WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH: Fox Sports Southeast/ 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley (Out, Left Heel), Chandler Parsons (Out, Right Knee Soreness), Marc Gasol (Questionable, “Illness”), Brandan Wright (Questionable, “Illness”), Andrew Harrison (Questionable, Left Shoulder), James Ennis III (Out, Right Calf)
SACRAMENTO- Frank Mason (Out, Foot), Vince Carter (Questionable, Rest), Garrett Temple (Questionable, Rest)
MEMPHIS- Andrew Harrison/Mario Chalmers, Tyreke Evans, Dillon Brooks, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol (?)
SACRAMENTO- De’Aaron Fox, George Hill, Bogdan Bogdanovich, Zach Randolph, Willie Cauley-Stein
Coming off two straight wins, the Grizzlies play again Friday night against the Sacramento Kings. It is the night that many fans marked on their calendars at the beginning of the season.
Zach Randolph is returning to Memphis, and FedExForum.
It will be Z-Bo’s first game back in Memphis since he was signed by the Kings this past offseason. The game will probably feel secondary especially with the two teams struggling this season.
The Grizzlies will come in on a two-game winning streak taking down the Knicks at home Wednesday night. The Kings are tied for the worst winning percentage in the league and took a big loss to the Nuggets in their last contest. While this game could mean a great deal towards draft pick implications, the story will be centered around Zach Randolph.
.@MacBo50 comes home tomorrow & we asked fans to share their favorite Z-Bo moments. Submit yours in a video with #LegendaryMoments & let Zach know just how much he means to you. pic.twitter.com/cqZvJX57hi— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) January 18, 2018
These are the two things to note going into Tuesday night:
Dave Joerger Better Not Sit Zach Randolph
In a night all about Z-Bo, the Kings have a decision to make. A few days ago, the organization announced that the team would sit two veterans each game for the remainder of the season. This is pretty much a way to tank while also playing the young guys like Fox and Bogdanovich. Last game, it was Vince Carter and Garrett Temple, this game it could be whoever.
I really do not see Joerger pulling this cold move in Randolph’s return, even as it could be a revenge tour for Dave Joerger in Memphis as well. He needs to be in the starting lineup, so Z-Bo can get the standing ovation he deserves.
If he does play, I think that he will have a massive game. He knows the players on the Grizzlies roster well, and he will be playing in front of the “Grindhouse” crowd. In their last matchup, he only had 4 points on a 2-7 shooting night while only playing 17 minutes. Unless they are really just against this emotional reunion, I see Z-Bo starting this game and putting up big numbers in front of his old fan base.
Copying the Kings
The Kings just are not a good basketball team. They sit at the worst record in the league. They are 30th in the league in points per game and offensive rating while sitting at 29th in the league in defensive rating. So, because of this, they implemented that veterans rule because the team just was not getting it done at full strength. This will make the young guys gain valuable experience to help their development.
This is a strategy the Grizzlies need to adopt. Wednesday, the Grizzlies sort of applied this by benching Gasol and Wright because of “illnesses.” While the decision is hard to sit Gasol, it helped for Deyonta Davis to earn his spot into a starting role. Ivan Rabb also gained some valuable experience in about 17 minutes in this game.
For Friday night’s matchup, look for the Kings to showcase their young guys throughout the night. Bogdan Bogdanovich will be a name to track as he has been making a strong case as one of the top rookies this season. He, with Fox running the show and Cauley-Stein in the paint, will be fun to watch. The Grizzlies easily won their game in Sacramento on New Year’s Eve, but with a good night from one of the rookies plus Z-Bo dominating in his reunion, it could be a close game.
My prediction for the game is that it will be close throughout with the Grizzlies pulling away in the fourth quarter. Sacramento may get off to a flashy start with Z-Bo leading the charge, but the Kings are just statistically not good. It will show Friday night.
Look for Gasol to have a good game as well, if he plays. These two are super competitive and want to one-up each other in front of the Grizzlies crowd.
Spread: TBA. Like I was saying, the inactive list with what two veterans have yet to be released. This will impact the spread, but I see it falling on Grizzlies by 4 or 5. I would take that line and put a good amount on the Grizzlies winning by 8 or more.
Grizzlies- 108, Kings- 95