WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, TN
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
Memphis- Tyreke Evans (Questionable, illness), Jarell Martin (Questionable, knee and ankle), Ben McLemore (Questionable, knee), Mike Conley (Out, heel), James Ennis III (Out calf), JaMychal Green (Out, ankle), Chandler Parsons (Out, knee)
Los Angeles- Patrick Beverley (Out, knee), Danilo Gallinari (Out, hip), Austin Rivers (Out, ankle), Jawun Evans (Questionable, abdomen)
MEMPHIS- Andrew Harrison, Wayne Selden Jr., Dillon Brooks, Ivan Rabb, Marc Gasol
LOS ANGELES- Milos Teodosic, Tyrone Wallace, Wes Johnson, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan
The Grizzlies won’t ever publicly hint that they are tanking, but it seems as if they are at least finally embracing a youth movement thanks in part to a long injury list. Besides Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies played their young guys more than usual and even gave Ivan Rabb his first career start Wednesday against San Antonio.
It wasn’t the prettiest of games, as they lost by 23, but it was good to see the Grizzlies young guys get minutes. The players can learn a lot by playing against a team like the Spurs, even if they were without some of their best players. Sure, the playoffs are within reach, but it’s unrealistic to think the Grizzlies have a chance at that unless Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons came back two weeks ago and if the team was remotely healthy now. With the team banged up and only a few games away from leading the tankathon.com standings, it’s good to see the team somewhat face reality and see what they got in their young guys.
Nonetheless, the team will still come out tonight to try and defeat their old rival Clippers. Here’s what to keep an eye on for tonight’s game.
Frustrate the Clips
Even with Chris Paul bolting LA to team up with James Harden and the Rockets, the Clippers still whine about every call. With the apparent “battle” between the refs and players, the Clippers among other teams have been called for a lot more technical fouls. Led by Blake Griffin’s 6 techs on the year, the Clippers still struggle keeping their mouth shut. If the Grizzlies players can get under the skin of guys like Griffin and Jordan, it could lead to a Grizzlies victory. Who knows, maybe Blake Griffin will throw a basketball at another official tonight and then blame him saying he should have caught the ball.
Lock Down Lou
Lou Williams was arguably the biggest All-Star snub this year (sorry Paul George) as he’s having his best statistical season, averaging 23.2 points per game to go along with 5 assists on 45% shooting. Lou is also a Grizz killer. He went off for 40 points in a shootout with Troy Daniels when Lou was with the Lakers last year. Lou is averaging 27.3 points against the Grizzlies this season. The Grizzlies will need to play better defense guarding Lou if they want to have a chance of slowing down the Clippers offensive attack.
Slow down Lou, and the Clippers offense slows down with him.
25 and Younger Club
8 of the 11 Grizzlies to play in Wednesday night’s game against the Spurs are 25 years of age or younger. That’s crazy considering 9 months ago the Grizzlies were starting a 40 year old and a 36 year old with another 36 year old as the 6th man. The Grizzlies got a lot younger in the offseason and the young guys are seeing extended minutes in this seemingly lost season. The Grizzlies will not win many games the rest of the season but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to watch for. These next few months will determine which players the Grizzlies feel are a part of their future and which ones don’t.
The youth movement will likely be a recurring theme at GBB and in other places. That’s not necessarily a bad thing when players like Kobi Simmons, Deyonta Davis, Dillon Brooks, Wayne Selden and Ivan Rabb have all shown glimpses of being solid players down the road.
The Grizzlies health is up in the air, with an injury report so long it reminds you of two seasons ago. The Clippers, like the Grizzlies, have had to change their identity this season but have stayed alive in the playoff race despite injury issues of their own. The Clippers have more established talent on their roster and are fighting to make the playoffs. I’d say the Grizzlies have more players with the potential to be good, but that won’t help them tonight. Look for the Grizzlies to get another game closer to the top of the lottery, while the Clippers get another game closer to an annihilation by the Warriors or Rockets in the postseason.
Clippers 110 Grizzlies 100