Game On: Hornets @ Grizzlies
The Hornets are in Memphis this evening to take on the Grizzlies, both teams lottery-bound and trying to keep their heads held high in the last two weeks of the season. Game tips at 7 Central.
The Grizzlies are 38-36 on the season, 22-16 at home and have lost three straight, the last two in overtime. Chip Crain from 3 Shades of Blue tells us how it is:
It’s simple with the Grizzlies. Let them get a big lead and watch them blow it down the stretch. There is no such thing as an easy win for the least experienced team in the NBA and one of the youngest as well.
Memphis has blown double digit leads in games 16 times this season – including an 11 pt lead with just over 4 minutes remaining against Dallas Wednesday night - and ended up losing the game. No telling how many more times they lost a double digit lead only to come back and win in the end. If the Grizzlies had just gone 8-8 in those 16 games they would be safely in the playoffs this season.
The problem isn’t the starting five which is strong all around but the bench which doesn’t have one reliable scorer in the lot. Ronnie Brewer was acquired to strengthen the bench and instead has missed 14 of the 17 games he could have played in due to a sore hammy. The other main bench players are Marcus Williams, rookies Sam Young, Hasheem Thabeet, DeMarre Carroll and second year player Darrell Arthur. The only one with any real game experience is Williams who washed out of the NBA last season and was found playing ball in Puerto Rico. The starters have been healthy this season which has allowed the Grizzlies to flirt with a .500 season but if the team had to deal with the injuries the Hornets have suffered through the season would have been another disaster.
The Hornets have beaten the Grizzlies home and away this season, but lost the last meeting, 100-104, a month ago in New Orleans. Mike Conley and Darren Collison battled hard in that one, while Zach Randolph delivered 23 and 11 for the Grizzlies and Marcus Thornton poured in 24 for the Hornets.
Pace: Grizzlies 96.0 (9th), Hornets 94.6 (17th)
Offensive Efficiency: Grizzlies 105.1 (12th), Hornets 104.9 (15th)
Defensive Efficiency: Grizzlies 106.9 (21st), Hornets 107.1 (23rd)