It's amazing how similar these teams are. Similar, and sad, to be honest. Neither plays a lick of defense, neither can defend the three, neither can shoot the three. They each have middle-of-the-road offenses and bad defenses. Each is blessed with supreme athleticism on the wings. Each has a big center who they receive a ton of flack for signing/drafting. We'll break down the game after the jump.
Let's take a look at these matchups:
- Lou Williams vs. Mike Conley - Lou is a far superior scorer to Conley, Conley dished out more assists but also turns the ball over nearly twice as much. Neither is shooting the three particularly well. Conley gets a big edge on D and keeping him out of the lane will be a priority tonight. Williams would probably turn in a better 40 time, but Conley definitely gets the edge in the triple jump.
- Andre Iguodala vs. OJ Mayo - I heard people compare Mayo to Iguodala when he was coming out of college, I believe the statement Bill Simmons used was, "Like Andre Iguodala, but a better shooter." Well, Mayo may reach that level some day, but 2.6 assists per 36 minutes to go along with 1.9 turnovers/36 sure doesn't sound very Iguodala-ish. Iguodala has an inch or two on Mayo, and really shut him down when the teams met last season, including stoning Mayo on the final, deciding possession of the game. Iguodala tops Mayo in the weight room, Mayo takes the H.O.R.S.E. game, hands down.
- Thad Young vs. Rudy Gay - I believe Jeff Van Gundy said it best on TNT last season, "Rudy Gay can't spell defense." In the past, he was a one-dimensional player, but a quick look at the stats leads me to believe he's added another half-dimension, he does a decent job on the boards. The hope around these parts was that Gay was Thad's floor, but right now, their numbers aren't even in the same building. Gay didn't get the extension he wanted, now he's taking it out on the box score. The players are so similar, they play a game of one-on-one that never ends. You have to win by two and neither is capable of getting a stop.
- Elton Brand vs. Zach Randolph - Let's call this the karmic battle. If any power forward in the league deserves to miss two straight seasons, it's Zach Randolph. But, as these things usually work out, the nice guy gets screwed while Randolph waddles onto the floor night after night to fill up the box score and kill his team. If Brand shows 1/10th of the effort tonight he showed last game, that'll be about 10x the effort Randolph shows during most games. Brand wins the fight for any loose ball. Randolph wins the fight by sucker-punching a borderline NBADL player.
- Marc Gasol vs. Sam Dalembert - Gasol has been a monster this season, Sammy is averaging the fewest minutes/game of his career. Sammy doesn't have the strength to keep the lesser Gasol from getting the position he wants, so he'll have to rely on his leaping ability to challenge shots on the inside. Luckily, Gay, Randolph and Mayo can't spell the word pass either. Dalembert's mohawk tops Gasol's beer gut/beard combo.
- Hasheem Thabeet vs. Sam Dalembert - Not much to say here other than I really hope we get to see each of them try a post move on the other. That'll be worth the price of admission.
- Willie Green vs. Jamaal Tinsley - A nice guy who doesn't belong in the league vs. a bad guy who doesn't belong in the lead. Who's the loser in this matchup? We are.
Key to The Game: Hmmn, how about this, let's put this game on the Princeton offense. Memphis is an atrocious defensive team, if the PO is worth its salt we should see good looks at the hoop. Fewer 20-foot jumpers with three left on the shot clock, a couple back doors for easy hoops.
If __________________ the Sixers will win: The Sixers grab 10 offensive rebounds.
This is your game thread, I'll be right here at 7pm, join me if you can.
Just in case and Memphis fans find this post, here's some video to cheer you up.