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Six things to know about Pelicans-Grizzlies matchup including chances of a hard-fought battle

It’s a must-win tonight in The Blender. Will Memphis be ever so gracious enough to make it easy for New Orleans? 

NBA: Preseason-New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Mark King of SB Nation’s GrizzlyBearBlues.com gives us a unique perspective on the Memphis Grizzlies and what New Orleans Pelicans fans can expect from them in Wednesday’s pivotal matchup.

The Grizzlies have been a thorn in the side of the Western Conference in previous weeks toppling Portland, Denver and Minnesota. However, they also boast the second worst record in the league (21-56). Which team will the Pelicans see?

The Grizzlies have actually been playing better the last few weeks — now that is all relative in terms of “better” because they’re still not a great basketball team. The younger players have been given a chance to play and some of them have shown that they can play in the NBA, while others haven’t. I think the past few wins for Memphis was more about what those opponents were not doing versus what the Grizzlies were implementing for a game plan. I fully expect to see a bad basketball team step onto the court and face the Pelicans.

The Grizzlies DNP list is racking up. What are the odds that Tyreke Evans, Chandler Parsons, JaMychal Green and Mario Chalmers will play, and how effective will they be?

The Grizzlies have not been good this year and the fact that they have had tons of injuries surely does not help. Parsons has been in and out of the lineup, but lately its just been for “rest” and he has not played the last two games. I expect him to play in this game against the Pelicans, but he wont play more than 17-18 minutes in the game. Chalmers and Green have actually been dealing with injuries the past couple games and I would expect them to miss the game again on Wednesday. Evans has actually been out for the past four games dealing with a “personal issue,” so there is really no way to tell if he will play or not. There has been no news about what that issue is, so Evans is really up in the air.

Wayne Selden Jr., Dillon Brooks and MarShon Brooks have been a revelation for the Grizzlies. What are the strengths of their games and what do you expect from them Wednesday night?

Selden is a young player who is really exciting to watch, a good two-way guy and versatile enough to play multiple positions. He was hurt a good portion of the first part of the year so this is a player we are just now getting to see what he can do full healthy. The jury is still out on what he can do, but I think he can be a good role player in the NBA.

Dillon Brooks is a second round pick from last years draft who might be one of the best picks the Grizzlies have had in quite some time. He does a lot of things well. Dillon still has a long way to go at the defensive level, but he is a playmaker. His three-point shot is continually getting better and he plays hard all the time. He makes rookie mistakes but should grow out of those in time. Brooks is also playing out of his position in a starting role for the Grizzlies this year, but I think he is more of a role player that can come off the bench to lead your second unit.

MarShon Brooks is on a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies right now so there isn’t really anything to tell other than he score buckets. New guys to rosters that can score a lot of points can sometimes be deceptive. They are not really playing within the system because they dont really know it well, so they are just going out and trying to score as much as possible. That is the situation with Marshon right now. He has a long way to go, but this performance will definitely earn him another 10-day contract and maybe even a camp invite next year.

Can we expect to see Marc Gasol in the fourth quarter?

Gasol has been resting a lot lately and for good reason: there is no need for your franchise player to be playing 30+ minutes for a team that only has 21 wins. He has only played 20 minutes or so the last few games and largely none in fourth quarters so I would imagine this game would not be any different. The Pelicans will probably be up by 15-20 points when the fourth quarter rolls around, and Gasol will be on the bench, letting the young guys finish things. Even if the game is close, I would hope that those young guys are out on the court. The season is over for the Grizzlies, but you can still use this time to see how young players stack up to players like Anthony Davis.

The Grizzlies hold the slowest pace in the NBA, allowing just 80 shots per game, however, they allowed 140 points to the Hornets. What kind of outcome do you expect in this contest?

We’re not talking about the Hornets game anymore. We are also pretending like it didn’t happen, or at least I am anyway.

The games between the Pelicans and the Grizzlies are always usually good contests, featuring a fantastic matchup between Davis and Gasol. The previous three games had been less than ten-point spreads, with Memphis actually winning the first two. That being said, those games were with DeMarcus Cousins and Gasol, for some reason, always manages to get under the skin of Cousins. I do expect the game to be played a slower pace initially, but once the Pelicans start to pull away, the scoring will come in bunches for both teams.

  • Follow Mark King (@King_Producer).
  • For more on the Memphis Grizzlies, listen to our interview with editor-in-chief to GrizzlyBearBlues.com, Joe Mullinax (@joemullinax).