This out-of-conference match-up between Memphis and Washington will be one of the better games to watch. The Wizards have shot the ball well and played lockdown defense. They’re in for one of their tougher match-ups against a team that has been spoiling records and turning heads across the league. Look for a great matchup between stars Mike Conley and John Wall, while Marc Gasol battles all-around center Marcin Gortat in the paint.
About the Wizards
The Wizards have won five of their last six games and want to create a winning streak. When the two teams played earlier this year, the Grizzlies won by a slim margin, and it could be argued that the 20 percent from 3-point range was a significant reason for a Wizards loss. That being said, the Wizards haven’t shot below that mark since then, and their 3-PT shooting has been floating around 40.9 percent since the start of January.
The Wizards are still trying to figure out some defensive schemes. In addition, they need a solid game from Markief Morris on both sides of the ball.
Bradley Beal against Tony Allen should be a great matchup. You can bet Beal is going to have a tough time on his hands, if Tony Allen decided to match up against the proven scorer.
About the Grizzlies
The Grizzlies are becoming the team fans have always wanted them to be. This defensive-minded team with the personnel can now score with some of the best teams in the Association. They hold true to their “grit ‘n grind” mentality but now have the spacing for Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph to light up the scoreboard.
Before, the three were busy playing too much defense, and the offense wasn’t nearly as smooth as it has been. Usually, the players are exhausted from a heavy amount of defense. Now, JaMychal Green has stepped up as a great rebounder and defender. Vince Carter can, surprisingly, play a solid 30 minutes. Hopefully, Chandler Parsons can slowly start to creep his way into the group of go-to scorers in Memphis.
The Wizards aren’t a team that will lie down against the dominating Grizzlies, but expect a very hard-fought matchup from both sides.
Keys to win
Make John Wall play defense. Wall is a premier defensive point guard in the league, and the Grizzlies need to make him acually play defense. Many times he is able to relax on defense and teams usually avoid attacking him. Memphis needs to make him run the entire time he’s playing and force Bradley Beal to beat them.
Don’t let Markieff Morris find his jumpshot. Morris is a tall forward with a high-release that’s almost impossible to block. His shot is smooth, and when it falls, it’s not good for oppising teams. The Grizzlies need to limit producion of the players outside of Wall, Beal and Gortat.
Involve the rest of the squad. The Memphis starters are players you do not need to worry about finding their rhythym. Players like James Ennis and Troy Daniels, is the opposite. These players either light it up for a 6-for-10 shooting night, or go 0-for-4 in 22 minutes. If Daniels and Ennis find their shot, this game will be over quickly.
CONTEST OTTO PORTER’S THREES. For some reason, teams like to let Porter shoot his wide-open threes, hoping he has a bad night. He can shoot, play defense and is versatile enough to contribute in every facet of the game. With that, his athleticism is hard to contain. Whether or not he gets off contested shots is all on the Grizzlies’ defense.
The Grizzlies have lost in close games, recently. Although this will be a close game, the Grizzlies should still secure a victory. The Wizards are a great team offensively, but are still figuring out their defense and how to stop teams like the inside-out teams like the Grizzlies. Believe or not, Tony Allen needs to score if Memphis wants to get a win on the road.