Regular Season Game 27
Grizzlies (6-22) at Wizards (14-12)
CW50 and FSN South
Previous results: Grizzlies 95, Wizards 80.
The Wizards' 95-80 loss to the Grizzlies on November 24 represented the low point of the season. Memphis was without Pau Gasol and were one of the worst teams in the league. Now, as the Grizzlies come into the Verizon Center today, the Wizards are sitting at the opposite end of the spectrum, having gone 3-1 on a key west coast swing.
A lot has changed for both teams. Etan Thomas started at center for the Wizards in their first loss to Memphis, but he still appears to be sidelined with an ankle injury. I've heard no reports thus far that he's going to play, but he's listed as questionable. On the other side, Gasol is back in the lineup, but he's struggled to come back from his injury. The Grizzlies have struggled with him, having gone 2-11 in the month of December. They've made some lineup changes, including replacing former Wizard Chucky Atkins with Damon Stoudamire at the point. Up front, second-round pick Alexander Johnson has been starting instead of Hakim Warrick, and Dahntay Jones started on Saturday against the Jazz over Rudy Gay. They're still struggling to find the right mix, and with a notoriously stingy coach in Mike Fratello, that will probably continue into tonight.
The key to this game will be free throws. In the last matchup, the Grizzlies shot 36 compared to 15 for the Wizards. For a team that attacks and consistently wins the free throw battle, that's a horrible sign for the Wizards. Jones and Warrick shot 17 free throws between them, which simply can't happen tonight. Both teams struggle to guard guys up front, so the Gasol-Antawn Jamison matchup is one to watch tonight.
Grizzlies blogs: The Beale Street Beat.
Your lines for tonight:
Grizzlies at Wizards: Wizards by 7
Over/Under on Big 3: 69.3 points.
Also, if you're going to Verizon Center tonight (or if you were there if you're reading this after the game), please please send me a postgame report of some kind to put up on the blog. I'd love to regularly incorporate these into recaps and such.
As a reminder, this is an open game thread, so post all game-related thoughts here.