Back to business: Grizzlies vs Trailblazers preview

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The waiting is finally over, basketball is back!

After watching our astute young owner Robert Pera and beloved big man Marc Gasol ball out during All Star Weekend in their respective games, Grizzlies fans have been waiting not so patiently for the return of regular play.
I’m glad that our guys got a much deserved rest, and indeed Memphis had the longest break of any team in the league. That being said, going cold turkey for almost two weeks during such an exciting season has been tough.

But let’s put that thought behind us, because tonight the Grizzlies are getting back to business, and will meet up again with the Trailblazers in Portland.
The Grizzlies came away victorious in our first two meetings this season, although Zach Randolph struggled the last time we met them on their turf. Some of that might have been mental, as Randolph did not exactly receive a warm welcome from fans when he returned to Portland as an opponent. I have a pretty good feeling that won’t be a factor in tonight’s game.

However, the Blazers did make a move right at the trade deadline that sent Will Barton, Victor Claver, Thomas Robinson, and a protected 2016 draft pick to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for shooting guard Arron Afflalo and small forward Alonzo Gee.

I’m not certain whether those new additions to the roster will be playing tonight, but it may not matter because the Blazers have Wesley Matthews, who has been a real thorn in the Grizzlies side this season. One crucial thing tonight will be the Grizzlies ability to keep Matthews off the three point line, where he has shot an impressive 14 for 26 against Memphis in the previous two games.

Speaking of three point shooting, that has been the Grizzlies Achilles heel as Courtney Lee and Jeff Green have been struggling with consistency from long range. Hopefully having the extended break to rest and regroup will have had an effect.

Ideally, I’d love to see the Grizzlies come out and show Portland just why it is we are the number 2 team in the West, and number 3 in the league.
And if we could get a return of the monster that was Marc Gasol in the early part of the season, it would certainly help ensure that Memphis stays in a top seed for the playoffs.

Tip-off is at 8 PM CST. Be sure to tune in locally on Fox Sports South, or listen to the radio cast on 92.9 FM

Aimee Stiegemeyer
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