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Memphis Grizzlies at Brooklyn Nets Preview: Old meets new

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With the addition of Jeff Green, a fresh-look Grizzlies team heads to Brooklyn to meet a familiar face.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
2014/15 NBA Season
at
2014/15:
26-11 (11-7 road)
2014/15:
16-22 (8-12 home)
January 14, 2015
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
6:30 PM CDT
Fox SportSouth / 92.9 FM ESPN
Possible Starters
Mike Conley PG Jarrett Jack
Courtney Lee SG Bojan Bogdanovic
Tony Allen SF Joe Johnson
Zach Randolph PF Mason Plumlee
Marc Gasol C Brook Lopez
2014/15 Advanced Stats
94.1 (27th) Pace 94.4 (26th)
105.1 (10th) OEff 99.6 (24th)
102.0 (11th) DEff 102.9 (13th)
49.8 (16th) RebR 49.1 (T-20th)

Grizzlies vs Nets coverage

Opponent's Blog: NetsDaily

Injuries

Nets: Deron Williams (Out, side), Markel Brown (Out, knee), Kevin Garnett (Out, suspension)

Grizzlies: Tony Allen (Probable, hamstring), Mike Conley (Probable, ankle)

Know your opponent

The Nets had something of a rocky offseason which has bled over into the regular season.  After finishing 44-38 and clinching a 6 seed in the East last season, the Nets lost first-year coach Jason Kidd to a Milwaukee job that was still occupied by Larry Drew, then hired grizzled former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins.  The Nets started 16-16, which, though not stellar, had them in play for another 6 seed in the East.  They've since lost 6 straight amid reports that Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov has placed the team on the market for sale, and the team seems to be at a boiling point, illustrated by incidents like Kevin Garnett headbutting Dwight Howard, which has him suspended for tonight's game.

"We have established an identity -- we don't make shots. That is an identity," Hollins said recently. "We have guys who have been great shooters or good shooters throughout their careers wherever they've played and I don't know, maybe I'm the problem."

Points of Grizzly Emphasis

The more things change, the more they stay the same

Coming into the season, one of the mysteries was how the wing minutes would shake out.  Coach Dave Joerger showed a good deal of consistency and patience in the rotation prior to the Monday trade that brought combo forward Jeff Green to Memphis.   Green will likely pick up most, if not all, of the minutes vacated by the departed Tayshaun Prince and Quincy Pondexter.   He may also pick up some, if not all, of Jon Leuer's stretch 4 minutes.   Jordan Adams may get some run.   Tonight will be the first look into how the addition of Green will affect those rotations.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, part II

As the Grizzlies' pace has slowed to the bottom of the league, the offensive efficiency has slowly slid down the rankings as well, from top-5 to 10th in the league.  It's still much improved, but some of the crispness of the early season has left the offense.   It is interesting to note that the Nets have been a similarly sluggish team when it comes to offensive pace, and have improved significantly on the defensive end since last year.   While Joerger's offensive principals have proven to be more effective, it seems clear that his and Lionel's squads are still cut from the same cloth when it comes to pace and defending.

Time to right the ship

While the Grizzlies (thankfully) have not had a 6-game skid like the Nets, they have gone 5-5 over their last 10, which has dropped them to 4th in the the ultra-competitive Western Conference.  If the Grizzlies wish to maintain their playoff home court advantage, they must avoid many more stretches like this one.   The addition of Jeff Green will hopefully help, adding scoring and versatility to the lineup.  The return of Zach Randolph from injury has already helped and hopefully will continue to.  Those, along with renewed crisp execution, could return the Grizzlies to the title contender many saw in them early in the season.

Why you should watch this game

Despite facing a sub-.500 East team on a Wednesday night, this almost writes itself.  This will be Jeff Green's first time donning #32 for the Grizzlies.  We will see some how the rotation and chemistry work out with Green, and without Prince and Pondexter.  This is the Grizzlies' first time facing their old coach, Hollins.  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this will be our first glimpse into whether the Grizzlies can get on track for a second-half run.   Tune in!