Game 2: Mavs vs. Grizzlies Preview

Coming off a nice win over the Bobcats, the Mavs next opponent is going to be the Memphis Grizzlies.

Memphis Grizzlies

                After a resounding season opening win over the Bobcats, the Mavs’ next test is going to come from a rising division rival in the Memphis Grizzlies. Coming off a year in which they nearly finished at .500 and made a significant jump, the Grizzlies largely kept their roster intact as they opted to resign Rudy Gay at a hefty price while bringing in only a couple of role players in Acie Law and Tony Allen through free agency and Xavier Henry and Greivis Vazquez through the draft. While they return nearly everybody, things will be harder for the Grizzlies this year as they will not be able to sneak up on teams the way they did last season. This was particularly evident in their 119-104 home loss to the Hawks to open the season in which pretty much every Atlanta player had their way on offense. While the Grizzlies did lose, they did have a couple of bright spots. While guys like Gay and OJ Mayo are expected to have big games, it was surprising to see Mike Conley, who has been a big question mark at the Point, put up 23 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds. If Conley can play anywhere near the way he did on Wednesday, the Grizzlies could be set for a playoff run this year.

Looking at the rest of the Grizzlies roster, it’s easy to see that they are very young. However, each of the starting five that they lean heavily on has now been in the league for at least a couple of years, which should help them out greatly. A huge key to their season will be how Zack Randolph performs. Coming off a couple of disappointing seasons in New York, Randolph reemerged as a low post threat in helping the Grizzlies improve last year. If he’s as motivated as he was last year, he could make things interesting. Another key is going to resolve around the bench. Though inexperienced, the likes of Hasheem Thabeet, Sam Young, Henry, Carrol, etc. are all going to be key in figuring out how the season’s going to go for the Grizzlies.

Stat Leaders:

Pts

Mike Conley

23.0

Tot

Rudy Gay

10.0

Ast

Mike Conley

8.0

FG%

Xavier Henry

100.0

FT%

Zach Randolph

100.0

3PT%

Sam Young

100.0

Blk

Hasheem Thabeet

2.0

Stl

Sam Young

3.0

Last meeting: April 7, 2010. The Mavs routed the Grizzlies 110-84 as they were led by Butler’s 23 and Dirk’s 22. The Grizzlies played the game shorthanded as they were missing Marc Gasol.

What to look for:                                            

  •  With Gasol and Randolph likely not playing, the Mavs should yet again have the advantage down low. It’ll be interesting to see if Thabeet ever decides to show some of the promise he ever had.
  • Although the Grizzlies are young, they have seemed to bring in a lot of guys with winning experience from very good college programs: Gay, Thabeet, Conley, Carrol, Young, etc. That can only help in the long run.
  • Watch the PG match-up. Conley was easily the Grizzlies’ best player in their opener and it’s going to be a huge key to stop him.

Prediction: Mavs 101-Grizzlies 87. Gay and Mayo will be able to keep it close for a while, but in the end, missing Randolph and/or Gasol will be too much for them to overcome.

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