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Memphis vs. Atlanta Game Preview: Grizzlies Look to Ground the Soaring Hawks

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The Grizzlies and Hawks last matched up in early January. Memphis didn't have Jeff Green, and Atlanta was going for their sixth win that would lead to a franchise best 19 game win streak. Now, the Hawks have to visit the hostile Grindhouse, and the Grizz are looking to bounce back from a tough road loss.

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Hawks vs Grizzlies coverage

More from the Hawks: Peachtree Hoops

Injury List:

Hawks: Shelvin Mack (Calf, Questionable); Thabo Sefolosha (Calf, Out)

Grizzlies: Jordan Adams (Ankle, Questionable); Vince Carter (Foot, Out)

Recently from Atlanta:

The Hawks pulled out an impressive 124-116 over the Golden State Warriors Friday night at Philips Arena. All of the Atlanta starters ended up in double digits. Atlanta has had a franchise year in many ways, and the Hawks now look like a legitimate title contender. Against current Western Conference playoff teams, the Hawks are 8-1. Yes, they're in a weaker conference, but the Hawks have so far dominated against elite Western Conference opponents. Now, Atlanta is heading into a hostile Memphis environment against a team who the Hawks beat  just about a month ago, 96-86.

Recently from Memphis:

The Grizzlies were on an eight game winning streak, and many thought that the Grizz would extend their streak Friday night against a young Minnesota Timberwolves team. However, it wasn't meant to be. The Wolves came out hungry, and the Grizz didn't. Minnesota out-hustled, out-rebounded, and out-played Memphis. The Grizzlies racked up 18 turnovers and just didn't have enough to pull out a win on the road, despite leading by four with forty seconds to go. Nevertheless, Memphis is 8-2 in their last ten games and will surely want to bounce back Sunday in front of the home crowd.

Keys to Victory:

1. Keep Korver off the Three Point Line

Kyle Korver is having the year of his career as he's shooting almost 52% from the field and just over 53% from three. The last time he squared off against the Grizz, he shot a deadly three at the end of the match to all but seal the game for the Hawks. He had 14 points against the Grizzles on January 6th and had 4 three pointers.

You notice on the play above that Korver was wide open. If the Grizzlies hope to grab a win Sunday, someone should always have a hand in the guy's face, or Memphis might be in for a long night.

2. Teague vs. Conley

Jeff Teague is averaging a career high 17.0 points per game this year along with 7.5 assists and was named to the East All-Star reserves just over a week ago. On the other side, Mike Conley is steadily improving off his career year last year, as he's averaging 17.3 PPG and 5.4 assists this season. These two going head-to-head should be entertaining: first time All-Star against All-Star snub. Teague isn't much of a threat from the three point line, as he's shooting just over 33% for the year. He is an efficient free throw shooter, however, and Conley will need to avoid fouling Teague as much as possible to keep him off the line and to prevent foul trouble for himself.

3.Keep up the Stifling Defense

Atlanta is a high octane offense. Over the last ten games, the Grizzlies have kept their opponents under 100 points in nine out of those ten games. In two of those, Memphis held their opponent under 75 points. The Grit n' Grind age hasn't died; it's just become more polished. To come up on top, the Grizz must lock Atlanta down defensively and avoid giving the Hawks open looks from beyond the arc. Oftentimes, when the Grizzlies' defense is rolling, they get into a great flow offensively. This is proved by the connection of the 8-2 run and the defensive stats from the last ten games.

Final Call:

The Grizzlies will limit the Hawks' three point makes by guarding the perimeter and will hold the Hawks under 100 points. Z-Bo and Gasol will come up big for the Grizz, and Conley will do a decent job at limiting Jeff Teague. The game will be close, and there will be plenty of lead changes. In the waning minutes of the game, however, Memphis' hometown crowd will help lift the Grizz to a victory. Memphis wins it 98-94.

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