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Stop playing in the mud, just win: Grizzlies vs. Wizards Preview

The Grizzlies have played an ugly style of basketball since Mike Conley went down with an injury. It hasn't helped in the wins column. It's time to change things up. Get out of the mud. Just ball.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
2013/2014 NBA Season
27-23 (13-14 home)
Lost 1
25-25 (12-12 road)
Won 1
February 11th, 2014
FedexForum in Memphis, TN
7:00 PM CDT
Fox SportsSouth/ 92.9 FM ESPN
Possible Starters
Nick Calathes PG John Wall
Courtney Lee SG Bradley Beal
Tayshaun Prince SF Trevor Ariza
Zach Randolph PF Nene Hilario
Marc Gasol C Marcin Gortat
2013/14 Advanced Stats
92.05 (30th) Pace 95.93 (17th)
102.1 (20th) OEff 101.3 (21st)
102.4 (T-11th) DEff 102.0 (9th)

Opponent's Blog: Bullets Forever

Injury Report: Memphis: Tony Allen - Out (Hand); Mike Conley - Out (Ankle); Quincy Pondexter - Out (Foot); Washington: Al Harrington - Out (Knee)

Memphis Grizzlies Tickets

Limit Washington in Transition

Combine one of the most explosive guards in the NBA with players who fill lanes correctly and excellent spot-up shooters, and it is no mystery that the Wizards are the best transition team in the league. This season, the Wizards have demonstrated an uncanny ability to switch gears from defense to offense even before one of their own grabs the rebound. The Grizzlies, ranked 23rd in the league in transition defense, will need to be at their best to even slow down the Wizards top-notch attack in the open court.

One way to limit the Wizards effectiveness in transition is for the Grizzlies to stick to the side of spot-up shooters like Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, and Martell Webster from the moment the Wizards grab a defensive rebound. The following stats of the Wizards lights out three-point shooting in transition are crazy.

Transition Threes 3FGM/3FGA 3FG%
Bradley Beal 24/46 52.2%
Trevor Ariza 30/72 41.7%
Martell Webster 18/39 46.2%

That could be scary for the Grizzlies. Let's hope not.

Run the Offense

This is an overused cliché in basketball, but it fits for the Grizzlies in their current situation. Far too many times in the loss to the Cavaliers, Memphis' offense broke down and resulted in a bad isolation. Coach David Joerger has shown he has some crisp sets up his sleeve throughout the season, and he needs to call on them more often. Of course, no matter how good the play design is, the players have to execute. With Mike Conley not directing the offense, that becomes increasingly difficult. The Wizards do have defensive holes though. They're not great at defending actions off the ball, hence their below average rating at defending shots that come off screens, hand offs, and cuts. If the Grizzlies can exploit the Wizards in these areas, maybe they can score more than a putrid 80 points without needing overtime to do so.

Get the Home Mojo Back

13-14. That's the Grizzlies record in the FedEx Forum this season. They've already lost more games at home barely over halfway through this season than they did all of last season. Also, the home losses from the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons only add up to 16 total. That doesn't bode well for the Grizzlies that they've almost passed that point just midway through the season. When the playoffs roll around, if the Grizzlies make it they will need to be strong at home if they hope to advance past even one series. The time to get that mojo turned around is now.

Final Prediction

This will likely be a difficult game for the Grizzlies, but let's hope they are hyped up and ready for blood after losing to a terrible Cavs team. The defense will need to be at its best, and Marc Gasol will need to be shouting orders on the floor all night letting players know where to be. I'm not of the belief that Gasol needs to be more aggressive all of the time for the Grizzlies to succeed, but that might be the best solution while Conley is out. Look for Big Spain to have a big bounce back night after being held to single digits in every basic statistical category against the Cavs.

Final Score: Memphis 86, Washington 83