Cavaliers host NBA's top defensive team in Grizzlies, winners of 10 of past 11.
By SAM AMICOFS Ohio
Cavs are expected to have all their starters back, with
Dion Waiters (stomach virus) returning after a two-game absence. But it’s the reserves who will be fired up for this one -- as Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington came to Cleveland from Memphis in a late-January trade. Clearly, those two have helped make the Cavs more relevant. At the same time, the Grizzlies have hardly skipped a beat. They’ve won 10 of 11, with the lone loss coming at Miami.
• Waiters will go head-to-head with perhaps the league’s most underrated backcourt defender in Allen. Welcome back, Dion.
• In fact, all of the Grizzlies do it with defense. They lead the NBA in points allowed -- surrendering a measly 89.4 points per game.
• Grizzlies starting power forward Zach Randolph, the team’s lone All-Star representative, missed the previous two games with a sprained ankle. He’s questionable for Friday.
• The Grizzlies are 11-3 since trading Rudy Gay to Toronto. They received Prince and forward Austin Daye (Detroit), and Davis (Toronto), in the deal.
• The Cavs have a tendency to surrender big leads (Phoenix, New York), and the Grizzlies have a tendency to overcome them. They came back to beat Dallas after trailing by 25 on Feb. 27, then came from 17 down to win their next home game vs. Portland.
• Memphis is 10-1 when shooting at least 50 percent from the field, and 29-2 when shooting a better field-goal percentage than its opponent.
• Five of the Grizzlies’ 13 players are left-handed -- Conley, Davis, Prince, Randolph and rookie Tony Wroten.