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Grizzlies vs. Warriors Preview: Heavyweights Step into the Ring

The two best teams in the West - and the NBA - step into FedEx Forum tonight for a battle royale.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
2014/15 NBA Season
19-4 (11-1 home)
21-2 (13-1 road)
December 16, 2014
FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
7:00 PM CDT
ESPN / Fox SportSouth / 92.9 FM ESPN
Possible Starters
Mike Conley PG Stephen Curry
Courtney Lee SG Klay Thompson
Tony Allen SF Harrison Barnes
Zach Randolph PF Draymond Green
Marc Gasol C Festus Ezeli
2014/15 Advanced Stats
94.2 (T-25th) Pace 100.4 (T-1st)
107.0 (T-6th) OEff 107.5 (5th)
100.2 (7th) DEff 95.2 (1st)
50.0 (15th) RebR 50.6 (12th)

Warriors vs Grizzlies coverage

Opponent's Blog: Golden State Of Mind


Warriors: Andrew Bogut (doubtful, knee), David Lee (out, hamstring), Harrison Barnes (questionable, nose)

Grizzlies: (none)

Know Your Opponent

The Warriors are off to a scorching hot start to the NBA season.  How hot?   If the Warriors kept up their current pace, they would end the season with the best record in NBA history at 75-7.   After finishing 51-31 for the 6th seed in 2013-14, there was very little that changed with the Warriors roster.  There have been two major changes: the ouster of Mark Jackson in favor of unproven coach Steve Kerr, and the subsequent elite-level efficiency the Warriors have played with on both ends of the floor.   Much of the roster is playing the best basketball of their careers, including Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Marreese Speights, and Draymond Green.

Points of Grizzly Emphasis

Bang away at the paint

With David Lee out and Andrew Bogut doubtful, the Grizzlies should have a decided advantage in the post with Bruise Brothers Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.   The Warriors and their league-leading pace run much of their offense through their elite backcourt of Curry and Thompson.   It will be the kind of game the Grizzlies have had to play against other top teams over the last few years: trying to slow down and drag the faster paced team into the mud.  The biggest key to this strategy will be to feed Big Spain and Z-Bo.

Elite perimeter defense

Tony Allen has earned his Grindfather name and reputation by showing up in big games like tonight's, and shutting a marquee scorer down.  Mike Conley is one of the few guards quick enough to stay in front of Steph Curry.  Courtney Lee is a solid defender who, at his best, fights through screens and plays excellent team defense.  They, along with Quincy Pondexter and Tayshaun Prince, will be tasked with controlling the heart of the Warriors' offense in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.   Slow them down, and you slow the Warriors as a whole.

Why you should watch this game

The two best teams in the NBA thus far are playing on ESPN, and one of those teams is your own Memphis Grizzlies.  They are the two heavy hitters in the NBA and they are squaring off tonight in what is sure to be a rocking Grindhouse.    Any questions?

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