Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Memphis vs San Antonio Pregame Commentary

Don't forget the Opening Night BLOG Party (or posters party for those so inclined) at Jack Daniels Old #7 starting at 6:00 pm. Eric Haseltine may make an appearance so be there early.

Read Chip's pregame commentary and excellent breakdown of the matchups. Below is my commentary for the 10-31 Grizzlies-Spurs game. Hopefully we will also be featuring pregame commentary by an 'enemy' blogger for each Grizzlies game.

Storylines of the Night:

--Will Pau play? Evidently Pau's availability for the game is still up in the air. The Grizzlies absolutely need Pau to play for the hometown fans hopeful for a win (more on that below). To gain any advantage we can against the dominate Spurs, I hope word is leaked that Pau won't play, then have him in the lineup come gameday to go mano-y-mano against the Big Fundamental.

Update....Yes, Pau will play. It was reported today there is no way he would miss the regular-season opener. Great news for the Grizzlies, obviously.

--Can the Grizzlies win a home opener? The Grizzlies historically have a difficult time winning the first home game of the year. Lost to Dallas in 02-03, Boston in 03-04 (curse you, Mike James), Wizards in 04-05 in the opening night of the FedEx Forum, Miami in 05-06, and New York in 06-07. I know personally attending the home opener is more important than most other early season games. A win would be nice. Playing the Spurs isn't.

--Will the early back-to-back affect the Spurs? In what I'll interpret as a partial attempt to make up for the fact that we have to see the Spurs come to town for the home opener, the NBA scheduled the Spurs with back-to-back games to start the season out. Having the Spurs play Portland the night before sounded a lot better before Oden (and other) Trailblazers got injured. Still, the fatigue of an early season back-to-back for an aging veteran team might be to the Grizzlies advantage, especially with our young and deep bench.

Update...Bonus Storyline: Darius Washington returns. I didn't think it would happen, but our beloved D-wash has made the Spurs team. And with the trading of Beno Udrih, his foot hold on the 3rd string PG spot is more solid than I ever would have guessed.

Key's to Victory:

--Keep Tony Parker out of the lane. Last postseason I saw Tony Parkers driving penetration be more of a factor to the Spurs success than the steady hand of Tim Duncan (that might be because Tim Duncan is so steady, his effectiveness gets overshadowed). The Grizzlies seem to unravel defensively when the defense is required to help out on players driving into the lane and the backside rotation can't properly react. Damon and Kyle need to keep Parker out of the lane as much as possible. And do it without fouling too much. The task is not an easy one.

--Rebounding. Rebounding totals are not as important as 'rebounding margin'. However one slices it, the Boys in Blue are in constant need of rebounding better. Oberto will likely be a pest on the offensive boards (who, when I am sitting in the upper deck of the FedEx Forum, looks identical to Rocket's rookie Luis Scola). The Grizzlies are too suspect on defense to sustain allowing many 2nd chance points off of San Antonio offensive rebounds.

--Shooting percentage. One way or another, the Grizzlies are going to have to shoot well to win. Shooting well from all aspects (FT, FG, and 3) will not necessarily be required, but some type of hot hand is. It could be that Lowry and company get enough charity attempts to make FT percentage meaningful. Or Miller, Rudy, Navarro, and Jacobsen light it up from beyond the arc. Or Pau, Swift and Darko convert at a high rate around the basket. In some offensive aspect, the Grizzlies need to have a hot hand. Seeing the basket shrink for Grizzlies shooters will likely lead to a typical opening night result.


ChipC3 said...

You forgot to mention that Detroit beat the Grizzlies in the 1st home opener.

It just doesn't matter.

Anonymous said...

Zack, have you seen any new information about Pau's status? The link to Tillery above is from Saturday, and reports since then say he'll play.......