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Nets end first half of season in Memphis

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"We eat so many shrimp, I got iodine poisining"
"We eat so many shrimp, I got iodine poisining"
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Back to back. The road trip hasn't gotten off to a good start for the Brooklyn Nets. The team blew a 17 point lead and ended up losing by six points to the upstart Milwaukee Bucks. This is the third game of the road trip, second night of a back-to-back, and final game of the first half. It's been pretty disappointing, but the Nets still find themselves within reach of a playoff spot.

Waiting for the Nets will be the Memphis Grizzlies, who two years ago let Lionel Hollins twist, slowly, slowly, in the wind, refusing to let other teams talk with him, then with most of the coaching openings filled, declined to renew him. It will be interesting to see how he,his old team and the crowd react. After all, Hollins was the franchise's most successful coach..

They've had an amazing first half of the season and are leading the Southwest division. They're coming off a great win against the league leading Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night and are only 3.5 games behind the Golden State Warriors. This is the first night of a back-to-back for the Grizz. They wrap up the first half of the season in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV and WFAN 101.9 FM on the dial. Tip off is set for after

Injuries

Deron Williams played against Milwaukee on Monday night, but was dealing with an illness. He should be good to go tonight.

Jordan Adams is questionable while our old friend Vince Carter is out indefinitely with a foot injury. Hopefully VC will be able to contribute come playoff time.

The game

What's going on here? Let's get into it:

2014-2015 Season

Brooklyn Memphis

Record

21-30 38-13

Pace

94.2 94.11

Offensive Efficiency

100.1 105

Defensive Efficiency

104.7 100.2

Turnover Rate

15 13.5

Assist Rate

16.4 17.2

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.1 25

Rebounding Rate

48.7 50.3

Free Throw Rate

27.1 28.4

Effective Field Goal Percentage

48.8 49.5

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

50.2 49.2

The Grizzlies won the first meeting in January.

Nine days away. The trading deadline is next Thursday, and between now and then, the rumors will fly. We'll keep you updated on everything going on.

Even with the Warriors playing such amazing basketball, the Grizz are right there with them. Over at Grizzly Bear Blues, Joe Mullinax took a look at the big picture and wrote:

The build, the journey, has made the final crescendo mean that much more. Much like the moments that started and have made up the Grit and Grind era, the final verse of the movement will have its share of ups and downs. The culmination of years of work & sacrifice will make for the most emotional of times. That is the purpose of "Don't Stop Believing", of course; you save the best for last, you wait, allowing the emotion to happen organically. Then, the crescendo reaches its peak. The end does not mean a negative; it means the culmination, the moment of ultimate satisfaction has arrived.

For what it's worth, I think the Grizz will make it to the NBA Finals.

The Nets are gonna have a hell of a time on the inside. The tag team of Run the Jewels Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are monsters on the inside and dominated Brooklyn the first time they met. Z-Bo is the fifth best rebounder in the league this season and Gasol is an excellent passing big man that can hit cutters in stride and initiate the offense from the high post. Both can step out and hit jump shots, which will make things tough for Mason Plumlee and Brook Lopez. Kevin Garnett played last night, and usually he doesn't play night two of the back-to-back. With this being the last game of the half and ten days before the Nets play again, KG should be on the court. The Nets will need another big game out of Lopez if they want to pull off the upset. Usually, the strategy would be to get the ball inside to Lopez and watch him take it to opposing centers. However, Gasol is an excellent low post defender that can push Brook off the block and force him into tough shots.

The new guy has been struggling as of late. Jeff Green was acquired to provide additional scoring punch, but is only shooting 36 percent from the field in his last five games. When he's playing well, he can stretch the floor and provide some good defense at the small forward. When teams like G-State and OKC go small, he can slide over to the four position and handle himself.

Joe Johnson has been playing well recently, but will be staring down arguably the best perimeter defender in the league. Players are only shooting 36 percent against Tony Allen when he defends them. Allen can lock down three positions without help and he'll spend most of the evening defending Johnson. He's not much of a scorer but the offense hasn't lost a step when he plays (he's a team best +11.4 points per 100 possessions). Johnson only went 3-12 the first time out and should be able to do a bit better this time. The upcoming break will do him some good. It will give him time to recover from all of the injuries he has been playing with and when the second half begins, he should be able to help push his team into the playoffs.

Player to watch: Mike Conley

Conley is having a terrific season and had a pretty good case for being named to the All Star team. He's shooting a career best 46.1 percent from the field, but more importantly, 41 percent from three point range. I had always thought he was a bad three point shooter, but my memory must be off. He's shot around league average and better from deep in every season but his first one. For a team that plays at the league's fourth slowest pace, possession becomes even more important. Conley doesn't turn the ball over much and can get good looks for himself when necessary.

Jarrett Jack is still playing well as the starting point guard. Jack was the team's best player last night, but was saddled with foul trouble. Conley is smaller than Jack, but that shouldn't mean much as Jack likes to take mid range jumpers. That size disadvantage would have come into play if Deron Williams wasn't dealing with an illness and playing well, but he's not so the Nets are stuck. Want something that kinda sums up Williams' time with the Nets? Here's Lionel Hollins:

I have no idea. I feel bad for the kid but it's just not happening for him.

From the Vault

The Rookie Sophomore game is Friday night at Barclays Center. Take a trip back to the 2003 edition and check out Pau Gasol, Richard Jefferson and some other young players.

More reading: Grizzly Bear Blues