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Washington Wizards vs. Memphis Grizzlies: Regular Season Game 29 Open Thread

The Essentials:

Wizards (10-18) vs. Grizzlies (13-16)
8 p.m.
Fed Ex Forum
Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Notable Grizzlies numbers this season

18th in expected winning percentage (.433)
11th in pace (95.9 possessions per game)
10th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (108.8 points/100 possessions)
28th in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (110.9 points/100 possessions allowed)

Pre-game links

Straight Outta Vancouver, SB Nation's Memphis Grizzlies blog
3 Shades of Blue, a Grizzlies blog
Memphis Commercial Appeal Grizzlies blog with Ron Tillery
Mike Jones: Frustration marks beginning of Saunders era
GameDay Memphis

Tonight's Projected Starters
Wizards vs. Grizzlies
Gilbert Arenas PG Mike Conley
Randy Foye SG Ovinton J'Anthony Mayo
Caron Butler SF DeMarre Carroll
Antawn Jamison PF Zach Randolph
Brendan Haywood C Marc Gasol

UPDATE: Another CSN+ game, sorry, forgot there was a Caps game tonight. Also, it appears Rudy Gay is out tonight with an injury. That's a nice break.

Watching Memphis depresses me. Why? It's nothing the Grizzlies have done wrong; in fact, it's what they've done right. On paper, this was supposed to be the team the Wizards currently resemble. Selfish, unable to do the little things, sniping at each other, etc. In other words, a team far less than the sum of its parts.

Instead, the Grizzlies are 13-16 and 7-4 in December. They have wins over Dallas, Cleveland and Denver. They're playing together and playing unselfishly despite employing Zach Randolph. Randolph, by the way, is playing unbelievably, with a 22.1 PER, a monster rebounding effort (grabbing over 20% of available defensive rebounds) and actually doing it while helping his teammates out. The Grizzlies are riding him as their go-to guy, and surprisingly, everyone else, including Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo, is falling in line. He's exactly the type of player who feasts on the Wizards, and it's not exactly going out on a limb to say he'll have a big game tonight.

Besides Randolph, stopping Gay is going to be a challenge. Last year, Gay kind of regressed, but this year, he's rebounded in large part because he's improved his shot selection. Sixty-nine percent of his shots were jumpers last year; that's down to 62% this year. Naturally, his production is way up. You listening, Caron Butler? Jumpers are bad. Nevermind, Gay's out.

Then, you have Marc Gasol, who is shockingly putting up a 20.1 PER with a 64.1 TS%. Where did that come from?

Point is, this wasn't supposed to work, but it is. Meanwhile, the Wizards were supposed to work, but aren't. Hence, depressing.

It should be a fun game though. Memphis is a bad defensive team, so there's a good chance this will be one hell of a shootout. Plus, with Oklahoma City on the back end of a back-to-back, the Wizards might really gun for this one. As always, you never know with this team.