To preview tonight’s 8:30 p.m. San Antonio Spurs matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies, I talked with Sharon Brown, the co-owner and founding editor of Grizzlies blog All Heart in Hoop City. Be sure to follow her on Twitter for updates from a Grizzlies perspective during tonight’s game.
1. Marc Gasol is having a great season leading the Grizzlies. With brother Pau out and unable to defend him, do you think Memphis will look to try to feed him often with Dedmon possibly drawing the defensive assignment?
This season with Fizdale, Gasol is called upon to take more shots regardless of defender. In the last 15 games, he is averaging 17.3 field goal attempts per game while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 40 percent from the three point line. He has accepted the role to be the man for the team and to stay aggressive on a nightly basis.
2. I’m very familiar with JaMychal Green having covered him for Spurs On Sixth our D-League blog. Have you been surprised by his emergence this season, usurping Zach Randolph for the starting job, and especially his recent performance against the Timberwolves?
He really didn’t usurp the starting job from Randolph; Fizdale gave the job to Green because he wanted to match up better with opposing teams with a faster pace. Randolph is Green’s biggest fan and always encouraging him. No, I am not surprised by the play of Green. He gives all he has on the floor and his career night against Karl-Anthony Towns was remarkable. I am hoping that it gives him confidence for the rest of the season.
3. Mike Conley was a hot commodity this Summer and the Grizzlies paid to retain him despite his injury history. How has that worked out so far and are you surprised he still has not been selected for All-Star game?
Conley is having a career year in almost every statistical category this season (19.2 points per game and 6.2 assists). He more than likely would have been an All-Star before his back injury this season. The Grizzlies kept it together in his absence. Conley is one of the toughest players in the NBA; he’s played through a broken face and now through a broken back, that alone should have made him an All-Star.
4. The Spurs have the number one defense, but they’ll be playing on the road against a team known for their grit in one of the toughest road arenas. How do you see this game ending?
I really don’t know how this one will end but I suspect it will be a good game to watch. I anticipate Marc Gasol and Kawhi Leonard to have great games. Someone else from both teams must rise up to guarantee victory for either team. An X-factor must emerge.