Blazers Look to Take Care of the Griz at Home
Team Records: Memphis (25-19) at Portland (21-25)
Game Info: 7 p.m., TV on CSNNW, radio on 750 the Game
Vegas Line: Memphis -1.
Refs: Rodney Mott, Kane Fitzgerald, Scott Wall.
The Skinny: The Blazers look to bounce back from Tuesday’s home debacle vs. the Bucks versus the NBA’s “all characters” team, the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies recently signed Gilbert Arenas, who was amnestied by Orlando prior to the start of this season and just got Zach Randolph back from an extended injury. The Grizzlies have been up and down as of late, losing three of their last four and are coming off a loss in Sacramento Tuesday.
Last Time They Met: The Blazers used a 22-2 run late in the first half and early in the second to put away Memphis. They won going away as Aldridge scored 23 points and Camby notched 23 rebounds.
Projected Grizzlies Lineup:
PF: Zach Randolph (Michigan State, 11th season) – 16.2 PPG, 8 RPG, .8 APG
SF: Rudy Gay (Connecticut, 6th season) – 19.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.4 APG
C: Marc Gasol (Spain, 4th season) – 15.8 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 3 APG
SG: Tony Allen (Oklahoma State, 8th season) – 10.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.1 APG
PG: Michael Conley (Ohio State, 5th season) – 13 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 7.3 APG
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="356" caption="Image Courtesy of zimbio.com"][/caption]
Player to Watch: Marc Gasol (pictured at right) – It was only a few years ago that Marc was famously traded for his brother Pau in a trade that put the Lakers on a path to back to back titles. It took Marc a few more years but he has finally become a star in his own right. He is more a typical center than his brother is, capable of banging inside to get rebounds or score close to the hoop. He does a good job of getting to the free throw line although ironically he’s not the greatest at driving to the basket on his own. Marc is a force inside on defense and especially good at blocking shots. As he continues to develop he will only become better for Memphis.
Did You Know?: Michael Conley has forced at least 2 steals in 14 straight games, the longest such streak since Rondo did it in 2010 and tied for the 8th longest such streak in NBA history.
Song of the Day: “Bad Boys” by Inner Cricle. I can never resist an opportunity to make fun of Arenas, or Memphis signing him. Its almost too easy. Enjoy:
Portland: Out – SG Elliot Williams (Shoulder), PF Shawne Williams (Foot).
Memphis: Out – PF Darrell Arthur (Achilles)
Re-Evaluating Memphis: Jail Blazers South?
Yes I am well aware that bringing up the “Jail Blazers” term among Blazer fans is not exactly the most popular thing in the world. Still, after signing Arenas earlier this week and with Zach Randolph already on the team (and still having members of his “Hoop Family” commit crimes at his Portland house according to recent reports), it is worth asking if Memphis is trying to test the old theory that talent overcomes questionable character. With Portland it certainly didn’t work but at least with Memphis Arenas is on a short term deal and Randolph himself seems to have cleaned up his act. So maybe in the end this comparison is wrong, but it is still interesting to consider.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They take care of the ball. If Portland doesn’t turn the ball against Memphis, they will take away Memphis’ primary offensive weapon and will almost certainly defeat them Thursday.
Memphis wins if: They are able to stretch the Portland defense. Memphis is not a great jump shooting team. If they can reverse that, get hot tonight and stretch the Portland defense, opening up the inside to easy baskets, they should be able to score enough points to win.