Memphis Grizzlies Host Washington Wizards Friday Night

Mar 18, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph (50) shoots the ball over Washington Wizards power forward Trevor Booker (35) during the second half at the FedEx Forum. Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Washington Wizards 97-92. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, the Memphis Grizzlies were shorthanded with only 9 players available as they were crushed by the Oklahoma City Thunder 106-89 on the road. This was the day after the Memphis Grizzlies made a blockbuster three team trade that sent leading scorer forward Rudy Gay and reserve center Hamed Haddadi to the Toronto Raptors. The Grizzlies received forward Ed Davis from the Raptors, and forwards Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye from the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons received point guard Jose Calderon in the trade.

Davis, Prince, and Daye have not yet passed their physicals are are listed as doubtful for Friday’s home game against the 11-33 Washington Wizards (7:00 pm Central, Sports South, CSN-Mid Atlantic, NBA LP). The Grizzlies will likely have only 9 players dressed tonight just like last night. Washington is a half game ahead of the Charlotte Bobcats for the worst record in the league. The Wizards have lost 2 straight games including 92-84 Wednesday night at the Philadelphia 76ers. Washington is 3-19 on the road this season while Memphis is 17-7 at home.

The Grizzlies are 29-16 this season and 6.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the Southwest Division. The Grizzlies would currently be the #4 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The Grizzlies will likely have to wait until Tuesday’s home game against the Phoenix Suns to debut their new players.

The Grizzlies have beaten the Wizards 6 of the last times they have played. Memphis won the only meeting last season 97-92 in Memphis. The Grizzlies haven’t lost at home to the Wizards since 2004. Memphis will make the return trip to Washington March 25.

Washington is coached by Randy Wittman. The Wizards are being outscored 96-91 this season. The Wizards are #8 in points allowed, but dead last in scoring. Washington shoots 42.2% from the field and 34% from 3 point range. They are last in field goal percentage and 24th in three point shooting. The Wizards are 23rd in free throw shooting at 73.7% from the line. Washington is 8th in rebounding at 43.8 per game, but 28th in rebounds allowed with 45.4 per game. Wizard opponents are shooting 43.8% from the field and 34.9% from 3 point range. The Wizards are in the top ten in both categories. Washington averages 21.5 assists, 7.3 steals, 4.8 blocks, and 15.5 turnovers per game.

Shooting guard Jordan Crawford averages 14.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4 assists. Point guard John Wall missed the first 33 games of the season with a knee injury. He is averaging 14.1 points, 6.5 assists, and 2.5 rebounds. The team has improved somewhat as they have 6 of their 11 wins since he came back last month. Shooting guard Bradley Beal averages 13.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. He is doubtful with a wrist injury, after missing Wednesday’s loss to the 76ers. Center Nene averages 12.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and a steal. Forward Kevin Seraphin averages  10.8 points and 5 rebounds. Forward Martell Webster averages 10.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. Center Emeka Okafor averages 8.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard A.J. Price averages 8.1 points, 2.6 rebounds,  and 4.4 assists per game. Forward Trevor Ariza averages 7.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Forward Cartier Martin is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

The Grizzlies are coached by Lionel Hollins. Memphis is outscoring teams 93-90 this season. They are first in the league in points allowed and are #28 in scoring. The Grizzlies are shooting 43.5% from the field and 34.0% from 3 point range. The Grizzlies are #24 in field goal percentage and #25 in three point shooting. Memphis is #4 in the league in free throw shooting at 79.0% from the line. The Grizzlies average 43.1 rebounds per game and give up 38.9. Memphis is #1 in rebounds allowed and #10 in rebounding. Grizzlies’ opponents are  shooting 43.9% from the field and 35.8% from 3 point range. Memphis is #8 in opponents’ field goal percentage and #16 in 3 point defense. The Grizzlies average 20.5 assists, 9.1 steals, 5.3 blocks and 14.8 turnovers a game.

Forward Zach Randolph averages 15.7 points, 11.7 rebounds to lead the team, and 1.4 assists per game. Randolph is second in the league in rebounding, and was chosen a a reserve for the Western Conference All-Star team. He leads the league in double doubles with 28.  Randolph had been the subject of trade rumors, but that probably won’t happen with the Gay trade and with the cost saving trade involving 3 reserves the Grizzlies made with the Cleveland Cavaliers last week. Center Marc Gasol averages 13.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, a steal, and 1.8 blocks per game. Point Guard Mike Conley, Jr. averages 13 points, 2.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 2.3 steals a game to lead the team in the latter two categories. Tony Allen starts at shooting guard and is one of the best defenders in the league. Allen averages 8. points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Point guard Jerryd Bayless, forward Quincy Pondexter, forward Darrell Arthur, and guard Tony Wroten make up the rest of the rotation. Bayless started the last game in place of Gay and will likely do so again tonight. Forward Jon Leuer was acquired in the trade with the Cavaliers. Pondexter is out indefinitely with a grade 2 MCL sprain. The Grizzlies also called up forward Chris Johnson from the D-League to fill out the roster.

Washington is a terrible team but is playing better since talented point guard John wall returned from his injury. Still playing a back to back with only 9 players available in each game, and having to travel from OKC to Memphis in between doesn’t bode well for the Grizzlies. Fatigue could certainly be a factor. I still like the Grizzlies to pull off a close win at home.

Topics: John Wall, Lionel Hollins, Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies, Mike Conley Jr., NBA, Nene, Randy Wittman, Tony Allen, Washington Wizards, Western Conference, Zach Randolph

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