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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Washington Wizards: Regular Season Game 55 Open Thread

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The Essentials:

Grizzlies (28-28) vs. Wizards (20-34)
7 p.m.
Verizon Center
Radio: 106.7 The Fan

Notable Grizzlies numbers this season

18th in expected winning percentage (.461)
12th in pace (93.1 possessions per game)
11th in offensive efficiency/offensive rating (108.3 points/100 possessions)
T23rd in defensive efficiency/defensive rating (109.5 points allowed/100 possessions)

Pre-game links

Straight Outta Vancouver, SB Nation's Grizzlies Blog
Three Shades of Blue, a Grizzlies blog
Wizards Insider: Wizards closing in on Zydrunas Ilgauskas buyout
GameDay Grizzlies

Tonight's Projected Starters
Grizzlies vs. Wizards
Mike Conley PG Randy Foye
O.J. Mayo SG Mike Miller
Rudy Gay SF Al Thornton
Zach Randolph PF Andray Blatche
Marc Gasol C JaVale McGee

The Wizards play the Grizzlies tonight in Mike Harris' debut, which I'm really excited about for some reason. Everything I've heard about the dude makes me happy. He's proven he can play on the NBA level and he's exactly the type of player (rugged undersized power player, energy guy, etc) this team has missed for so long. I'm really hoping he plays well enough to convince management (hopefully new management) that the D-League is worth investing in.

(And it's the NBA D-League, not the NBDL).

"One thing I told him is I don't want him to fit in to what we're doing," Flip Saunders said before the game. "I want him to do what he does. But he fits in to what we do now. He plays hard, he plays with reckless abandon and he can play a couple different positions. He's a little undersized at times, but he's still strong enough to play around the basket and go outside a bit."

Saunders was asked what position Harris plays, and he simply responded, "He's a basketball player." Good answer.

Harris echoed that conversation Saunders had with him.

"Today we had a meeting and he was like 'Do what I do. Don't try to come in and fit into the team; let the team fit into you. Have a good time, try not to think too much.'"

Let the Mike Harris era begin!

Other stuff:

  • Michael Lee fills in more details on a Zydrunas Ilgauskas buyout in the link above. Sounds like Z's going to give a lot back.
  • Al Thornton will start for Josh Howard tonight. I asked Flip why he went with Al, and after saying that he had no other choices (I put Nick Young forward, Flip said he wasn't a small forward), he said that Thornton was an "aggressive player" and is a better matchup on Rudy Gay.
  • JaVale McGee's got a tough test against Marc Gasol, who is one of my favorites for Most Improved Player. "Not only does he have great length and great basketball skills, but he's highly intelligent," Saunders said. "[JaVale's] going to have a challenge because his guy is going to be involved a lot in pick and rolls. He's got a challenge in not only worrying about his guy rolling, but also about helping guards that are coming off. Their twos and threes ... can all score, so [JaVale's] going to have a challenge tonight.