Grizzlies v. Heat: Will A New Streak Begin?
Grizzlies look to bounce back after losing two straight games against division rivals Rockets and Spurs. The loss against the Spurs at home Friday was the first regular season home loss since February 5, 2014 against the Dallas Mavericks. The Grizzlies 22 consecutive regular season home win came to an abrupt end. Grizzlies (15-4) will try to start a new streak this afternoon against the Miami Heat (9-10) in the Grindhouse at 5pm. The Miami Heat have dropped three straight games. Both teams have something to prove and need a win.
What to watch for:
Marc Gasol vs Chris Bosh will be a formidable matchup. In the 2 games from last season, Marc averaged 17 points and Bosh averaged 12. Both players are playing very well this season. Bosh is averaging 21.8 points per game, 8.7 rebounds. Gasol is averaging 19.8 points per game and 8.2 rebounds. They’re evenly matched and should be fun to watch.
Zach Randolph should have himself a pretty good game against the Heat. He probably will be mad after he had a bad game against the Spurs. He averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds against the Heat in the 2 games from last season. Shawne Williams or Josh McRoberts will go up against him. In the preseason game back in October, Randolph and Williams had some words. Will Zbo be dominate against Miami once again?
Battle of the benches
The benches are just about evenly matched. Through 19 games, the Heat bench is averaging 25.1 points per game and the Grizzlies bench is averaging slightly higher at 30 points per game. Which bench will prevail in this game? Will the starters of both teams have to play extended minutes?
Tony Allen and Courtney Lee will have a tough task ahead of them defending Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng (who may come back from injury). If both get hot, Grizzlies will have a long evening ahead of them. They can’t allow Wade and Deng to get to rule the perimeter or get to the basket.
The Point Guards
Mike Conley will face either Mario Chalmers or Norris Cole. Cole missed the last two games due to an illness. Conley needs to take care of the ball and not turn it over. Norris Cole is pesky and will be over the place if he returns to action tonight. Conley will have drive to the lane to get going or find the open man like he did in the Spurs game. Grizzlies need a grade A performance from their floor general.
Grizzlies were riding high at 15-2 with the best record in the league. And just like that, they’re on a two game losing streak and have dropped to 3rd in the Western Conference. The West is so loaded with good teams. There’s hardly any room for error. I’m smart enough to know, the Grizzlies were going to lose to a Western conference team eventually. That perfect record wasn’t going to stand. Now the Grizzlies have to regroup. They cannot come out the gate slow against the Heat. They have to be productive against the Heat on both ends of the floor. They have to rely on their big men this game. Miami usually have trouble defending in the paint. Grizzlies also need to defend the 3 pointer. Both the Rockets and Spurs exposed the Grizzlies in that area. The Rockets made 10 3- pointers and the Spurs made 14. The Grizzlies get burned on 3 most of the time when they help on defense. Every player need to stay on his man out on the perimeter. Teams will figure out their weaknesses and take it to them. The Grindhouse needs to be protected tonight. The Grizzlies can’t really afford to keep this losing streak going. A new winning streak must start today. They must grind to the very end. December will be a true test for their resolve. However, I think they’re up for the challenge. Go Grizzlies!