Tonight, the Grizzlies are in Atlanta taking on Josh Smith and the Atlanta Hawks. After a night filled with lowlights, maybe a trip into the Highlight Factory is just what the Grizzlies need. If they are to win tonight, they can't allow the Atlanta bigs to dominate the way Phoenix did.
The Grizzlies lost to the Hawks at home 93-83 earlier this year, thanks in large part to a pretty abysmal 3rd quarter. Atlanta comes in 5-5 in their last 10 games, the Grizzlies are 6-4.
Things to watch Tonight:
1. The Big's Show - Last night, Marc Gasol played pretty poorly, and Al Horford had a quietly decent night for Atlanta. Both of these big guys are extremely talented, and both of their performances will go a long way towards helping their teams win. If Marc Gasol has another Pau-ty perfomance, it's going be extremely difficult to win this game.
2. Zach Randolph vs. The World - The big fella isn't happy at all. He was going through a slump, he's not getting touches, and I'm not sure he is 100% healthy. This I know for sure though, he will get fed tonight. Usually the phrase is "early and often" but tonight, I'm looking for "often and late." He'll be primarily guarded by Josh Smith, and in the last few games where strong, muscular 3/4 hybrid guys have guarded him (Metta World P(sycho)eace, Thad Young) he has struggled mightily. He'll need to make sure he gets excellent post position and cleans up the glass. Oh, and he'll need the ball. A lot.
3. Are we all on the same page? Turnovers, espeically 4th quarter turnovers, did the Grizzlies in last night. (7 TO in the 4th quarter, 5 made baskets). Part of that is the team hasn't gelled yet. Obviously, with the new guys it's going to take a little time. But more than just gelling together, I'm not sure they are all mentally on the same page. Hearing Quincy talk last night, he said that they still view themselves as a championship caliber team. Watching the guys play however, I'm not sure which ones, if any, actually do believe that. Lionel's body language
and his play of Austin Daye definitely isn't instilling that in this team. Hopefully tonight the guys can come out energized and back to the grit and grind, us against the world mentality that put the Grizzlies on the map in the first place.
Tonight won't be smooth sailing, but if the Grizzlies play smart basketball, and play to their strengths, this is a winnable ball game. Just gonna need to cut down on turnovers and play within themselves. Oh, and Zach Randolph is going to need the ball. A lot.