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Grizzlies (5) vs Blazers Preview (4) : Injury Riddled

Portland Trail Blazers (51-31) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (55-27)


Portland and Memphis are two of the most compelling teams out West. Every year they have stretches during the regular season where they look unbeatable and then around playoff time they become super vulnerable. During the offseason both teams improved their bench to a certain extent and during the season made moves that were supposed to propel them to the top of the conference.

In order to beat certain teams in the West Portland had to upgrade their bench. They swung a deal with Denver that allowed them to bring in shooting guard Aaron Afflalo, a nice two-way player. Memphis on the other hand needed a wing player who could create their own shot, score and defend. They made a trade with Boston who sent them small forward Jeff Green. Both of these moves catapulted each team to newer heights. Each team improved depth wise, scoring wise and defensively. But it only lasted for so long.


PG: D.Lillard vs. M.Conley

SG: A.Afflalo vs.  C.Lee

SF: N.Batum vs. T.Allen

PF: L.Aldridge vs. Z.Randolph

C: R.Lopez vs. M.Gasol

As the season went on both teams were derailed by injuries. Batum and Aldridge have been ailing and missed a few games here and there. Aaron Affalo has an injured shoulder and starting shooting guard Wesley Mathews is out for the season due to an Achilles injury. Memphis on the other have been dealing with injuries that have pertained to Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Tony Allen. Both teams are still formidable to say the least.

Memphis won the season series 4-0. Most of the games were competitive but Memphis proved to be the better squad.



Despite being the 4 seed the Blazers will be playing this series on the road where they have struggled. In order to beat Memphis the Blazers need to push the tempo. The Grizz often go long periods without scoring and if Portland can hit shots they’ll have Memphis playing from behind. On the defensive side of the ball Aldridge and Lopez must find a way to stop Memphis’ big men. If they get dominated in the paint the Blazers can hang it up.


The Grizzlies smothering defense gets a chance to go up against a depleted Blazers. If Conley can contain Lillard and Gasol can disrupt Aldridge’s flow the Blazers will have to find scoring else where. On the offensive end Memphis just needs to pund the rock inside. There isn’t a team in the league that can contend with Memphis’ front court and that should be on full display this series.

Prediction Grizzlies beat the Blazers 4-1. Both teams are dealing with injuries but Memphis is the healthier squad. If Z-Bo and Gasol are dominating the series will end quickly. Having homecourt advantage also is Memphis’ favor.

The Rivalry Of Yesterday ( Knicks vs Pacers )

During the 90’s New York and Indiana met six different times in the Playoffs. Each series was intense, entertaining and deserved an encore. After 10+ years of not meeting each other in the Playoffs, the Knicks and Pacers now have a chance rekindle the old but great rivalry.

In the series against Atlanta, Indiana struggled on the road; they also struggled to score. Atlanta gave them hell on the defensive side of the ball, by suffocating the bigs inside and making life tough on Paul George. Without Paul George and his play making ability, Indiana struggled to generate any type of offense. In Atlanta, Indiana seemed to play a level down. They wouldn’t score as good; they would defend as well; and they didn’t make smart decisions. It seemed as if they were overwhelmed by Atlanta’s home crowd. Even with those difficulties they eked out of the series in 6 games. But, with those two problems their chances of beating New York may be hampered.

The Knicks,on the other hand have a couple of minor issues. Those issues are Carmelo Anthony and J.R Smith. In Games 4, 5 and 6 against Boston New York’s offense became stagnant when the ball was in their hands. They would force shots that weren’t there and wouldn’t make the right decisions. Other than the minor problems offensively the Knicks don’t have much to worry about.

Series Analysis
If scoring on Atlanta was tough the Pacers have alot to worry about; New York’s defense is alot tougher than Atlanta’s and can suffocate players defensively ( just ask Paul Pierce.) On the defensive side of the ball Indiana doesn’t have to worry about points in the paint as much. All they have to worry about is the perimeter. If they’re able to keep close out on the 3’s and keep Melo on his heels the Pacers should be able to win this series.

For the Knicks to win this series they’ll have to establish an inside presence. ( I’m looking at you Amare’.) Perimeter oriented teams won’t beat Indiana unless they score inside as well. On the defensive side of the ball New York is going to in trouble. With an undersized lineup Roy Hibbert and David West should be able to have their way inside, especially when Melo is at the four.

Final Prediction
This should be a physical, ugly series. The scores aren’t going to be pretty and no one is going to be lighting it up. After 7 hard fought games Indiana should upset the Knicks, because of their bigmen. But if New York is able to knock down their shots and contain David West and Hibbert the series could very well be different. The likelihood of that happening for four games is very low. Therefore the Pacers should win in 7.
Analysis of the and Bulls-Heat ( http://wp.me/p33YLP-5A)

Analysis of the Warriors-Spurs ( http://wp.me/p33YLP-4a)

Ryan Fort