Los Angeles Clippers at Memphis Grizzlies
3:00 p.m. PST
November 23, 2014
FOX Prime Ticket
Video of the Day
Seven Grizzlies either have or are just getting over the flu. They must’ve eaten the fish.
1. True or false: Marc Gasol is the best center in the NBA.
Ari Alexander, WMC Action News 5 Sports, (@AriA1exander): Gasol is arguably the league’s best big-man defender and is more aggressive offensively than he’s ever been. He’s averaging career highs in scoring and, most importantly for him, shot attempts. He’s taking much more control and I think he plays more evenly than Dwight Howard.
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): True, but just by a hair. (And on the right day, I could be convinced that honor goes to Dwight Howard.) Between Gasol’s passing, his midrange jumpshot, and his ability to blow up pick-and-rolls on defense, there’s just so much to love about him.
Michael Shagrin, (@mshaggy): True. He does everything really well. There aren’t any holes in his game and a more confident Dave Joerger has thus far seemed capable of using Gasol’s versatility to pointedly exploit opposing team’s weaknesses. And though his defense was never a problem, he’s been an absolute menace directing the carnivorous stalwarts in Memphis’ wing corps.
2. True or false: The Grizzlies are as good as their record.
Alexander: Some of their wins are against struggling teams (looking at you Charlotte), but the Grizzlies just hung with Toronto with half the team throwing up on a flight home. This is probably the deepest Grizzlies team we’ve seen in recent years, and the six-game win streak to start the year happened with the bench playing terribly.
James: True. There’s no way they can maintain this pace—everyone hits a speed bump at some point—but they’re scary. Only Golden State has looked better than Memphis so far, which has to irk the Clippers: your two biggest rivals looking like the league’s best teams.
Shagrin: True. The roster continuity and selective upgrades has this team scary as ever. Their defensive efficiency has been top-10 since the 2010-11 season and their offense has been consistently serviceable. But they’re up to eighth in offensive efficiency this season, and the Grizzlies’ three outstanding offensive principals seem to have really clicked with the supporting cast.
3. Where does Mike Conley rank among the league’s best point guards?
Alexander: I really, really like Mike Conley. Probably too much. We own like four or five of the same pairs of socks. I would put him around the back end of the top-seven point guards. He’s definitely in the top 10, as he’s a better 2-way guy than flashy players like John Wall or Kyrie Irving. One thing that many outside of Memphis miss when they talk Conley, though: he’s a killer in the fourth quarter.
James: He’s just beneath the top tier guys like Paul, Steph Curry, and Russell Westbrook—alongside Damian Lillard, John Wall, Kyle Lowry, and a few other guys. We know Conley’s a maniac on defense, but his sizzling three-point shooting this year (47 percent) really opens his game up.
Shagrin: Really, really high. He finds the open man. He seems to get to the basket whenever he wants. He’s a great shooter from range, but he rarely diverges from the “slow it down” style for early shot clock bombs. But most importantly, the best offensive point guards in the league are largely defensive sieves. On that end, Conley’s an absolute beast.