Monday’s game: Wizards-Grizzlies preview

Monday’s game: Wizards-Grizzlies preview
March 24, 2013, 7:45 pm
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Wizards vs. Grizzlies

at Verizon Center

TV: CSN, 7 p.m. ET

Season series: Grizzlies lead 1-0.

Last meeting: The Wizards lost 85-76 on Feb. 1 in Memphis. Neither team shot well from thee-point range (6-for-27 combined) and only one Wizards player, Nene, reached double figures in scoring with 14 points. PG Mike Conley led all scorers with 18 points, six assists and five steals for Memphis.

Previous game: The Wizards lost at the Golden State Warriors 101-92 on Saturday to fall to 25-44. The Grizzlies beat the Boston Celtics 110-96 on Saturday to improve to 47-22.

Projected starting lineups: Wizards –- PG John Wall, SG Garrett Temple, SF Martell Webster, PF Nene, C Emeka Okafor. Grizzlies –- PG Conley, SG Tony Allen, SF Tayshaun Prince, PF Zach Randolph, C Ed Davis.

Pivotal matchup: Wall vs. Conley. It’s likely that Allen, the Grizzlies’ best one-on-one defender who stands 6-4, will see a significant amount of time opposite Wall to disrupt the pace.  Conley’s ability to hit the outside shot has made him a tougher cover. Which ever point guard has the better game by getting teammates involved for these defensive-oriented teams should determine who wins. 

X-factors: Starting C Marc Gasol has an abdominal tear and is listed as day-to-day for the Grizzlies. Davis will get the call in his place. The Wizards didn't have SF Trevor Ariza (flu) vs. Golden State and  it is doubtful SG Bradley Beal (left ankle sprain) will play. Backup PG A.J. Price (groin) still has been out, too.

Trending upward: F Cartier Martin played his most significant minutes in months, going 6-for-9 from three-point range vs. Golden State. ... Even with Wall ejected in the third quarter and Price unavailable, the Wizards had only 12 turnovers for the game. ... Wall shot 50% again, making 6 of 12 shots, before exiting.

Trending downward: Without Ariza, F Chris Singleton was able to get off the bench to play 21 minutes but missed 10 of 11 shots. ... The perimeter defense continues to look shaky, allowing 49.3% shooting for Golden State and 50% from three-point range. 

He said it: “Overall, coming out of a West Coast trip at .500, for us it's a step in the right direction," – Wizards coach Randy Wittman after going 2-2.

Around the bend: Wednesday at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m. ET; Friday at Orlando Magic, 7. Both games on CSN.