Pre-Game Jitters: Grizzlies

The Warriors are +7.5 road dogs to the Memphis Grizzlies?  Wow, when is the last time you saw a Warriors/Grizzlies line like that?  Unfortunately, I can’t find much fault with it.  This ain’t your grandpappy’s Grizzlies.  This team has a loaded starting lineup, and they are really starting to play.  In the last three weeks, they’ve beaten the Mavs, the Cavs, and the Nuggets at home.  Impressive.

The still short-handed Warriors are going to have matchup problems all over the floor with the Grizzlies.  Starting with Marc Gasol.  Gasol is 7-1, 265, and is averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds.  Wow.  That much derided Gasol for Gasol trade is looking better with every passing day.  I can’t imagine Nellie starting anyone but Hunter against Gasol, and the Warriors will need a big effort from the rook to have a chance in this game.  Eventually, of course, Nellie will go to Randolph to try and pull the big galoot out of the lane.  But if Randolph’s last effort against Haywood is any example, Randolph will not want any part of Gasol on the defensive end.  Particularly because with Biedrins and Turiaf so close to returning, Randolph can see the light at the end of the switch-to-power-forward tunnel.  Why risk injury now?

The best way the Warriors can defend Gasol is to depend on the Grizzlies’ various black-holes not to pass him the rock.

Their leading, and legendary, black hole is Zach Randolph.  Unfortunately, he is so talented it doesn’t really matter if he passes.  All he did in his last game against the Nuggets was put up 32 and 24.  Vlad Rad and Corey Maggette will have their hands full with ZR.  But he’ll have his hands full as well. In the last Warriors game with Memphis, Nellie attacked Zach Randolph’s defense unmercifully with Stephen Jackson and Maggette.  Look for more of the same tonight.

That leaves Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo.  No problem.  If the last game is any guide, it’ll be Monta on Gay, Curry on Mayo, and Morrow on the non-scoring point guard Mike Conley.  Sweet.

Morrow had a pretty decent game against Memphis the last time out.  (Was that his last decent game this season?)  Will the Grizzlies make the defensive adjustment that other NBA teams have made, and throw a blanket over Chocolate Rain?  The Warriors will need a surprise appearance from Morrow or Vlad Rad to have a chance in this game.

The other big subplot that interests me in this game stars Stephen Curry.  Curry finally broke out for 27 points in the last game.  He was very aggressive looking for his shot right from the get-go.  The Warriors need him in that role.  Can he follow through on the road?

Breakfast Links:

The Chronicle reports that Don Nelson has a big smile on his face.  Here’s why.

Marcus Thompson reports the same story.  If you read closely, you might spot some optimism from Monta Ellis. Welcome back Beans and Rony!

And Marcus Thompson follows up with the ramifications for Anthony Randolph, Corey Maggette and Vlad Rad. Don Nelson play big?  Is the end of the world at hand?  Some of us have been predicting it.

Part Un Deux et Trois of AB1’s epic sit-down with Marcus Thompson over at GSoM.  Why does the media hate Don Nelson? Is there a future for the Ellis/Curry backcourt?  Edification awaits.

4 Responses to Pre-Game Jitters: Grizzlies

  1. CURSE OF MULLIN

    Felt: Nellie’s losing it. Three weeks ago, AR can’t handle the 4 so has to play bup 5, can’t even remember the plays, doesn’t follow the gameplan. Two weeks ago, AR is on the trading block according to multiple sources in the FO. This week, AR is a “blessed” player, starting 4 AND WE’RE GOING TO BE RUNNING SOME OF OUR OFFENSE THROUGH HIM? Kind of a radical turn-around, don’t you think? I would call this very erratic treatment of a young player. We can’t possibly ascribe all of this simply to: (1) an attitudinal shift in AR, and/or (2) AB and RT coming back (that doesn’t help AR follow the gameplan or cut out bonehead plays).

  2. Don’t get too caught up in what you read in the press, COM. First of all, I think you’ve misinterpreted some it. The Warriors FO had absolutely nothing to say on the subject of Randolph. Those reports came from sources on other teams. And those reports did not say he was “on the trading block.” That was simply the spin the trouble-mongering media put on it. The reports said that the Warriors were now willing to discuss trade proposals that included him, which they were not open to doing previously. That is a far cry from actively shopping him.

    Secondly, what Don Nelson tells the meddlesome press is often far different from the understanding he has with his players behind closed doors. Nellie has been working Randolph at back-up center for two reasons: 1) Because the desperately short-handed Warriors needed him there, and 2) Because Nellie felt it was the best place for him to work on the things that Nellie wants him to run at the power-forward slot.

    How about taking a sip of Lagavulin, and sitting back to enjoy a team at close to full strength, and playing the kind of lineups that Nellie envisioned from the start of the season?

  3. This one could get real damn ugly, real damn quick. In addition to our usual ineptitude on the road, we’re facing a red-hot Grizzlies team that is absolutely vicious on the glass. They’re the best offensive rebounding team in the league by a mile; we’re the worst defensive rebounding team in the league by a mile. If we grab half the balls that come off of the backboard we’re defending, it’ll be a moral victory.

    We can only win if 1) Morrow wakes up, as ‘Bot points out; 2) Randolph has a consistently smart game on both sides of the ball, and 3) we run like absolute gangbusters, to force the Grizz to go to their terrible bench early and often. I don’t like the odds of all three of those things happening. Pass the Lagavulin, in other words… let’s just try not to embarrass ourselves too badly between now and Saturday.

  4. CURSE OF MULLIN

    Lagavulin? Yeah, I’ll have a glass of whatever HE”S drinking! : )