The Memphis Grizzlies are on the road again, following a Grindhouse victory over Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday night. The win extended their streak to four, preceded by three consecutive road wins against the Utah Jazz, L.A. Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks. The opposing Hornets look to bounce back from a tough loss to the New Orleans Pelicans and get back to the win column. The all-time record between the two teams is 19-16 in favor of Charlotte.
MEM – Chandler Parsons (OUT – knee), Tony Allen (Questionable – groin), Brandan Wright (OUT – ankle)
CHA – Jeremy Lamb (OUT), Cody Zeller (Questionable)
About the Hornets (8-4, 4-2 home)
Jumping out to a 6-1 start, the Charlotte hornets came out of the gate HOT this season. Since then, they’ve gone 2-3, with one of those losses to a struggling New Orleans team. Although their 3rd place standing passes the eye test, a victory over the Atlanta Hawks is by far the most notable win.
Led by point guard Kemba Walker’s 23 points per game (47 percent shooting), the Hornets are averaging 105 points as a team this season – just about 10 points higher than the Grizzlies’ average.
About the Grizzlies (8-5, 3-3 road)
After a much needed home victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday night, the Grizzlies moved to fourth place overall in the Western Conference, just 3.5 games behind the Clippers (who they just beat, by the way). Memphis is currently pursuing a fifth win to complement a four-game winning streak.
It seems that Andrew Harrison has secured the back-up point guard role, as the Grizzlies announced yesterday that first-round draft pick Wade Baldwin has been demoted to the Iowa Energy, the Grizzlies D-League affiliate.
Led by veteran duo Mike Conley and Mark Gasol, the Grizzlies average just above 96 points per game. Conley and Gasol contribute nearly 50 percent of that, averaging 18.3 and 17.5 points, respectively.
Keys to Win
Take advantage of a Zeller absence. The Grizzlies big men have done more than prove they can score on prominent counterparts across the league (Towns, Griffin). Gasol and Zach Randolph should have no problems doing the same to Roy Hibbert and Frank Kaminsky.
Lock down Kemba Walker. Recently, the Grizzlies back court has successfully held Andrew Wiggins and Chris Paul to 7 and 9 points, respectively. As long as our guard ensemble continues to provide, the Hornets leader will struggle.
CRASH THE BOARDS. Charlotte ranks eighth in the NBA in total rebounds, compared to Memphis at No. 24 (Golden State is 25, though). Win the rebounding battle, win the game.
Score 100 points! Memphis is good at defense. Charlotte is also good at defense. However, Charlotte scores nearly 10 more points every night than the Grizz do. A strong defensive stand tonight means nothing if we can’t put points on the board. Breaking the 100-mark is essential against a fast paced Hornets team.
The Hornets don’t have any impressive victories. Memphis does. The Hornets are no longer on a hot streak. Memphis is on the hottest streak. Expect the Grizz to grind out a win in Charlotte, playing a key role in the Hornets’ slow collapse.