Memphis Grizzlies, minus Rudy Gay, come to Brooklyn

USA TODAY Sports

The biggest trades before the deadline didn't take place Thursday, but three weeks before when Memphis made a series of them. Rudy Gay was dealt by the Grizzlies to Toronto for a package headlined by Ed Davis. In that same deal, Tyshaun Prince arrived from Detroit. So far, it looks like one of those rare deals where both sides won. Both Memphis and Toronto are 7-3 since the deal went down. Gay is helping the Raptors win close games and the Grizzlies don't seem to miss him. They've won six straight and are healthy.

Memphis' calling card is defense. Unlike the Nets last opponent, the Rockets, the Grizzlies are deliberate on offense, fearsome on defense, something that Prince has helped improve. Their plus-4.4 rebounding differential ranks second in the NBA, and they're averaging a plus-7.8 during their streak, which is the league best. They are also particularly effective at defending against points on the paint, ranking fifth. On the other side of ledger, with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, they rank first in putting up points in the paint. They don't shoot many three pointers --they're last in attempts and makes-- and when they do, they are only 24th.

The Nets are hurting. Joe Johnson is questionable, but don't put too much hope in that. Johnson awoke in Milwaukee with enough pain that he had to "crawl out of bed," he told beat writers. Although Johnson was able to play vs the Bucks, Johnson shot just 3-of-14. Similarly, his backcourt mate Deron Williams talked about how his left ankle pain has been excruciating. With Mike Conley Jr., one of the NBA's fastest point guards, Memphis can be expected to take advantage of the Nets woes. If the Nets win, and the Knicks lose, the two teams would wind up in a virtual tie in the Atlantic Division.

The game begins at 7 p.m. It had originally been scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

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