensive backcourt with Dragic and Bledsoe, but the pairing of Mike Conley and Tony Allen can limit their effectiveness. In the front court, Miles Plumlee is the only Sun that can consistently defend his position well. With Randolph, Davis, Leuer, and even Koufos, the Grizzlies have the edge. Plumlee can't guard all of them at the same time. If the Grizzlies take advantage of mismatches, slow down the pace to fit their game, and limit the Suns production in transition, then they should come away victorious.

Final Score: Memphis 94, Phoenix 88

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