Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Memphis at Phoenix - 3.11.08

Memphis immediately returned to their struggling ways after getting a rare win over the Nets by looking completely lackluster and disinterested against the Boston Celtics. They shot less than 40% from the field and under 30% from 3-point range while tallying a meager 14 assists. We all recognize that the young Grizzlies have little to play for other than pride right now, but an effort like that is nothing to be proud of.

Phoenix is coming off an emotional win over their hated rivals from San Antonio on Sunday. There are many that believe that this victory is the turning point for a team that had suddenly become quite average after acquiring Shaquille O'Neal last month. If they can scrape together a few more wins to get themselves in position for a decent playoff seed, the rest of the West should be concerned, to be sure.

Point Guards: Mike Conley vs Steve Nash
Let's see if I can do this with a straight face. One is a struggling rookie, the other is a two-time MVP who is currently leading the league in assists per game. I could highlight more differences, but I think I've made my point.
Advantage: Phoenix

Shooting Guards: Mike Miller vs Raja Bell
Raja Bell is having something of a down year, while Mike Miller is posting career highs in rebounding and FG%, as well as his second best PPG average. In their last meeting, Bell started the game 0-9 before closing out what had been a hotly contested match with 3 straight made 3-pointers. Bell's main objective will be to shut down Miller in this game, so it should be an intriguing battle all night long.
Advantage: Memphis

Small Forwards: Rudy Gay vs Grant Hill
Last time they met, Rudy Gay hung a career high 36 points on Grant Hill and the Suns. However, if you watched the game closely, you noticed that Hill played his newfound "crafty veteran" role to a "T" in putting up 23 points of his own. This matchup will come down to youthful exuberance and athleticism versus the sneaky tricks of the old guard and should provide some excitement along the way.
Advantage: Memphis

Power Forwards: Hakim Warrick vs Amare Stoudemire
Here we have two players with offense to spare and an aversion to defense, it would seem. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, Stoudemire is an All-Star caliber player on offense and Hak is not. That, combined with the superior playmaking ability of Amare's teammates will make this an ugly comparison.
Advantage: Phoenix

Centers: Darko Milicic vs Shaquille O'Neal
Darko held his own in their last meeting, but anyone who saw Shaq throwing himself around with reckless abandon against the Spurs knows that this is a player who is beginning to embrace his role as the highest paid hustle guy in the NBA. Darko will need to keep the Big Cactus off the boards in order to keep this game close.
Advantage: Phoenix

Benches: Memphis vs Phoenix
Memphis brings Juan Carlos Navarro, Kyle Lowry, Javaris Crittenton and Jason Collins off the bench. The Suns counter with Leandro Barbosa, Boris Diaw and Brian Skinner. Which one would you rather go to war with? Barbosa and Diaw should feast on the the Grizzlies' lackadaisical defense, while getting several fastbreak opportunities.
Advantage: Phoenix

Enemy Blogs:
Born and Raised
Bright Side of the Sun
The Rising Suns

BallHype: hype it up!

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