Game On: Grizzlies @ Pelicans

Published: December 13, 2013

A wounded bear arrives to eat. Will he lose his eyes?

The Grizzlies have been bitten by the injury bug this season and they have missed games from centerpieces Marc Gasol (9 and counting) Zach Randolph (2), Tony Allen (5 and counting) Jerryd Bayless(2), Ed Davis (6) and Quincy Pondexter (6 and counting).  Gasol and Pondexter will miss the game tonight, while Allen and Ed Davis may not play.

So what is the impact when you play almost half your game without Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol?  A fall from the 2nd best defense . . . to the 22nd best defense.  Since offense has never been this team’s strong suit, that is pretty much crushing.  The result is a team that allows 4.2 more points per 100 posessions than it scores – which usually equates to a team that wins about a third of their games.

Of course, the Pelicans are coming in with some injuries themselves, so nothing will ever be easy.

Keys to the Game

  • Lock in on Conley.  With Gasol out and Jerryd Bayless struggling mightily, the Grizzlies have exactly one player who can attack a defense, break it down, and create shots for himself – or others.  That’s Conley.  The Grizzlies point guard is quick, and it will not be easy to contain him, but if they can limit his penetration, Memphis’s offense will sputter.
  • Be aware of the shooters.  there are exactly two of them on this team – Jon Leuer and Mike Miller.  Neither of them are fleet of foot.  Neither of them have much else to their game at this point.  Both can set you on fire from deep.  Rotate to these guys at the very least.
  • Attack the rim.  The Grizzlies have given up a lot of free throws since Gasol went down and no longer cut off driving lanes to the basket.  Get free throws and easy shots.

Enjoy the game

(Side note:  I too have seen the rumors of a trade for Zach Randolph.  There is no part of that trade that makes sense – financially, or as a fit for the team or Dell Demps’ plan of acquiring young veterans.  We should, however, continue to expect these rumors as long as the Pelicans two best big men play the same position.  Other teams – and their rumor-generating crowds – will look at Anderson, his production, his salary, and his unique skill set and tell themselves he must be available because AD is on the team.)


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