What to expect in Dave Joerger’s return to Memphis


Dave Joerger will be making his return to Memphis, where he was a head coach for three years. Conley, Gasol and Fizdale give their insight on his return.

There will be plenty of emotions in tonight’s match-up. In Dave Joerger’s return, it’s hard to predict what kind of reaction he’ll receive from the fans. He could receive boo’s for burying young players and publicly showing interest in other head coaching jobs. Some fans may look back to his playoff runs and his emotional press conference last year and give him a standing ovation.

Tonight’s match-up should be exhilarating. In addition to Joerger’s return, Mike Conley will be returning after being out for only three weeks with a fractured vertebrae.

Grizz reactions to Dave Joerger’s return

At today’s shootaround, Dave Joerger’s return, along with Conley’s status, was the hot topic on the Grizzlies side. Both Fizdale and Marc Gasol know there will be a lot of emotions.

Gasol compared it to Lionel Hollins’ return a few years ago.

When Conley was asked about tonight’s game, he seemed poised to play against his old coach. “It’ll be fun. Just to play against your old coaches,” Conley said. “[And] both of us now so much about each other and the schemes we like to do and how we play. So, it’ll be good to see him and good to compete against him.”

While Dave Joerger’s return is different than a lot of other games, the Grizzlies’ locker room understands that it’s just another game. When asked if Joerger made them want to win this game even more, Gasol said that it’s enough to make it “not easy for them.” Fizdale describes it as “just another game on the schedule.”

In high-emotion games such as a player/coach reunion, it’s essential for the team to not get caught up into the emotions of the game. For the Grizzlies, it’s nice to see that this is just another game for them.

Injury report

For the Memphis Grizzlies, Mike Conley will make a miraculous return tonight after fracturing his vertebrae three weeks ago. The Grizzlies shocked everyone, going 7-2 without him. With their All-Star-caliber point guard returning, they might be in position to make a run at a top-4 seed in the West.

While there’s been speculation around Chandler Parsons and James Ennis playing this weekend, Fizdale confirmed in shoot-around that they won’t play this evening. However, both players have been participating in “high-intensity workouts.”

Deyonta Davis will be out for 6-8 weeks with torn plantar fascia.

Brandan Wright is still out with an ankle injury.

Match-up to watch

Marc Gasol vs. DeMarcus Cousins

Both centers have made their cases for the title of “NBA’s Best Center.” Marc Gasol’s added a new dimension to his game, the 3-point shot. While shooting at a 46.5 percent clip from downtown, Gasol’s also averaging 19.8 points (career-high), 6.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists (career-high) and 1.6 blocks.

On the other end, DeMarcus Cousins is thriving under Dave Joerger. He’s averaging a career-best 28.3 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists. He’s also shooting 4.6 threes a game at a 36.9 percent clip.

While Fizdale may stick JaMychal Green on Cousins, it’ll be fun to see two of the NBA’s best centers battle it out.

About the game

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Sacramento Kings

WHEN: 7:00 p.m. CT

WHERE: FedEx Forum – Memphis, TN

HOW TO WATCH: Fox Sports Southeast (or online stream)

HOW TO LISTEN: ESPN 92.9 – Memphis

BETTING LINES: Memphis (7); Over/Under (195.5)

With the miraculous return of Mike Conley and the homecoming for Dave Joerger, tonight’s game should be great. Tune in and follow us on Twitter @BealeStBearsFS for updates throughout the game. #WeEnnis