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No KG as Nets host Grizzlies

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"Run the Jewels"
"Run the Jewels"
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Six straight. Coming back to Brooklyn didn't help with anything, and the Nets lost another game, this time to the Southeast Division leading Houston Rockets 113-99. The Nets are still in position to make the playoffs, but that is becoming increasingly irrelevant by the day. After this game wraps, the Nets take Thursday off before a home and home against the Washington Wizards this weekend.

Coming into the Barclays Center this fine evening will be the Memphis Grizzlies. Things have been going well for the Grizz this year and they find themselves near the top of the Western Conference. This is their first game since Sunday's double overtime win against Phoenix. After this game, they travel to Orlando for a Friday night game before heading home to face the Northwest Division leading Portland Trailblazers on Saturday night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV and WFAN 101.9 FM on the radio. Tip off is scheduled for a bit after 7:30.

Injuries

Still no Deron Williams (ribs) for the Nets.  Same with Markel Brown (knee).

Everybody's healthy for Memphis.

The game

What's up?

2014-2015 Season

Brooklyn Memphis

Record

16-22 26-11

Pace

94.38 94.12

Offensive Efficiency

99.6 105.1

Defensive Efficiency

102.9 102

Turnover Rate

15.4 13.5

Assist Rate

16.4 17.4

Offensive Rebounding Rate

22.9 24.5

Rebounding Rate

49.1 49.8

Free Throw Rate

27.1 27.8

Effective Field Goal Percentage

48.7 49.9

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

49.6 50.1

Kevin Garnett won't be playing. Why you ask? Well...

At least he got his money's worth. Speaking of money's worth, the Nets are for sale. More on that at a later date.

A little backstory here. Lionel Hollins coached the Grizzlies from 2008-2013 and the team grew from a lottery team to one that was a threat every postseason. However, it ended on an incredibly ugly note when he was fired following the team's loss in the 2013 Western Conference Finals. Hollins was unhappy with management (read the newly hired John Hollinger) for trading Rudy Gay and their push towards using analytics and let everybody know about it. He spent a year away from coaching and when asked about the departure last year, he said:

"I was very honest in answering questions and it was used against me."

Such is life my man.

Jeff Green should be making his Memphis debut. The trade has been rumored since last week and was made official yesterday. Green provides some perimeter scoring and length at the small forward position. He doesn't have to be the focal point of the offense anymore and should get plenty of good looks. His acquisition can also help Memphis when teams such as Golden State go with small lineups. Green can slide over to the power forward position and matchup with someone like Draymond Green.

Joe Johnson has been struggling of late, and he will have to face one of the league's best perimeter defenders in Tony Allen. Johnson has been awful lately and going against Allen will be one of his toughest challenges. He was the Nets best player in the early portion of the year, and as the schedule strengthens, the Nets will need his scoring to jumpstart the fledgling offense.

No Kevin Garnett means there's one less person to deal with Zach Randolph. Z-Bo missed nine games due to a knee injury but came back to play last week. On Sunday, he scored 27 points in 42 minutes and wore out the Morris twins on the inside. Garnett's absence is going to create a lot of trouble for Mason Plumlee and Cory Jefferson. They're both at a size disadvantage to Z-Bo and they will need lots of help from their teammates. This is also the first time Brooklyn has seen Z-Bo in some time. He missed both games last season.

We also get to say hi to some old friends. After a good season with the Dallas Mavericks, Vince Carter signed with the Grizz in the offseason. So far at least, Vince has not had the same level of success. He's shooting a career low 34.2 percent from the field and 29.9 percent from three point range. I wouldn't worry about it too much though. As long as Vince is healthy come playoff time, he should be able to contribute and provide some scoring off the bench.

If you think back to when Vince and Ryan Anderson were traded in June 2009, Courtney Lee was the main piece the Nets got from Orlando. Lee had a poor season in New Jersey and was ultimately shipped out in the four team trade that sent Troy Murphy to New Jersey. Lee is now the starting two guard and is having the best season of his career. Funny how things work out sometimes.

Player to watch: Marc Gasol

Marc has been a good player in the league ever since he came to the NBA in 2008 and has gotten better every year. This year Marc has taken on more responsibility on offense and as a result has entered the (kinda early) MVP race. The big guy is averaging a career high 19.5 points a night while shooting 50 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line. He can score from the high and low post, but his passing is what brings him over the top. He always makes good decisions with the ball and is adroit at finding cutters to the basket. That ability helps create great looks for guys like Allen and Mike Conley. Back in November, Grizzly Bear Blues writer Joe Mullinax noted Marc's amazing start and wrote of him and the team offering him a new contract:

And when they do, he will indeed be worth it. Because he has risen to the occasion. Because he has become the superstar the Grizzlies need to break through the NBA's glass ceiling. He is now the key to being able to play meaningful basketball in Memphis in June. Even though it is early in the season, it appears that Marc Gasol's transformation may finally be complete. From a chubby high school student in Memphis, known for being Pau's little brother, to a fit and dominant big, the best and most important player on the best team in the NBA through November.

He's going to get a big contract this summer, and if he continues playing at this level, it will be money well spent.

Gasol is the player Hollins wants Brook Lopez to become. Throughout this season, Hollins has spoken of wanting Brook to be tougher and more physical on the inside. Tonight Lopez will get the chance to show Hollins what he can do. Brook will be starting next to Plumlee and should look to establish inside position early. He's a good jump shooting big man, butis best in the low post. From there, he can draw fouls on Marc and get to the foul line. On the other side, he'll be drawn out to the high post by Gasol. He'll need his teammates to deny the passing lanes so Marc doesn't find easy cutters to the basket.

From the Vault

It's Pau Gasol against former Nets Mikki Moore and Johan Petro. What do you think happened?

More reading: Grizzly Bear Blues