Mike Conley

Game Info

  • Tip Off: 5:00 PM
  • Television: CSNBayHD

Memphis Grizzlies Team Profile

  • Offensive Efficiency: 99.6 (21st in NBA)
  • Defensive Efficiency: 102.2 (tied for 16th in NBA)

Scope the Opposition: 3 Shades of Blue.

Preview: The Golden State Warriors (11-9) started their three-game road trip last night and were shellacked by the Houston Rockets (14-7) by 22 points. The Dubs will look to bounce back tonight in a contest against the Memphis Grizzlies (9-9).

Memphis is without Marc Gasol who has a sprained MCL that technically should keep him out of the lineup for up to four weeks. The Grizzlies have lost three-of-five games since he went down and are in danger of potentially missing the playoffs without him.

The reigning Defensive Player of the Year is a big part of the team by virtue of his contributions on both sides of the ball. On the defensive end, Gasol has not been as great as last season, but that is probably a product of the new coaching regime.

The new philosophy has shifted the players’ focus a little and as a result, the defense has slipped. Indeed, Memphis does not force turnovers at the same rate it did under Lionel Hollins.

The Grizzlies are in the league’s bottom-third rankings in opponents’ turnovers per game and that has been a big reason why they have not stopped teams in 2013-14 much like they have in the past.

They are still good at limiting interior baskets as evidenced by the fact they only allow 39.4 points in the paint per game according to Team Rankings (11th best in the league).

They accomplish this by packing the paint and conceding mid-range jumpers to inefficient shooters. Thus, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry will get the brunt of their attention tonight, meanwhile, David Lee will probably be allowed to take as many jumpers as he desires from that distance.

Add in the fact that he is only converting 27.7 percent of his mid-range field goals per NBA.com, and clearly that is a great strategy for Memphis. Keep in mind, Lee’s field goal shooting has dipped in the absence of Andre Iguodala.

Per NBAWowy, the southpaw is only converting 44.7 percent of his shots with Iguodala off the court, and 51.9 percent with him on. The reason is simple: Iguodala routinely hit Lee while cutting to the hoop.

The absence of that component has limited some of Lee’s scoring chances. The Florida product has actually shot the ball well against Memphis this season but it’s fair to wonder if that will be the case tonight.

Iguodala played in the first two contests against the Grizzlies and yet, Golden State shot 43.1 percent from the field. Lee actually made a combined 13-of-25 shots (52 percent) from the field.

His play tonight will go a long way towards determining how Memphis will deal with the Splash Brothers. If he catches the ball in the pick-and-roll looking to attack, it will open up the floor for his teammates. Also, if his jumper is falling, the Grizzlies will undoubtedly have to adjust.

On the other side of the ball, Memphis’ offense has taken a hit since losing Gasol because they now lack their pressure release point. Zach Randolph can make good passes from the high post to cutters provided he does not face pressure. Otherwise, the offense will stagnate.

The Grizzlies rely on ball movement as well as cutting and screening, which allows them to generate open jumpers. However, the team is lacking shooters and consequently, well they struggle to convert from distance.

Tonight’s matchup offers some intrigue and also a bit of a big brother feel. Memphis has owned Golden State in recent seasons, but the Dubs have a chance to actually fight back and draw a line the sand. Let’s see if they have it in them.

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