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Wizards vs. Grizzlies Pregame: Resting Grizz, Advantage Wiz?


Memphis (45-19) at Washington (36-28)

Verizon Center, Washington, DC
March 12, 2015 at 7:00 PM
TV: CSNWashington
Radio: 99.1FM

Tale of the Tape

[ezcol_1third]WIZARDS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third][/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]GRIZZLES[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]36-28[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]TEAM RECORD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]45-19[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]98.4[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PPG (own)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]99.2[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]97.5[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PPG (opp)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]95.5[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Won 1[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]W/L STREAK[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Lost 1[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Won at Hornets 95-69[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PREVIOUS GAME[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Lost at Celtics 95-92[/ezcol_1third_end]

Last time they met was..

March 3, 2014 @ Verizon Center, Washington – Grizzlies 110, Wizards 104

What to Watch: Welp. With the Grizzlies announcing that they’re resting all of their starters sans Jeff Green, Irfan K’s palm-reading prowess has been reduced to futility.

So what to watch tonight? Well, considering our Wizards of present times have shrunk back into #SoWizards of normal times, let’s hope we’re not watching Memphis fans making new household names for themselves with all the reserves that’ll be getting some burn tonight. Jarnell (Stokes). Jordan (Adams). Okay that was reaching a bit down the depth chart, or at least it seems as so, but with these Wizards ever so vulnerable to getting outcoached, literally any player in this league has an opportunity to thrive when matching up against them. Perhaps that’s the real reason why Dave Joerger is granting his guys some extra PTO…

Key matchup: Dave Joerger vs. Randy Wittman.

[Editor’s note: I decided to keep this segment from Irfan K’s Crystal Ball, because Randy Wittman’s ineptness does not lose relevance.]

Uh oh. We all know, Randy Wittman vs. anyone is a losing proposition. Vs. Dave Joerger? Murder. Like I said, the personnel and model these two teams are built on is similar. Take a look at this:

· Total 2 point FG attempts: Memphis ranks 2nd most, the Wizards rank 3rd. (For perspective, Golden State ranks 23rd, the Rockets rank last).

· 3 point shooting rate (percentage of shots taken that are 3’s): Memphis ranks 29th. Wizards rank 27th.

So philosophically, we see two teams that actually play inside the arc. Defensively, the Wizards actually compare favorably to the Grizzlies. The Wizards actually are virtually dead even with Memphis, or better, in opponent FG%, opponent 3FG%, and defensive rebounding percentage. Memphis tops the league in points allowed per game (95.1), but this is due to playing the 26th slowest pace in the NBA (compared to the Wizards 18th).

So, where do we see Memphis suddenly have a leap?

· Memphis ranks 6th in turnover percentage. The Wizards rank 23rd.
· Memphis ranks 7th in opponent turnover percentage. The Wizards rank 17th.
· Memphis ranks 7th in free throws per field goal attempt. The Wizards rank 23rd.
· Memphis ranks 4th in opponent free throws per field goal attempt. The Wizards rank 20th.

What are some of the most important mantras in coaching? Take care of the basketball. Get your hands in the passing lanes. Defend without fouling. Get to the foul line. Memphis puts a check by every one of those boxes. Memphis takes care of the basketball. Yes, Memphis takes a lot of 2 point FGs, but they don’t settle for jumpers, but get to the foul line at a high rate instead. On defense, they finish possessions without fouling, and force turnovers.

Unfortunately, coaching is not just about mantras. If it were, we could all be Greg Popovich. Coaching is about conveying those principles effectively to your players, and seeing the results in the execution and effort on the floor. Dave Joerger is getting that done, night in and night out. Randy Wittman is not.

X-factor: Jeff Green. As soon as the news dropped that only Green would remain in the Memphis starting lineup tonight, #WizardsTwitter began bracing themselves for a likely encounter with a well-known #WizardsKiller.

Jeff Green’s game log against the Wizards portray some good games, some great games, a career game, and also a few bad games. All in all, his certification as a #WizardsKiller boils down to similar points Irfan K made in his column regarding #WizardsKillers, and that’s the fact that these players simply elevate their games to a next level when they face Washington. Surprisingly, Irfan did not include Green in his research, so I’ll do it for him.

Green is averaging 15.3 points per game this season. In three games against the Wizards, he’s averaged 25.3, precisely 10 points better.

Last season, Green averaged 16.9 points per game for the season. In four games against the Wizards, he averaged 21.3 points per game, albeit a chunk of his point total came in that one OT game where he dropped 39 points on 8-16 shooting from downtown. That was the second highest scoring game in his career, by the way.

So the verdict is that Jeff Green is unquestionably a #WizardsKiller, and with Joerger popping his trunk full of armaments just for Green to pick from tonight, facing a team full of reserves might not be as advantageous to the Wizards as it seems.

Fun factor(s): The new guy in the office! Welcome aboard Toure’ Murry! Wait, is he Touré or Toure’? HR seems to have it confused. We’ll just ourselves the hassle. He’s simply Toure to us. The Wizards, after waiting out the larger portion of the season only to succumb to the injury of Garrett Temple, finally discovered the necessity to fill their 15th roster spot by signing Toure Murry from the D-League.

There’s two things I know about Toure Murry:

Antoine Carr is pissed at the Utah Jazz for letting him go:

And, he was Vine’d a few times for some pretty passes.

Prediction: I mean, all jokes and analogies and history lessons aside, the Wizards have to win this one, right?

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