Grizz look to maintain best records at Portland
Four hours till tip, so just a short preview of today’s game.
Opponents: Portland Trail Blazers
Arena: Moda Center
Tip Off: 21:00 CT
Projected Starting Five:
Grizzlies: Mike Conley, Courtney Lee, Tony Allen, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol
Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez
What to watch tonight:
With league officially denying Kings’ protest for their Nov. 13 loss against Grizzlies, today might be the only time in Grizz franchise history that we might get 2 wins in one day. More good news is, Grizzlies are currently sharing league best records at 13-2 with Toronto Raptors. If Toronto lose to Dallas tonight, we can even take sharing off that sentence.
With all that said, tonight definitely won’t be an easy game. Portland, a team that cracked into playoff in the tough West last year with their fluent and efficient offense, have improved their defense this year and have established themselves as a top 4 team in an even wilder West early on. Per 100 possessions, Portland rank at 3rd on offense and 5th on defense; for comparison, Grizzlies rank at 8th on offense and 4th on defense. Needless to say, it would take a lot for Grizz to get a win against a team that can execute well on both end of the floor tonight.
Matchup wise, both teams will look to slow down each other’s best scorer, Aldridge and Gasol. Robin Lopez will be the Portland player with the task to guard Marc Gasol, who is having a break-out year with a slimmer frame. Unlike his brother Brook who has been more of a scorer, Robin is a blue-collar big man who plays tough defense and possesses shot-blocking ability. Moreover, Robin has been known for his aggressiveness down the block and he will definitely try to disrupt every entry pass Marc receives and battle for position relentlessly to make Marc uncomfortable. But Marc is stronger and slightly taller than Robin, so he should look to gain inside position quickly and aggressively attack in the paint. As for Aldridge, Grizzlies can either let their best one on one defender Marc handle the task, or leave Aldridge to Zach so Marc can save some strength on defensive end. Either way, whoever guards Aldridge will try to interfere with his rhythm at mid-range, where his game heavily relies on.