Thursday, October 18, 2007

Memphis vs Miami

Memphis struggled out of the gates again in losing at Indiana. However the defense never showed up against the Pacers as the Grizzlies surrendered by quarter 31, 32, 30 and 29 points. Once again the offense woke up in the 2nd half to score 73 points. No one questions the Grizzlies ability to score. Stopping teams has been the problem. Well that and finding out how bad that sprain is on Pau's ankle. The team hasn't bonded as a unit yet but it is safe to say that they will be working hard on defensive responsibilities over the next week.

Miami has struggled with injuries this preseason but hasn't stopped their habit of inheriting Memphis players to bolster their team. Players with Memphis connections have included former Tiger Earl Barron as well as former Grizzlies Jason Williams and James Posey. This year's additions are former Tiger Penny Hardaway and former Grizzly Alexander Johnson. Penny should be able to play in the game Saturday night so expect a large contingent of fans not cheering for the men in blue in this game. AJ may have a chip on his shoulder in this game.

Point Guard: Kyle Lowry vs Jason Williams
I know a lot of people will come to this game to see former Grizz point guard Jason Williams. Finally getting healthy after struggling with different ailments so far in camp JWill should get extended minutes in this game. Who will start for the Grizzlies is a much bigger question. Damon started the first three games but doesn't look capable of playing the uptempo style that Iavaroni has expressed a desire to play and can't defend well enough to prevent opponents from breaking down the defense. Kyle Lowry has looked great off the bench but only average as a starter. His passing hasn't been that impressive and his shooting isn't very good at all. Mike Conley posted his first double double against Indiana with 11 pts and 10 assists in only 29 minutes. Maybe it is Mike's turn to show off. Backing up JWill is Smush Parker. Keep an eye on Chris Quinn as well for Miami.

Shooting Guard: Mike Miller vs Dorell Wright
Mike had an off night offensively with only 4 attempts against Indiana. Most peculiar since with Gasol's absence you would expect Mike to step it up more offensively. Maybe the rumors about him being dealt are affecting him. JCN and TK are battling for back up minutes at the 2 and their battle is getting heated. Dorell Wright has been talked about as the next great player for two years but he never has really had a chance to show off his stuff until now. With Penny hobbled, DWade out and Posey gone Wright is being given his chance to shine. Penny should be ready to play in this game so expect to seem him at both the point and the 3 as well as the 2. Daequan Cook should also see some minutes at the 2.

Small Forward: Rudy Gay vs Antoine Walker
Walker is reportedly out of shape but what else can Riley do but start him? Walker has always played well against the Grizzlies in the past and he will be a tough matchup for Rudy. Walker has unlimited range and uses his Barkley-esque butt to grab boards and bang in the middle. When on his game he is a very difficult matchup for anyone in the league. However with his eating habits that isn't usually a problem. Devin Green, Joel Anthony and Jeremy Richardson all may see minutes if Penny can't go. Casey Jacobsen should continue to get minutes if he continues his hot 3 pt shooting for the Grizzlies.

Power Forward: Hakim Warrick vs Udonis Haslem
Assuming Pau can't go in this game, and why should he since it is only preseason and he has played a lot this summer, Hakim will get an opportunity to show he can be physical enough to be a 4 in Iavaroni's offense. Hak's got to show he can defend as a PF, rebound as a PF and most importantly play within the team offensive structure. Haslem is a big boy and knows his role. Haslem plays defense and rebounds. Occasionally he shoots but only if he did his first two jobs well will Riley reward him with an attempt. Backing up Haslem is Alexander Johnson. The former Grizz was shockingly cut during the summer league and may have a little atttitude in this game. Heck he had attitude when he was playing for the Grizz. Expect to see more of Brian Cardinal in this game as welll.

Update: Graham Kendrick is reporting on's new GrizzBlogs section that Gasol won't play against the Heat due to his sprained ankle. There are some good quotes from Coach Iavaroni worth reading as well, so go check it out.

Center: Darko Milicic vs Shaquille O'Neal
Good news is this is preseason so Shaq shouldn't play long. The bad news is that Alonzo Mourning is backing up Shaq. The good news is that this is still preseason so Mourning shouldn't play that much either. The bad news is that former Tiger Earl Barron should play and that means more Memphis fans cheering for the opponents. The good news is this is a preseason game so no one will remember it next week. Darko has had trouble avoiding fouls, Stro has been inconsistent (shocking) and Memphis can't expect Andre Brown to be a big help against Miami's size.

Coaches: Marc Iavaroni vs Pat Riley
Student vs teacher. Iavaroni's first assistant coaching job was on Riley's staff in Miami. He should know Riley's offensive playbook so maybe the team can start shutting teams down, especially with DWade absent and so many others playing hurt. If Pau can go that would be a great outcome but more likely he won't. This will test Iavaroni's coaching skills to the max. Riley is a skilled coach who shouldn't have to much trouble with mixing and matching lineups with his experienced veterans on the bench.

UPDATE: Shaquille O'Neal is not making the trip to Memphis and will be out of the game. Also missing the trip are Alonzo Mourning, Michael Doleac, Wayne Simeon and Dwayne Wade. Riley announced that JWill, Antoine Walker and Udonis Haslem should each play over 30 minutes in the game.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Sounds like we have a pretty good chance to win, then, maybe...