Who: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Indiana Pacers
Where: FedexForum in Memphis, TN
When: 7:00 PM CT
How to Listen: 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
How to Watch: FoxSports Southeast
Memphis vs. Brooklyn Coverage
More from the Nets: NetsDaily
Recently From Brooklyn:
The 0-2 Nets are still searching for their first win of the season after falling to the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs. The Nets hung around on Friday night until the end of the third quarter, in which the Spurs pulled away to eventually win by double digits. Brook Lopez has delivered for Brooklyn in both games so far, but he isn't getting enough help from his teammates. Joe Johnson had 10 points in the season opener but an abysmal 2 in last night's match. Also, in last night's game all of the Brooklyn starters had a negative plus minus. If the Nets hope to steal one in Memphis, they'll need better performances from their starters. Lionel Hollins also makes his return to Memphis tonight, and I'm sure he'd love nothing more than to win against the players he used to coach.
Recently From Memphis:
After getting off on the wrong foot Wednesday night against Lebron James' Cleveland Cavaliers, the Grizzlies bounced back Thursday night against the Indiana Pacers. The team that played Wednesday night and the team that showed up Thursday night were like polar opposites of each other. It finally appeared that Beno Udrih was getting his mojo back, and Jeff Green's game was much improved as he came off the bench instead of starting. We saw the first flashes of Mike Conley and Brandan Wright working the pick-and-roll. Marc Gasol also looked like he was getting into a groove offensively, and Tony Allen showed up both on the offensive and defensive end. Now, the Grizz look to start a two game winning streak before heading to the West Coast.
Keys to Victory:
1. Battle of the Bigs
While Marc Gasol looked more engaged Thursday night, Zach Randolph struggled somewhat. He had 11 points on only 3-11 shooting. He's been quiet so far over the course of the past two games, but I'm looking for a breakout game from Z-Bo tonight as he faces the likes of Thaddeus Young, Thomas Robinson, and Joe Johnson. Before the Grizzlies' big road trip next week, Randolph needs to get into a rhythm tonight. When the Grizzlies last played Brooklyn, Randolph had 19 points to go along with 8 rebounds. On the other hand, Marc Gasol will be facing off against Brook Lopez, former All-Star. Lopez recorded 26 points in the Nets' season opener, and he scored 17 points last night against the San Antonio Spurs. Lopez will be a good test for Gasol, both offensively and defensively. Gasol does not appear to be in prime physical condition, unlike the beginning of last season.
2. Play Your Pace
It may seem redundant, but it can't be overstated. The Grizzlies have to play their pace, to win any game. We have a two game sample size of this season so far. In the Cleveland game, the Cavs forced their faster style of play, while the Grizzlies imposed a more grinding version of the game Thursday night. And even while slowing the game down, the Grizzlies scored over 100 points. Grit N' Grind basketball doesn't have to be low scoring. When the Grizzlies are efficient like they were Thursday night, scoring 100+ points can become a reality on a more regular basis. That's why it's paramount for Memphis to control the pace.
3. Point Guard Play
Mike Conley appeared to be in a better rhythm in Thursday night's game; he had 13 points on 5-11 shooting. Conley ditched his face mask on Thursday, and he appeared much more comfortable without it. He dished out 10 assists. On the other side, the Nets were without the services of their point guard Jarrett Jack, but he made his return last night against the Spurs with 12 points on 5-13 shooting and 7 assists. Although Courtney Lee did not deliver from long range during the Grizzlies' win on Thursday, he was 4-9 from the field for 10 points. If Lee can be a reliable source for shooting for Memphis, then it really opens up the options on offense and the spacing. Lee will need to continue to get into a good rhythm tonight, especially with Golden State being the Grizzlies' next opponent. Wayne Ellington, former Grizzly, is now playing for the Nets, but he hasn't shown up much in the stats so far. He had 0 points in their season opener and 3 points last night. I expect the Grizzlies to take advantage in the guard department, especially with Beno Udrih appearing to be his old self again. Even with Jarrett Jack coming back from injury, the Nets just don't have enough fire power at the guard position.
If we see the team from Thursday night, Memphis will have the upper hand in this one. Lionel Hollins' Nets will be on the second night of a back-to-back, and Memphis' guards will be too much for the Nets to handle. If Z-Bo can find his groove, I expect the Grizzlies' bigs to really deliver tonight. Look for the match-up between Gasol and Lopez, as that will probably be very critical in tonight's outcome. If the Grizzlies allow the Nets to control the pace of the game, Memphis might be in for a dog fight. However, I expect the Grizz to come out ready at the tip and learn from Wednesday's home opener. The Grizzlies will grab their first home win in the Grindhouse.