Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Grizzlies-Bobcats Game Preview

Posted By on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 12:19 PM

The Commish is in town.
  • The Commish is in town.

The Grizzlies try to extend their current win streak to a season-best four game tonight when they host the Charlotte Bobcats at FedExForum. The Bobcats are a disappointing 9-15 on the season, but have played essentially .500 since their 1-6 start. They come into town after a 97-91 home win against the Toronto Raptors last night. I'll be tweeting during the game from @FlyerGrizBlog and will have a post-game notebook up a couple of hours after the final buzzer. Until then, three thoughts:

1. David Stern in Town: NBA commissioner David Stern is in town for tonight's game. Wednesday night against the Bobcats in unusually cold weather? Should be a great crowd for the commish! Stern will be speaking at a "Chalk Talk" for season-ticket holders at 6 p.m. tonight and will be meeting the media, briefly, afterwards.

2. Stopping Stephen Jackson: The Bobcats primary scorer, Stephen Jackson, is one of the biggest two guards in the league at 6'8" and is taking six three-pointers a game on 39% shooting, so he could pose a big problem for the Grizzlies. He has in the past, where he's been one of O.J. Mayo's toughest match-ups. Jackson averaged 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists in two games against the Grizzlies last season. So it will be interesting to see what happens to the Grizzlies' deep, ever-evolving two-guard rotation tonight. Xavier Henry will get the start, and as the biggest of the team's three options at the position, he has a chance to play the most minutes if he's effective. If he's not, re-emerging defensive specialist Tony Allen could take over. Certainly, a Jackson-Allen match-up has a chance to be, um spirited. Where will this leave O.J. Mayo? With a 6'8" Jackson averaging 36 minutes at the two spot for Charlotte and the athletically dominant Gerald Wallace manning small forward for 39 minutes a night, match-up problems might limit Mayo's minutes — unless he lights it up when he does get the call.

3. Winning the Inside Battle: At first glance you might think the Grizzlies would have a big advantage in the frontcourt tonight, but the Bobcats' relatively no-name four-man frontcourt rotation — power forwards Boris Diaw and Tyrus Thomas and centers Nazr Mohammed and Kwame Brown — has been as effective this year as the Grizzlies three-man rotation of Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, and Darrell Arthur. The Bobcats frontcourt has averaged 37 points and 21 rebounds, with only Brown (48%) shooting lower than 50%. Meanwhile, Grizzlies counterparts, even if you add in Hasheem Thabeet's meager spot-minute contributions, have only been slightly more productive, at 40 and 26. And, with a big contribution from wings Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson, the Bobcats are currently third in the league in rebound rate with the Grizzlies a surprisingly low 26th (but rising). Of course, these season-long number don't reflect to recent rise of Zach Randolph, who is averaging 26 and 17 alone during the team's current win streak. Randolph might have to go big again tonight to match Charlotte's depth and size.

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