WHERE: Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.
WHEN: 6:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH: Fox Sports Southeast/ 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley (Out, Left Achilles), Wayne Selden Jr. (Out, Right Quad), Brandan Wright (Right Groin)
WASHINGTON- John Wall (Probable, Knee Discomfort)
MEMPHIS- Andrew Harrison, Tyreke Evans, Dillon Brooks, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol
WASHINGTON- John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., Markiff Morris, Marcin Gortat
The Grizzlies come in Wednesday night in complete disarray. They have lost 15 of their last 16, needing something to get them out of their collective funk. Currently they are on a four-game slide and look to change the narrative as they take their one trip to our nation’s capital. The Wizards finally come back home after a five-game road trip. They have dropped their last two games to the Clippers and Nets.
Washington is trying to get back in to the win column, and they are excited for their All-Star, John Wall to come back to the lineup. The one thing that Washington has lacked over the years is depth. It has for sure been an issue for this team without their captain in their lineup, much like the Grizzlies and Conley.
These two teams are not too familiar with each other which will make for a feeling out process at the start of the game. The Grizzlies are going to need help from everyone to compete against this consistent playoff team. The Wizards have an All-Star backcourt, which will be the major factor for this game.
Here are three things to note before tonight’s matchup:
Limiting Wall and Beal
The one main thing that contributes to the Wizards making the playoffs and competing in the Eastern Conference each year is John Wall. That is a no-brainer for all NBA fans, but it is worth being said as he comes back from knee soreness against the Grizzlies. The Wizards are 3-4 without him the last 7 games. Wall is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists a game. Also, outside of the stats, Wall leads the team, so Beal can play off him. This is where Washington is at their best. Andrew Harrison is going to have a big responsibility if he starts in this game. The defensive liabilities of Mario Chalmers and Ben McLemore will hopefully cut in to their playing time, so Harrison will have the work defensively. Limit these two, the Grizzlies can pull one out on the road.
Running the Paint
Wednesday will be the night for Green and Gasol to get their games going together. The team just isn’t good enough for them not to have big games together and expect to win. Memphis needs these two to have big games in the points category. They need to dominate the points in the paint. Marcin Gortat and Markiff Morris are not even close to the frontcourt competition the duo sees in the Western Conference. Marc should be able to feast against Gortat. It is crucial that he does for the Grizzlies to have a chance. In this massive losing streak, they have lost points in the paint over and over again. It is a very correlative stat for this style of the team without Conley. Points from Green and Gasol are a must against the Wizards.
Getting the Bench Going
The Grizzlies are not a deep team. The injuries have killed them. At this point, their bench consists of players who probably should not get many minutes on an NBA team, but here we are. Memphis will need everyone to come together and contribute. The Wizards are very similar and lack depth. This would be an opportune time for the Grizzlies to score and make the most of the minutes when both benches are out on the court. Look for the Grizzlies to outscore the Wizards bench by a good amount.
My prediction is that the Grizzlies drop this one in D.C. John Wall is coming back, and the arena will be rocking. At this point in time, the Grizzlies have lost their way and do not show promising signs of bouncing back.
The Wizards have lost two straight and are looking to get things going again Wednesday. Wall and Beal will have big nights. Washington likes a fast-paced game, which will lead to high scoring, a negative for the Grizzlies. The only chance Memphis has is if Gasol and Green dominate the paint and keep second-chance points to a minimum.
Spread: NO LINE The books do not have a line out for this one yet as John Wall needs to test his knee game time. If the line stays around -7 or 8 for Washington, I would jump on it. I say Memphis will lose by double digits in a tough game on the road.
Memphis- 91, Washington- 104