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Game Preview: Pelicans at Grizzlies

Andy Lyons

On Martin Luther King day, the Pelicans will be in Memphis to battle the Grizzlies, currently one of the league's hottest teams. They've won five in a row but could very easily be a perfect 9-0 for the month of January. They've had only two losses in 2014: a 2-point loss to the Spurs and a 3-point defeat to the Nuggets.

To make matters worse, Marc Gasol has returned for their last three games and should be about ready to handle full starters minutes. In the Pelican's last game, we had difficultly keeping tabs on Andrew Bogut. So what on earth will the three-headed dog of Stiemsma-Ajinca-Withey give up to a significantly more talented offensive player?

#Shudder and #HopeForTheBest

Back on November 6th, when we were brimming with unbridled enthusiasm, the Pelicans had recorded their first impressive victory of the season, a 99-84 thrashing. Considering we also beat them back on December 13th, this team is going to be amped for some payback.

In order to avoid being overwhelmed by the Grizzlies best shot, the Pelicans are going to have to do the following things well:

  1. Push the pace - the Grizz like to take their time (last in the league in pace) so let's not allow it. Make Randolph, Gasol, Prince and any other slow or old guys operate outside of their comfort zone.
  2. Avoid drawing an unsightly number of fouls - the Grizzlies are one of the worst teams getting to the line so the last thing we need is a higher than normal number of free throw attempts.
  3. Keep the disparity in the paint to a minimum - the Grizzlies rank 5th in offensive rebounding %, 8th in defensive rebounding % and 5th in points in the paint.

In addition to these keys, both Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans will need to have effective games, especially scoring a number of easy baskets in transition. Eric Gordon and at least several other Pelicans are going to have to keep the Grizzlies defense honest. Otherwise, they will invariably crowd the paint much like the Warriors did in our last game, where we scored a meager 33 points in the 2nd half.

Geaux Pels!