WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- Vince Carter (Out, rest), Zach Randolph (Out, foot)
PHOENIX- Dragan Bender (Out, ankle)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Chandler Parsons, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol
PHOENIX- Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, Marquese Chriss, Tyson Chandler
Darn it feels good to be a Grizzly, doesn’t it?
The Memphis Grizzlies are flying high after winning five of their last six games on their way to being a season-best ten games over .500 at 32-22. They continue to overcome the struggles of Chandler Parsons as others step up to fill the void left by the recovering star and his struggling shot...at least he’s had a good sense of humor about it.
Dear basketball,— Chandler Parsons (@ChandlerParsons) February 7, 2017
Please go in the hoop babe.
Always easier to laugh it off when your team is winning.
Other perimeter players are picking up the slack for Parsons. Whether it’s Vince Carter blocking four shots at 40 years old (out tonight) or James Ennis running the floor and defending his tail off, the Grizzlies are playing some very good basketball heading into the All-Star break without their “6’10” with a ratchet” wing at his best. This is so important to the long-term viability of Memphis - Parsons can continue to ease into what we hope will be a hot streak post All-Star, while the team continues to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff picture.
Tonight is another opportunity for Chandler to try to find his stroke as the Grizzlies try to keep their successful streak going against the Phoenix Suns. How can they get the job done?
Overlook No One
This is an easy trap game for Memphis to into. The Suns are struggling, and the Grizzlies blew them out just nine days ago in Phoenix. Mike Conley scored a career-high 38 points including seven three pointers. Zach Randolph was 8-13 from the floor, and Vince Carter was +20 for the night despite only shooting 1-6 overall.
None of that matters.
It’s a new game, and the young Suns have talented players who can create problems for the Grizzlies if they are not attentive to detail. Memphis must execute on both ends of the floor and focus on this game rather than the dominant win nine days ago, or the big victory over the rival Spurs this past Monday, or the Golden State Warriors coming to town Friday night.
No looking back. No looking ahead. Win the day.
Let Chandler Find His Teammates, Then Himself
Chandler Parsons is not playing well right now. That has been well documented. But one of the things he’s done well at times is drive and dish off of screens and the pick and roll. At the moment, Parsons looks best when he is active in dribble penetration and facilitating the offense. The shot may not be falling, but instead of shooting out of a rut, perhaps simply creating for others will be a confidence builder in and of itself. It would also perhaps endear him with the fans, seeing him focusing on making the offense better for others and not just himself...
Or not. Some people are already reaching Jeff Green levels of disdain for Parsons. But that is not as important as getting Parsons going - his health and ability to play are the best acquisition Memphis can make in order to reach another level of competitiveness in the Western Conference. So until he can make shots himself, get him to create opportunities for others.
The Grizzlies are 10-point favorites in this game tonight...which should make you nervous. Even after the big win last week over this same Suns team, Memphis’s inconsistency sticks out like a sore thumb in our collective memory. A double-digit win behind strong Mike Conley and Marc Gasol performances makes sense, and should be the way things go. But that isn’t always how things work out for the Grizzlies.
Memphis may start this one slow, but they will pull away as their strong bench helps fill in the holes of the still-recovering Parsons even with no Z-Bo and VC.
Memphis 108, Phoenix 99