Friday, March 14, 2008

Memphis at Golden State - 3.15.08

Golden State of Mind wanted our thoughts on the Grizzlies in the post-Gasol era and, as always, we were more than happy to offer them up. Go check out that Q&A for some further insight and analysis.

Memphis is a ship without a rudder, captain or destination at the moment. Many fans simply want this disastrous season to be over with so that they can focus on the hope that the offseason brings to every team looking to rebuild. The Grizzlies are in the midst of a 16 game road losing streak - their longest since they moved from Vancouver.

Golden State has won five straight against the Grizzlies and are on a 4-game home winning streak. They are maintaining their tenuous grasp on the 8th playoff spot, leading the Denver Nuggets by 2 games at the moment. They will need to take advantage of their next three games (Grizzlies, Kings, Clippers), if they plan on making any noise this postseason.

Point Guards: Mike Conley vs Baron Davis
BD has been on fire in the month of March, averaging 27.4 ppg, 7.6 apg, 4.6 rpg, 1.4 spg on .527 FG% in the last 7 games. He's even chipped in 4 blocks in the last 3 games. Mike Conley, on the other hand, has been facing the typical struggles that all rookie point guards deal with. The scary thing is, his stats are almost exactly what I predicted they would be in the preseason. Of course, all the rest of them were way off, but I'm going to bask in the glow of being right for a little while.
Advantage: Golden State

Shooting Guards: Mike Miller vs Monta Ellis
Monta Ellis has responded to March in much the same way as his backcourt mate. Through 7 games he is averaging 23.1 ppg, 7 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.9 spg on .550 FG%. This smallish SG (only 6'3") is lightning quick and has a great mid-range game to go with his prolific slashing ability. In other words, he's going to shred the Grizzlies' defense once again. Mike Miller has put up less than spectacular numbers in the last three games (all blowouts) and the fact hasn't changed that as #33 goes, so go the Grizzlies. He'll have to put forth a superhuman effort for them to even be competitive in this one.
Advantage: Golden State

Small Forwards: Rudy Gay vs Stephen Jackson
Captain Jack had been playing well prior to Thursday's loss to Phoenix when his shot seemed to leave him. If his perimeter game picks back up, Rudy could be in for a long night on defense. There is some concern that Rudy Gay is less than 100%, given that the Commercial Appeal reported that he pulled his left hamstring against the Suns, which he feels limited his effectiveness against Denver. If that injury is still bothering him, this matchup could get ugly very quickly.
Advantage: Memphis

Power Forwards: Hakim Warrick vs Mickael Pietrus
Now, on most teams Pietrus would be as much of a PF as Shaq is a SG. But by the Bay, anyone can play anywhere, which is why he gets the start here as far as we can ascertain. Pietrus has responded well to the increase in playing time over the last few weeks, which I find interesting given that Nellie didn't want to play him at all early in the season. Of course, Nellie is known for making unusual decisions and leaving people guessing. Hak will do what Hak does: score and rebound. He'll definitely struggle to defend Pietrus though.
Advantage: Golden State

Centers: Darko Milicic vs Andris Biedrins
Biedrins is a classic high-energy player, which is the classic example of what Darko has trouble with. In other words, expect Biedrins to get the best of him in blocks and rebounds, even if he doesn't score much. Darko's main role should be to block out any and everyone he can to prevent the Warriors from collecting easy second chance points.
Advantage: Golden State

Benches: Memphis vs Golden State
Al Harrington has been sent back to the bench (again, for reasons only Don Nelson knows), giving the Warriors another weapon off the bench as he joins Kelenna Azubuike, Brandan Wright and C.J. Watson as the primary scoring threats in reserve. The Grizzlies still don't have much coming off the bench for them, as they counter with Kyle Lowry, Juan Carlos Navarro, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins.
Advantage: Golden State

Relevant blogs/websites:
Golden State of Mind
The City
Ball Don't Lie - Warriors talk about their first cars
Commercial Appeal - Grizz seek talent like (Monta) Ellis
Tom Ziller (The Fanhouse) - Will Monta Ellis Leave Baron's Shadow?

BallHype: hype it up!


Melvin said...

Its hard to see them winning this one...

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