Monday, December 17, 2007

Grizzlies vs Golden St - 12.17.07

Memphis finally got a couple of clutch shots down the stretch, turned up the defense, made the free throws and won a close game. Believe it or not it was the first time this season that the Grizzlies won a game where the score was within two points with 3 minutes to play that the Grizzlies won. Rudy Gay continued his search for respect around the league with a career high 32 points including 23 in the 2nd half. His combination of size, leaping ability and range makes him potentially one of the most difficult guards in the league once he figures out the game. Class is still in session but he is getting honors grades so far this season. Pau Gasol will miss this game and could be out until after Christmas but a big man with questionable speed and hustle won't be missed as much in this game.

Golden St enters the game searching for their Prozac. If there is a more bi-polar team in the NBA I don't know what it is. Golden St opened the season with 6 consecutive losses. Then the Warriors won 9 of their next 10 games. Since those two streaks the Warriors are 4-4. So they have been hot, cold and in between. Golden St is the best scoring team in the league having topped 100 pts in all but two games but those games came in their last three games heading into Detroit. The Warriors Sunday night game means they will be playing the 2nd game of a back to back series with travel. Energy shouldn't be a problem for this Warriors team however.

Point Guards: Damon Stoudamire vs Baron Davis
Baron Davis is playing some of the best basketball of his career in the mayhem that is Don Nelson's offense. He is scoring at the 2nd best clip of his career (22.8 ppg -11th in the league), averaging the 2nd best assists number of his career (8.3 - 6th best in the league) and creating more steals (2nd in the league at 2.52 apg) than at any time in his career. Now Davis just has to avoid the injury bug that has plagued his career. Damon has not been playing well of late and needs to be on his game if he wants to play much in this game.
Advantage: Golden St

Shooting Guards: Juan Carlos Navarro vs Monta Ellis

Monta Ellis is one of the fastest players in the league. The youngster from Jackson, Ms will have plenty of fans in the stands to keep him motivated as well. Ellis has been showing that last season' breakout year was no fluke averaging 16.1 ppg, 3.4 apg and 1.5 spg. Juan Carlos finally broke out of his shooting funk with 5 three point shots against Orlando on the way to a 27 pt outing. When Navarro is shooting the ball well he is very dangerous all over the court with nifty passes and sneaky defensive plays but when he shot isn't falling Navarro is far less impressive.
Advantage: Golden St

Small Forwards: Mike Miller vs Stephen Jackson

Stephen Jackson is the captain of the Golden St Warriors. Maybe that explains the erratic behavior exhibited on the court by the Warriors. At one time Stephen Jackson was considered a divisive attitude on a team. Now he is a captain. What he hasn't become is conservative shooting the ball. His averages of 39.9% from the field and 32.4% from the arc aren't exactly representative of a team leader. Mike Miller seems to realize that he has to be a threat for this team to win. He was quoted as telling Rudy Gay that they need to go big if they are going to beat Orlando. I have a news flash Mike, you have to go big for Memphis to beat just about anyone.
Advantage: Memphis

Power Forwards: Rudy Gay vs Al Harrington

I am going out on a limb with this match. Harrington hasn't been starting regularly but does anyone believe Nellie isn't going to want one of his most experienced players matching up against Rudy Gay? I am not sure why Harrington hasn't been playing more anyway. He is hitting a nice percentage of his shots including 41% from the arc. Harrington is a hard worker who won't allow Rudy to operate with too much freedom. The good news for Rudy is that Harrington isn't a big driver of the ball and he doesn't have tremendous size so Rudy won't be over matched at PF. This is a statement type of game for Rudy. After setting a career high he comes up against a team not known for it's defense and Rudy has the potential to put huge back to back games up.
Advantage: Memphis

Centers: Darko Milicic vs Andres Biedrins

Darko Milicic isn't in condition to go 40 minutes a night against any team yet and that goes double for a fast paced team like the Warriors. One of the reasons Biedrins is so effective for the Warriors is his ability to run and jump at the pace the Warriors play. His stamina allows him to get to balls while the opposing big men are still catching their breath. Not good for a Grizzlies team who are thin in the middle.
Advantage: Golden St

Benches: Memphis vs Golden St

Golden State has a very active and effective bench. That happens when you have 8 players who have started at least 5 games already this season. Led by Kelanna Azubuike who averages double figures off the bench and Matt Barnes who absolutely torched Memphis last season, the Warriors bench expects to play and produce. The only bad side of the Warriors has been the weak play from their rookies Marco Belinelli and Brandon Wright who have both played very poorly so far. Memphis' bench is finally finding some sort of rotation. Kyle Lowry brings energy off the bench with Hakim providing a point a minute scoring. Stromile started the season strong but has dropped off considerable of late. Casey Jacobsen is getting the extra minutes with Pau out but that may not be the case against a fast team like the Warriors.
Advantage: Golden St

Other Previews/Relevant Blogs:
Golden State of Mind
The City


AussieGfan said...

It will take a big effort to win this game but guaranteed this game will be great to watch!

Warriors are the most fun team in the league imo but here's hoping they have an off night.

ChipC3 said...

Damn kids Christmas concert. I hate to miss this game but there is no way my wife would allow me to miss the pagent for the game.


NancyW said...

No doubt this will be a very entertaining game tonight. Unfortunately I can't be there because of work. :-(

My prediction:

Grizzlies 124

Warriors 121

hptmatt said...

I'd like to issue a forewarning to people in 114 tonight-there will be someone making noise in row U tonight :)

Grizzlies 116
Warriors 109

ChipC3 said...

Grizzlies 128
Warriors 136

No way this isn't a high scoring game. I may be too conservative with this guess.

norcalsoldier said...

Very nice analysis. Hi Im from, the warriors fan blog site. I think your team is very exciting and hopefully Ivaroni, can make you guys a playoff team in a year or so. I think the analysis comparing Sjax vs MMiller is incomplete. There was a reason that the Warriors were 1-6 without him. His defense and his desire to get players involved in the offense(biedrins espicially) and his willingness to fire away wherever whenever(necessary for nellie ball). Last year we had the great over time game hopefully this one is just as fun and excting. Go Warriors
GSW 128
MEM 98
biendrins 21pts, 16rebs

AussieGfan said...

Yep SJax brings defensive intensity. It doesn't sound like it makes sense but when you look at the record with and without him it's hard to argue.

During the warriors-mavs game earlier this year, the fratello, reggie marv etc talked about SJax's impact on defense and the team as a whole and the playoffs last year. And I remember reading on the Grizz forum about how if we could play like the Warriors we'd be a better team and get into 2nd round. But it wasn't the uptempo play that beat the Mavs it was SJax and Barnes (or am I remembering wrong?) getting under Dirk's skin and lifting the defensive intensity and putting him off his offensive game. The other reason being Davis playing like an MVP (in avery's words) but the defense is what stopped Dirk and the Mavs.

Right now Grizz are worst defense team in the league per 100 possesions. :(