|2014/15 NBA Season
4-0 (2-0 road)
3-1 (2-0 home)
|November 5, 2014
|US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ
|8:00 PM CDT|
|Fox SportSouth / 92.9 FM ESPN|
|Mike Conley||PG||Eric Bledsoe|
|Courtney Lee||SG||Goran Dragic|
|Zach Randolph||PF||Markieff Morris|
|Marc Gasol||C||Miles Plumlee|
|2014/15 Advanced Stats|
|94.6 (22nd)||Pace||99.2 (7th)|
|97.2 (23rd)||OEff||105.7 (11th)|
|89.5 (2nd)||DEff||103.1 (14th)|
Grizzlies vs Suns coverage
Opponent's Blog: Bright Side Of The Sun
Know Your Opponent
The Suns were one of the surprises of the NBA last season, predicted by most as a lottery team before winning 48 games and being edged out of the playoffs by Memphis and Dallas in a very tough Western Conference. They did so behind the dual point guard combo of Bledsoe and Dragic, and the discovery of the bouncy rebounding machine that is Miles Plumlee. Instead of traditional bigs, the Suns featured twin stretch 4's Markieff and , Channing Frye, and usually rounded out the lineup with a wing shooter like P.J. Tucker or Gerald Green. The Suns shot the 4th most 3's in the NBA last season, and with their roster again loaded with stretch-the-D shooters, '14-'15 likely will find them near the top of the league again.
In the offseason, the Suns lost very little from their roster and managed to add yet another starting-caliber point guard. While undersized, 5'9" Isaiah Thomas can flat score and distribute, as the Grizzlies saw up-close and personal last year when he was Sacramento's starting point guard. Thomas is currently leading the Suns in scoring at 19.5 PPG - off the bench. Those 3 talented point guards and all the stretch bigs are going to be a challenge for Memphis, especially with Mike Conley coming off a tweaked ankle and Nick Calathes still MIA on suspension.
Points of Grizzly Emphasis
Impose your will
The Grizzlies, as we all know, are one of the few old school, back to the basket, defense-first NBA teams around. The Suns, on the other hand, are an unconventional mix of talents that meshes very well and can present real matchup problems. The Grizzlies must play the game on their terms: limit turnovers so the Suns can't get out and run, pound the rock to Randolph and Gasol and keep the pace slow (hey look, we're on our way to slowest pace again), and play tough defense, forcing shooters to take uncomfortable shots. Fortunately, all are things the Grizzlies can do and have been doing for stretches in the first 4 games. A complete game of that type of ball would be tough for Phoenix to overcome.
Courtney Lee started the season with 1.5 very good all around games, including providing exactly the kind of defense-spacing long-range game he showed when he first came to the Grizz last year. Then Roy Hibbert's knee concussed him and we haven't seen him since. He was out vs. Charlotte, then questionable (and eventually ruled out) vs. New Orleans. While Tayshaun Prince did his best '04 Tayshaun Prince impersonation, teams collapsed hard on Z-Bo and Marc like we've seen in years past. If Lee is back and right, he'll help the offensive spacing.
Capitalize on the chaos
Bledsoe and Dragic's numbers are down through the first 3 games as they try to find their way with the Isaiah Thomas infusion. Tonight will besecond game back after a 3-game DUI suspension. All of this means a team that is still in flux and figuring out how to play together. The Grizzlies are an established unit and their cohesive play should be an advantage.
Why you should watch this game
The contrast in styles should be fun to watch. It will be the big, steady, tough old boxer facing the raw young guy with speed and power but lacking the cunning and experience of the former. These teams were in hot contention for the playoffs, and Bledsoe is both a former Clipper and a known Grizzly-killer. But mostly watch because this is the team Z-Bo kills - he has averaged roughly 25 points and 14 rebounds against them as a Grizzly. Z-Bounds for everyone!