The Orlando Magic host the Memphis Grizzlies tonight in a matchup pitting one of the league's best defenses against a dangerous offense. As coach Stan Van Gundy said today at shootaround, the Grizzlies are among the more talented offensive teams his Magic will face in the early stages of the season. Overall, Memphis ranks 19th in offensive efficiency, but that shaky figure has more to do with the Grizzlies' awful bench than anything else. Memphis' starting five has scored 122.9 points per 100 possessions this season, due in large part to Rudy Gay's incredible efficiency and Zach Randolph's reliable inside presence. A poor defensive outing from Orlando will almost certainly result in a loss.
And, as outlined here, the Magic haven't exactly played great defense lately. Van Gundy believes the team's schemes are working, but his team needs to execute them "a little bit better, a little bit quicker, a little bit harder." Gay and Randolph will put the Magic through the paces tonight, while complementary pieces like Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo can make defenses pay for ignoring them; Gasol, like his brother Pau, has great passing instincts, while Mayo can score in a variety of ways, even off the ball.
The Magic's best defense tonight might prove to be good offense. Moving the ball and attacking the rim are of paramount importance against a team with such a weak reserve unit. Get Gasol and Randolph in foul trouble early, force Memphis to play the likes of Hasheem Thabeet and Darrell Arthur, and reap the rewards.
Orlando may need Brandon Bass more than usual tonight. The backup power forward is more than capable of banging with the hulking Randolph down low, though Randolph bested Bass last season. In the team's January meeting, Van Gundy called on Bass to defend Randolph, but Randolph drew 2 of Bass' 3 fouls in 4 minutes, earning Bass a trip back to the bench as a result.
|2010/2011 NBA Season|
|4-6 (2-3 road) |
|6-3 (4-2 home) |
|November 15th, 2010|
|Sun Sports / NBA TV|
|Michael Conley||PG||Jameer Nelson|
|O.J. Mayo||SG||Vince Carter|
|Rudy Gay||SF||Quentin Richardson|
|Zach Randolph||PF||Rashard Lewis|
|Marc Gasol||C||Dwight Howard|
|2010/11 Advanced Stats|
|96.7 (5th)||Pace||93.9 (15th)|
|104.9 (19th)||ORtg||105.3 (18th)|
|107.6 (17th)||DRtg||98.9 (3rd)|