Who: Charlotte Hornets (13-8) at Memphis Grizzlies (13-10)
Where: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
When: 8 p.m. EST
How: Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports Tennessee
The Hornets play in Memphis tonight against the Grizzlies who just had their own heartbreaker win versus the Detroit Pistons. Theirs, however, came in the fashion of a somewhat accidental half-court game-winner by Matt Barnes, instead of a 20-point beat-down.
Despite their solid record, Memphis has already suffered three 30-point blowouts and seemingly has made the more optimistic fans of the team a bit uneasy due to their performance.
Their famous defense has been the seventh worst in the league per defensive efficiency (a stat, which obviously is a bit affected by afore-mentioned huge losses). Marc Gasol, on the first year of his max contract, has noticeably slipped a bit on that end of the court, while their signature grit-and-grind players Zach Randolph and Tony Allen are getting up there in age. One should feel for Mike Conley and the lack of space he has to endure on his drives to the basket.
Three random thoughts and aspects:
Cody Zeller has held his own against Hassan Whiteside and Andre Drummond during this stretch of him starting at center, however, Memphis still is a unique kind of beast. Front-court players always seem to mention the duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph as the toughest match-up on their year-long schedule. Hopefully, Cody can find the feistiness to successfully battle this one out as well.
This is a first game of a back-to-back as the Hornets will host the Boston Celtics on Saturday night. The team is currently 3-1 on its two back-to-backs, yet it hasn't faced a true playoff team on the either side of them. With Al Jefferson out, fatigue may become a factor against two such solid teams.
The Hornets being both top-10 in offensive and defensive efficiency is a very encouraging sight. However, our net rating on the road is at -1.2. Pardon the cliche, but wins on such road games like tonight would show that this team is for real.