WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Chandler Parsons (Out, return from injury management), Mike Conley (Questionable, shoulder)
BROOKLYN: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Out, hip), Allen Crabbe (Out, knee)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Mike Conley, Garrett Temple, Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marc Gasol
BROOKLYN: D’Angelo Russell, Joe Harris, Rodions Kurucs, Jared Dudley, Jarrett Allen
It has been an eventful 48 hours for the Memphis Grizzlies.
From a bad loss to the Detroit Pistons at home to a heated team meeting Wednesday night, all the way to 24 hours afterwards when the Grizzlies made a trade to acquire Justin Holiday from the Chicago Bulls, the team that steps out on the floor at FedExForum tonight will be vastly different from the one that embarrassed themselves at the scene of their last home game. Holiday will almost certainly be unavailable tonight, and likely will not play until Monday in New Orleans, but the departure of Wayne Selden Jr. and MarShon Brooks make Memphis a bit undermanned and hopefully a bit refreshed after a very public airing of dirty laundry.
The Brooklyn Nets could care less about all of that, of course. They are focused on playing better basketball since the last time these two teams met. Brooklyn is 10-6 since that meltdown of a loss at the hands of Jaren Jackson Jr. and the Grizzlies over a month ago, and have found a rhythm behind their young but talented roster and impressive coach Kenny Atkinson. This Nets team is no joke - a seven game winning streak within the past month, with a statement overtime win over the Raptors -is evidence of what they are capable of.
Brooklyn has gotten better...can Memphis finally step forward and start to dig out of their current hole? Quick keys to the game-
- CONTROL JOE HARRIS. No, I am not joking. Harris scored 21 points on 16 shots in Brooklyn’s most recent game, a win over the New Orleans Pelicans, and only nine of those points came from made threes. Harris has been a bargain signing for the Nets, showing he is capable of helping guide an offense through smart and disciplined play. If the Grizzlies hope to win tonight, Harris must not be allowed to help pace the offensive output for Brooklyn so effectively.
- PLAY THEIR BENCH EVEN. This is a bit concerning, considering the issues the Memphis reserves have had of late. Spencer Dinwiddie, former Grizzly DeMarre Carroll, and Shabazz Napier combined for 49 points on 35 shots against the Pelicans and an impressive 7-13 performance from beyond the arc. Since Memphis is not-so-good at defending the three, this is a scary proposition if the Grizzlies can’t stick with shooters. Add this to Ed Davis, who was a dominant +26 in just 17 minutes played against New Orleans, and the Nets have a better bench right now than Memphis. They must rise to the occasion and cancel out Brooklyn’s reserves if they hope to win.
THE PREDICTION- Will there be a bounce-back win from the energy that comes with a trade and the fact that the team’s issues are now very public? Perhaps - it comes down to leadership, and how you believe Conley and Gasol respond in the face of this adversity.
Call me a homer, but here’s to hoping they answer the call. Those two, in addition to Kyle Anderson and Jaren Jackson Jr., take ownership of this game and help Memphis win a squeaker.
Memphis 103, Brooklyn 101