WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (10-5, 5-2 at home) vs. Miami Heat (4-10, 2-5 on road)
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, TN
WHEN: Friday, November 25. 7:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/ 92.9 ESPN Memphis
Memphis- Chandler Parsons (out, knee), Brandan Wright (out, ankle), James Ennis (out, calf), Tony Allen (probable, groin)
Miami- Wayne Ellington (out, quad), Justise Winslow (out, wrist), Willie Reed (game-time decision, knee)
Probable Starting Lineups:
Memphis: Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Troy Daniels (?), JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol
Miami: Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, Derrick Williams, Hassan Whiteside
The Memphis Grizzlies are, perhaps, the hottest team in the NBA.
They have won six straight games now after their most recent win over the Philadelphia 76ers. It was not the prettiest of victories, but a win is a win nonetheless, albeit against a bad team.
Now the Grizz will shift their focus to another team that is off to a rough start in the Miami Heat. Coming off of a brutal summer that saw them lose Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Joe Johnson, and Chris Bosh ftom last year’s team, the Heat have struggled to find their way.
But the Heat do have one of the brightest young big men in the game in Hassan Whiteside. The 27-year-old is averaging a big double-double, posting 18.8 points and 15.9 boards per contest.
Now, he will square off with Marc Gasol in a match-up of top-10 NBA centers, certainly something we will want to keep an eye on. But the Grizzlies must take the entire Heat team seriously. They can be dangerous, as they are lead by a very bright coach in Erik Spoelstra
KEYS TO THE GAME
- Ball movement: The Memphis offense has been inconsistent throughout the year. They have often stalled due to poor ball movement, as they rank bottom five in the league in assists per game. If the ball moves, then open perimeter sots will come, and players like Gasol will not have to force tough contested shots. This may seem like a simple concept, but the difference in the Grizzlies’ offense is tremendous when they move the ball.
- Establish a stopgap SF: With both Chandler Parsons and James Ennis on the shelf, the Grizz need to find someone who can run as the small forward with the starters until one of them returns. Troy Daniels got the start on Wednesday and had a pedestrian outing. Perhaps giving someone like Vince Carter or Troy Williams the spot could help. Williams is erratic, but is also a playmaker with the ball in his hands. Carter has also had a very good season. Maybe someone like Andrew Harrison could also step in, running with three guards in the lineup.
- Control the point guard battle: Mike Conley has been great this year, especially in big PG match-ups. And while Whiteside is the standout player on the Heat, Goran Dragic is very underrated. Dragic is very crafty with the ball and can score in a variety of ways, along with being a good passer. Conley should be able to contain him but if not, it could be a long night for Memphis.
This is a game that the Grizzlies should certainly win. Being red hot and coming home, this game could present little to no problems. But that is what was said about the Sixers game, and that went to double overtime. Memphis is all about making these games interesting, and while I think they get their seventh win in a row, it will be a tight, competitive game.