Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Grizzlies at Miami - 10/21/08

Memphis struggled in their first road game in a while. Indiana basically crushed the young Grizzlies behind the return of Mike Dunleavy. OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay played well offensively but were the only players who contributed. Defensively the team looked out of sync the entire night. Games like this are going to happen to the Grizzlies as they learn to adapt to each other and the NBA. What should be interesting to watch will be how do they respond to the thrashing. If they pick themselves back up and play better in the next game that will go a long way toward building confidence in the system and each other. Back to back blowouts could spell the end.

Miami seemed to be taking a page from the Grizzlies marketing notebook by opening a practice session up to the public. Instead of doing it on a Saturday morning when a lot of people could attend they decided to do it on a Thursday night instead. Interesting call for a team that won 15 games last year and is 0-3 so far in the pre-season. DWade, Beasely and surprisingly Marcus Banks have looked good so far. Shawn Marion is not pushing himself too hard right now averaging only 9 ppg and 6 rpg but it is only pre-season. Mark Blount has been terrible so far and that leaves a big whole in the middle for Miami and Udonis Haslem isn't enough to fill it by himself. Expect Miami to run small ball a lot this season.

Point Guards: Mike Conley vs Marcus Banks
Mike Conley had his first bad game of the pre-season in his hometown of Indiana going 0-5 from the field and only 1 assist. Quite a drop from his performance earlier in the week against T J Ford. Marcus Banks has been a pleasant surprise so far this season but rumors of Miami wanting Jamaal Tinsley, one of the Grizzlies PG's and anyone else who can play the point should tell you how much faith Pat Riley has in his point guard.
Advantage: Memphis

Shooting Guards: O J Mayo vs Dwayne Wade
Dwayn Wade was one of the most impressive players on the Olympic team. O J Mayo was one of the most impressive members of the US Select team that trained the Olympic team. O J is going to want to build on the good reputation he got from the pre-Olympics workout and show DWayne what he's got and where he's improved. Dwayne knows how long an NBA season is and won't exert too much effort in this game unless Mayo tries to show him up early. Then he's likely to slap down the rookie and show him what a Superstar can do in this league.
Advantage: Miami

Small Forwards: Rudy Gay vs Shawn Marion
Marion wants a big contract this summer. His negotiation stance isn't that great however with Michael Beasley seemingly catching him off the bench. Marion is from West Memphis and can play PF as well as SF so this may be an audition for Marion. A deal where he gets traded for Darko and a PG could be discused. Rudy has looked great in the pre-season despite not rebounding well. Expectations are for him to continue to coast by on talent until the real games begin trying to integrate his teammates into the offense while focusing on defense.
Advantage: Miami

Power Forwards: Darko Milicic vs Udonis Haslem
Udonis Haslem is not looking over his shoulder worried about Michael Beasley's strong play in the pre-season because even if Beasley moves into the starting lineup it won't be at his expense. He'll just play an undersized C instead. Matching up against Darko is a good prequel to what his season could be like in that respect. Darko was terrible offensively against Indiana and won't find the going any easier against Haslem but in 20 minutes he did grab 7 boards. If Darko can contain himself to rebounding, defense and putback shots he should be effective. If he continues to try and force himself into the offense things may get ugly.
Advantage: Miami

Centers: Marc Gasol vs Mark Blount
If there is a weaker team at the center position than Memphis than Miami just might be it. Memphis has two rookies and a bust former second pick in the draft. And that makes them much stronger in the middle than Miami. Mark Blount is softer than Pau Gasol and won't enjoy Marc's tougher style of play. Gasol had an off-night shooting against Indiana but his 4 assists and 7 boards show the potential he has in being a team player. Despite his physical play Marc is not getting into early foul trouble which reflects his experience.
Advantage: Memphis

Benches: Memphis vs Miami
Neither team can boast a strong bench but Memphis doesn't have Michael Beasley coming off of their bench so first thought is Miami has the advantage? But is that really the case? Kyle Lowry, Marco Jaric and Javaris Crittenton should all want to put on a good show to impress Riley to trade for them. Hakim Warrick will want to show Iavaroni he can play defense and still score and frankly Miami's bench is extremely bare after Beasley. Chris Quinn looks sharp at times but is nothing more than a career backup PG. Mario Chambers just may be the best PG on the team despite being a rookie and not highly regarded. DeQuan Cook is deadly when hot but suffers from thinking he's hot more often than he really is. Diawara and Anthony are the only other players contributing and they aren't doing much.
Advantage: Memphis

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