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Wizards at Grizzlies Pregame: The Tortoise And The Hare

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Regular Season Game 23

Washington (10-12) at Memphis (13-12)

December 14, 2015 at 8:00 PM
FedExForum, Memphis, TN
TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

April 4, 2015 at Verizon Center: Wizards 92, Grizzlies 83


What to watch

A man coaching for his job. And no, his name is not Randall.

Reports on the Internet have been floating just as reports on the Internet do regarding a possible coaching change in Memphis. In fact, the impending dismissal of Dave Joerger could be at the very hands of John Wall and the Wizards tonight. Peep it:

Identifying the Grizzlies’ issues this season doesn’t require microscopic vision. Their defense has diminished from the once bruising force that hadn’t ranked lower than 9th in the league since 2011, to 25th in defensive efficiency this season. Tony Allen and Zach Randolph, once the bread and butter of that formidable defense, are approaching their mid-30s with the accumulated cholesterol from all that butter now kicking in. Joerger has recently tried to mix and match lineups, even to the point of bringing Z-Bo and Allen off the bench this past week but no dice. The Grizz have won just two of their past six games, including blowout losses to OKC and San Antonio. Earlier this year they were obliterated by 50 points by Golden State. A loss tonight to the Wizards could earn Joerger a pink slip, with John Wall’s fingerprints all over it..


Key matchup

The Tortoise vs. The Hare

Yes, I’m talking about pace and, no, I’m not entirely proud of this analogy considering the Wizards are the hare and the hare lost the race. But realistically speaking, the scenario of the Wizards – who rank in the top 5 of the league in pace while the Grizzlies are slugging it in the bottom 10 – underachieving despite being faster is very plausible. It’s plausible because both teams rank in the bottom 10 in offensive and defensive efficiency.. *shrugs* .. How all these preparatory stats apply to the game and its outcome tonight is a grand mystery. Tune in at 8PM to view live results.


X-factor:

Defending the 3. Out of the 435 three-point attempts made this season by the Grizzlies, they have missed 301 of them. That means they make only 30% of their shots from beyond the arc. That also means one of two obvious things: either the Grizzlies catch a break tonight against a terrible 3-point defending team, or the Wizards catch a break against a terrible 3-point shooting team. Much of the Wizards’ struggles defending the 3 is due to a slight disability to control ball movement. The Grizzlies are fair ball-moving team, with just around 20 of their 35 made buckets per game coming by way of an assist. Thing is, only 22% of these assists have led to 3-pointers. The Grizzlies simply do not have the personnel that can properly aim the ball from over 23 feet away from the basket. The two players who shoot the most 3’s per game for Memphis – Barnes and Conley, each just over 4 attempts per game – are both shooting them at a clip lower than 34%.


Fun factor:

Derek Fisher may be the one person Matt Barnes loathes the most, but I’m hip to believe that John Wall held that status for a very long time before that fateful FaceTime eavesdrop.


Prediction:

The Hare finally avenges the Tortoise. Dave Joerger updates his Linkedin account.

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