Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Memphis at Sacramento - 3.26.08

Memphis has won 3 games in their last 5 games and have played some of the most inspired ball of the season as the young players adjust to Iavaroni's coaching philosophy and the grind of the NBA season. If not for a 4th quarter explosion by JR Smith Memphis may actually have won three games in a row. The team is attacking teams now and playing better defensively overall.

Sacramento is on a 3 game losing streak that started in San Antonio with stops in Memphis and Houston. However Sacramento is also on a 3 game winning streak at home and plays with far more confidence and swagger at Arco Arena (21-12) than away from home (10-27). Sacramento is 0-2 against Memphis on the road this season but beat Memphis at home 116-113 with a stirring comeback and have won 18 consecutive game against the Grizzlies in Arco Arena.

Point Guards: Mike Conley vs Anthony Johnson
Johnson is 6-3 and that is a big boy for Conley to guard. Welcome to the NBA rookie. However Conley has a lot more quickness than Johnson and can use that speed to get into the lane, force Sacramento's bigs to collapse on him and dish off to Rudy, Hakim and Darko for easy baskets. Assuming that Conley can hit a few outside shots early in the game to force Johnson to guard him out there. He was successful doing that last week in Memphis but it hasn't been a strong point of his game on the road where he is hitting only 38.5% of his FG attempts. Beano Udrih should be back to full strength for this game as well.
Advantage: Sacramento

Shooting Guards: Mike Miller vs Kevin Martin

Classic matchup of two strong SG's in the league. KMart's unorthodox release catches defenders off guard and he is deadly from all over the court. Miller's range is even better than KMart's but he doesn't drive with the ball as well. That is why KMart averages 5.83 more free throw attempts per game and scores 6 more points a game as well. KMart gets to the line more at home as well.
Advantage: Sacramento

Small Forwards: Rudy Gay vs Ron Artest

Rudy had a nice game against Sacramento last week but this week is a whole new ballgame. Ron Artest is a lot better defensively than John Salmons. Rudy won't be as free to operate on the perimeter and things will be far more difficult underneath with Ron trying to push him out. Artest has elevated his game lately as well averaging 23.3 ppg in his last 10 games with 6.0 rpg, 2.7 spg and 2.6 apg.
Advantage: Sacramento

Power Forwards: Hakim Warrick vs Mikki Moore

Mikki Moore looks like he should be more than he is. Too bad because he looks ferocious! His 8.3 ppg (2nd best of his career) and 6.2 rpg (high mark of his career) means he is having one of the best seasons of his career but after 9 years in the NBA it isn't likely to get a lot better than this either. Warrick has had some good games against Sacremento this season averaging 14.0 ppg and 8.3 rpg despite only starting 2 of the 3 games. His speed frustrates Moore as does his range. That shouldn't change in this game.
Advantage: Memphis

Centers: Darko Milicic vs Brad MillerDarko suffered a step back in his development Monday night against Denver where he simply couldn't stay with Marcus Camby. That shouldn't be a big issue in this game because Miller just might be slower than Darko. However Miller has better range on his shots and is a stronger rebounder and defender. Another 10 year veteran Miller knows all the little tricks of the trade that Darko is still struggling to learn.
Advantage: Sacramento

Benches: Memphis vs Sacramento

With the return of Artest and Miller and the expected return of Udrih to the starting lineup the Kings are far stronger now than in Memphis. Throw Salmons, Hawes and AJ to the bench with Garcia and Douby and you have a deep and active team that loves to compete. Memphis' bench of Navarro, Lowry, JCritt and Collins isn't as big, strong but is way faster.
Advantage: Sacramento

Relevant Blogs/Commentary:
Sactown Royalty

BallHype: hype it up!

1 comment:

the serbian swatter said...

I disagree with your analysis of Darko's performance against Denver. The big Serb only played 11 minutes due to 4 phantom fouls granted to him in the first half for simply standing next to opposing players. The only foul he technically committed was due to that ridiculous little circle under the hoop. That's such a stupid rule. It has basically incentivized offensive players to lower their shoulder near the hoop since they know any contact will be construed as a blocking foul. Anyway, Darko was also pulled from the game early in the third quarter do to his ailing foot, which was subsequently proven to be injured when he tested it for two minutes in the fourth quarter.

To say that "Darko simply couldn't stay with Marcus Camby" isn’t valid since Darko's limited PT effectively eliminated any contest between the two.