WHERE: Oracle Arena in Oakland, California
WHEN: 9:30 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: NBA TV/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Chandler Parsons (Out, knee), JaMychal Green (Out, jaw), Omri Casspi (Questionable, thigh)
GOLDEN STATE: Shaun Livingston (Out, foot), DeMarcus Cousins (Out, Achilles)
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley, Garrett Temple, Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marc Gasol
GOLDEN STATE- Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Damian Jones
The best thing to do after a stinker of a performance in the NBA is to get back on the horse and on the floor as soon as possible. This is where the Grizzlies find themselves in the wake of a tough loss at the Phoenix Suns Sunday night. On a night when Mike Conley and Marc Gasol shot a combined 5-29 from the field, the efforts of Shelvin Mack, Kyle Anderson, and Dillon Brooks were not enough as Devin Booker crushed Memphis’s hopes of a 6-2 start.
But don’t fret, Grizzlies fans. Memphis is up again tonight, and they have a chance to right the wrongs of hours ago against...
Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and the Golden State Warriors!!!
Here’s what to expect from a game that, by any logical analysis, Memphis will drop, but will somehow find themselves competitive in because Grizzlies gonna Grizzly.
Who the hell is Damian Jones?
The Warriors have been trotting out “random” guys at center for years. From Zaza Pachulia to Javale McGee, from Andrew Bogut to Festus Ezeli, and everywhere in between, the “light years” organization has filled the 5 position with “meh” to “good defender but meh” players throughout this era of domination. Until that changes when DeMarcus Cousins comes to Golden State’s lineup and the sixth Infinity Stone settles into Steve Kerr’s gauntlet, that role is being played by one Damian Jones.
Jones is in his third year with the Warriors, and while the Vanderbilt University alum gets meaningful playing time, he does not have too large of a role beyond that of role player. In fact, he’s actually 7th on the team in minutes played behind the Golden State Fantastic Four, Andre Iguodala, and Kevon Looney.
Whether it’s Jones, Looney, or even Jordan Bell (who’s coming off injury), Memphis in theory has an advantage thanks to the likes of Marc Gasol, Jaren Jackson Jr., and any assortment of bigger wings who play the 4. Of course Draymond is a monster, as is Durant, and when Iguodala checks in the lineup of death consumes most basketball souls. But during those times when that five man crew isn’t on the floor together, Memphis must take advantage if they hope to try to compete.
Time to zag!
OK, Coach Bickerstaff. Here’s your chance!
“Why try to be like Golden State?”, they said. “Let’s zig where others zag”, they said. The Grizzlies made a lot of (admittedly smart) moves this offseason to prepare you to test the likes of the Warriors with looks different from what they’re used to. While the second night of a back to back and the first meeting of a season may not be the most fair time to test this theory (especially considering guys like Conley and Gasol may be on minutes limits, or not play at all), this is that opening contest with the mighty Warriors for a Grizzlies team that flies in the face of the revolution Steph Curry and company have brought to the NBA.
Again, no JaMychal Green or Chandler Parsons, in addition to the “schedule loss” nature of this “showdown”, negate this a good bit. It does bear watching, however, who begins the game defending whom, and how Memphis handles switches when Jackson is at the 5 and the rest of the lineup is capable of that type of defensive rotation.
Last night was a big disappointment. Win that game, after the loss in Utah, and who cares about losing this game? Now, though, a 1-2 road trip is a kick in the pants for a team hoping to scoop up as many wins as possible before the schedule really gets tough.
Tonight is about as tough as it gets. Steph Curry is the MVP of the league so far, and Klay Thompson is arguably this team’s 4th best player and hit 14 threes in a game recently. Memphis has a puncher’s chance in every game they play..but those punches will miss against a team beating other squads by an average score of 124.1-110.6
Just don’t get hurt, please.
Golden State 120, Memphis 98