Grizzlies @ Pelicans Open Thread

Published: January 9, 2015

The Pelicans (17-18) host the Grizzlies (25-10) tonight at the Smoothie King Center at 7ct.  It is the second meeting between the divisional foes this season, with Memphis taking the first 93-81, holding the Pelicans to an awful 33.7% from the field.

The Pelicans come in on a disappointing two-game losing streak since the return of Eric Gordon, still sitting in 9th in the West, just a half game ahead of OKC (17-19).  New Orleans has yet find any consistency from game to game, failing to string together more than 2 wins all season (tho they have only lost more than 2 in a row once as well).  The Grizzlies meanwhile have had some struggles of their own of late, going 4-6 in their last ten.  The loss of Zach Randolph, who has been out the last 9 with a knee injury, hasn’t helped, but he is likely to return tonight.

The Grizzlies boast a 17-2 record against sub-.500 teams.  If the Pelicans want to win they’ll have to play better than their record.  Here are some keys to the game:

  • Win the TO battle – Both New Orleans and Memphis are among the tops in the league in AST/TO (Memphis at 1.78, N.O. at 1.68).  Both run a pretty slow pace (Memphis 27th in the league, N.O. 22nd).  On their current 4-6 run, the Grizzlies are averaging about 4 more TO per game than their season average.  The turnover battle in this game will be huge.
  • Battle of the Bigs – The loss of Randolph showed the lack of front court depth the Grizzlies have, as his spot has been filled by Jon Leuer and, more recently, rookie Jarnell Stokes.  His return will be big for Memphis, but will Asik, Davis, and Anderson be able to match Gasol, Randolph, and Co?
  • Outside shot – Both teams are among the best in the league at scoring in the paint, but Memphis’ more experienced team defends from the inside out very well.  The Pelicans don’t take a ton of 3’s and their best 3pt shooter is having his worst year from deep as a pro.  Over their last 4 games the Pelicans are shooting 32.3% (23/71) from 3, and the only reason it is that high is a 7-15 performance against Houston (the only game New Orleans won in their last 4).  Knocking down some outside shots will keep the Pelicans offense, one that averages 106.8 at home, going and hopefully open up Memphis’ defense.

The Pelicans have matched up well against the Grizzlies over the last couple of seasons, with their length being a big factor, but the Pelicans have not faired well against physical teams this year and need a win to avoid a season high-tying 3 game losing streak.


Enjoy the game!



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