WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- JaMychal Green (Out, jaw), Chandler Parsons (Out, knee), Dillon Brooks (Probable, foot)
WASHINGTON- Dwight Howard (Out, glute), Markieff Morris (Questionable, concussion-like symptoms)
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley, Garrett Temple, Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marc Gasol
WASHINGTON- John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., Markieff Morris, Ian Mahinmi
From the looks, and sound, of things, you’d think Memphis had the losing record.
So many focus on the lack of scoring, the inefficient shooting, and the other ailments currently hurting the Grizzlies that it is easy to forget that Memphis is 3-2. A winning mark is a welcome sight considering where we have been as a Grizzlies community, and even with the acknowledgement of the fact that we are still in October it’s better than the alternative...
Which the Washington Wizards are shockingly dealing with at the moment.
When LeBron James left the Cavaliers, it was widely assumed that the Wiz Kids could be one of the teams that took advantage of the weakened Eastern Conference. To this point, in a small sample size, this couldn’t be further from the case. Washington has already held a players’ only meeting and seems to be on the opposite of the same page...or even in the same book. Their most recent loss, a 136-104 drumming by the L.A. Clippers, was especially painful to watch.
The Wizards have talent. But do they have the continuity to use it to overwhelm a less athletic, but more stable, Grizzlies squad?
Here’s some keys to the game.
Another night, another elite point guard showdown
It’s been a while since John Wall and Mike Conley shared a court - that is David Fizdale in the background of the picture above. But in this era of the NBA, it is like almost every night is another test for the Conductor of the Grizzlies against another stud point guard. Sure, Wall is off to one of his slowest starts ever in his career (12% shooting from three???), but his athleticism and explosiveness must be respected at all times. Mike is not red hot himself, but he has been asked to be just about everything for Memphis to this point offensively. A little help for him (more on that in a moment) could go a long way.
Perhaps the chance to compete against each other will bring out the best in both men. For the sake of both squads, hopefully that is the case.
Which supporting cast reigns supreme?
This picture says it all.
Mike Conley is looking for help. Conley averages 19 points per contest so far, and the next closest scorer is usual suspect Marc Gasol at 14.2 points per game. From there? Garrett Temple and Jaren Jackson Jr. are the only other players that are averaging double digits in scoring.
A guy Memphis got for just about nothing and a 19 year old are 3rd and 4th on the Grizzlies in points per game.
Meanwhile, Wall is well supported when it comes to scoring at least. Bradley Beal, Kelly Oubre Jr., Markieff Morris, and Jeff Green (!!!) all have double-digit per-game scoring averages, with Otto Porter Jr. not far behind. The offense of the Wizards was 23rd in the NBA in offensive rating as of this writing at 106.7, and while that shouldn’t send Memphis shaking it is better than the standing of the Grizzlies at 105.3 (24th in the NBA).
Washington has more weapons than Memphis. The Grizzlies need players like Wayne Selden Jr. and others to keep producing at high levels.
This game could get ugly, and not in the way Grizzlies fans want it to.
Offensive issues on both sides could rule the day, but Memphis has the superior defense (currently 4th in the NBA in defensive rating) to Washington (26th in defensive rating). The Grizzlies will force more turnovers, getting more opportunities to score, and that will result in a Memphis victory despite the Wizards trying to push the pace.
Memphis 94, Washington 91