Saturday, December 22, 2007

Memphis vs Philadelphia 12.22.07

Memphis plays the third game in four days...again. The Grizzlies are 2-5 in the third game in four days all season and have only one win out of four when the 3rd games is also the second game of a back to back (at Orlando). Memphis is at home this time which, considering the Tigers play at 11:00 am, could mean a bigger than normal crowd or another small crowd. Hopefully the Tigers will win and people will hang around to see if they can watch a double dip. Rudy Gay has been drawing more attention every week as he is averaging 29 ppg over the last three games including that dramatic 3 pt shot to beat the Spurs on Wednesday night.

Philadelphia is probably one of the more surprising teams in the league this season that no one is paying attention to. Heading into tonight's game against the Lakers, the team most 'experts' predicted would finish in the cellar of the Atlantic Division if not the entire Eastern Conference was only one game out of the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Of course the team is also only 10-15 and if not for the Knicks pathetic play would still be in the cellar of the Atlantic. Led by Andre Iquodala and Andre Miller, the 76ers are playing better every week and have a nice young core of talent as well.

Point Guards: Damon Stoudamire vs Andre Miller
Andre Miller is reportedly on the trade blocks and so is Damon Stoudamire however there is no chance they could be traded for each other. Both Philly and Memphis have young PG's ready to take over but they just can't beat out the vets yet. Miller is having one of his best seasons ever shooting the ball at a 48.9% clip but he still can't hit the long ball. Keeping Miller from posting up Damon will be tough but must be accomplished or Miller will have a big game.
Advantage: Philadelphia

Shooting Guards: Mike Miller vs Willie Green

Call me a dreamer but I expect Gasol back for this game so the rotation goes back to normal with Miller at the 2 guard spot, if you consider a lineup that hasn't started many games together 'normal.' Miller is a better match for Green anyway. Green suffered a horrific knee injury a few years ago that has robbed him of that devastating first step he used to have but the long range eye hasn't gone away. Green likes to hang around on the perimeter and drop bombs all night. Miller can defend that. Miller has joined Gay in playing some of the best ball of the year and his dead eye long shot and improved ability to drive the ball has really helped the Grizzlies offense. Miller has always been a better 2nd option than leader and now that Rudy has stepped up Miller is quite comfortable being the 2nd man.
Advantage: Memphis

Small Forwards: Rudy Gay vs Andre Iquodala
Andre is a high flying athletic freak who plays tough defense but has relied too much on his ability to jump over people to develop a good outside shot. Now in his 4th NBA season one begins to wonder if he will ever develop one. Rudy is a high flying freak who plays decent defense but has not relied too much on his pure athletic skill so he has a dangerous outside shot (ask Tim Duncan and the Spurs). The problem in this match comes from Iquodala's desire to slash to the basket. Rudy's troubles guarding slashing players is well documented. If Rudy gets in early foul trouble it could spell trouble for the Grizzlies.
Advantage: Philadelphia

Power Forwards: Pau Gasol ve Reggie Evans

Old nemesis Evans and Gasol match up again. Reggie Evans has battled Gasol when he played in Seattle, when he played in Denver and now in Philadelphia. One of the most feared rebounders in the game, Evans is completely undersized with no natural talent other than a dogged determination to get the ball. Gasol is back after stubbing his toe (okay, it was a really bad stubbing) but he can't be tentative against Evans. Gasol has been shut down and he has had huge games against Evans. It all depends on his being aggressive with ball. His size has to be exploited on offense and on the glass. Evans can only score when he grabs an offensive rebound.
Advantage: Memphis

Centers: Darko Milicic vs Samuel Dalembert

Dalembert is a big strong boy who has limited offensive skills but knows how to use his body well enough to almost average a double-double. He also is one of the premier shot blockers in the league. Darko will need to be aware of this but still look for his shot. Most of Dalembert's blocks come from playing off his man. Darko will need to have his body on Dalembert the whole game to prevent him from grabbing rebounds or blocking shots. Pretty tall order for a player who isn't exactly known as a body up defender.
Advantage: Philadelphia

Benches: Memphis vs Philadelphia

If Memphis has a clear advantage in this game it would appear to be off the bench. Philadelphia has electrifying point guard Louis Williams and long range bomber Kyle Korver but not much else, especially on the front line. Memphis can bring in Kyle Lowry, Juan Carlos Navarro, Stromile Swift and Hakeem Warrick who can all contribute big numbers on any given night. The question is how well will Lowry play against another fast PG, how will Juan Carlos respond coming off the bench again and will Stro show up? If the Grizzlies get positive play from their bench they should be able to exploit Philly's tired legs.
Advantage: Memphis

Other Pre-game Sites/Relevant Commentary:
Passion and Pride


Monkey Boy said...

You guys should open your own Forum.

ChipC3 said...

While I appreciate the thoughts I believe for now we will just stay the way we are. The Grizzlies message board is a far better location for a forum type atmosphere. We aren't trying to replace that fine spot.

This is simply a spot for us to relate our thoughts in a more in-depth way as well as to give Grizzlies fans a single location to find links to Grizzlies information.

But thanks for the suggestion Monkey Boy.

nancyw said...

Although I spend a lot of time on the Grizzlies' message boards, this website tends to be a bit more rational.

Sparticus, I really like your thoughts on why we lost to Philly last night....very creative. :-)

ChipC3 said...

You think we are more rational than the message board? Really?

The message board is a poster for prozac these days or whatever medicine is used to treat bipolar disorders!