The 26-16 Brooklyn Nets come to The Home of the Blues tonight to battle the 27-14 Grizzlies. Jay-Z’s reenergized squad has gone 12-2 since Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo took the reins last month.
Carlesimo inserted 11th-year, rugged PF Reggie Evans into the first 5 in place of PF Kris Humphries. This new starting group of PG Williams, SG Johnson, SF Wallace, C Lopez and Evans has gone 9-1. Brooklyn currently sits just one game in back of their city rival Knicks in the Atlantic Division.
After being the topic of trade chatter for more than a year, 5th-year Brook Lopez is the highest scoring 5 in the league at 18.6 ppg to go along with 7.4 rpg and 2.1 bpg. With a PER of 25.45, many find it ludicrous that he was left off of the East’s All-Star roster. Many residents of the Nets’ borough think Lopez puts the Brook in Brooklyn.
Memphis has an All-Star snub as well according to Griz fans – 5th-year, 7’1” C Marc Gasol. The Spaniard has played in and started all 41 games this season and can fill up the stat sheet. He is averaging 13.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.8 bpg and 1 spg while shooting close to 50% from the field and 88% from the line.
Both sides play defense well and statistically rank high in points allowed per game. The Nets at 94.1 are 5th and the Grizzlies at 89.5 are 2nd. Memphis PG Mike Conley is 2nd in the league in steals at 2.35 per game. Nets Lopez, Evans and the high-energy Wallace may be the most for formidable defensive front court in the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn last played on Wednesday at Minnesota where they were victorious, 91-83. Deron Williams led the team with 18 points, 6 boards, 8 dimes and 3 steals.
Memphis also added to their win column on Wednesday, hosting and beating the flailing Los Angeles Lakers, 106-93, to improve their home record to 16-6. They outscored LA in all 4 quarters with 6 players reaching double figure points. The Grizzlies’ top performance on Wed. belonged to back-up PF Darrell Arthur. Arthur had 20 points, 9 boards and 3 dimes in 28 minutes of run.
Tune in tonight at 8PM ET to the YES Network to see if Brooklyn can continue their winning ways against a formidable Western Conference foe.