Pump Up Music: Jay Sean -- "Down"
The Big Picture: In 55 of their 57 games, the Memphis Grizzlies have had the exact same starting lineup. Compare to the Warriors, a team wracked by an avalanche of injuries, zero management, and zero cohesion, that had their 33rd different starting lineup last night. Basically, the Grizz are executing a plan that common sense says will make them better over the course of the season without adding any new players. That's not to say the Grizz definitely are embracing good process with this strategy, but that it looks like they're emphasizing continuity.
It's not just continuity in who gets announced at the start of games. The Grizzlies' starting five is the league's most-used unit (do NOT insert Greg Oden joke here). They have Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph for at least one more year each, so if they can stay healthy, by next season they may have played together as a five-man group as much as any other five-man group in the league.
Key to Victory: The Bobcats' centers are still ailing, and that's bad news against a team that features Randolph and Marc Gasol down low. I'm not worried about the wing matchups or the point guard matchups, but playing defense against these guys is going to be a chore, since Boris Diaw likely can't deal with the issues Z-Bo presents, and Theo Ratliff, as much as he's a solid defensive presence, shouldn't play big minutes because he's such an offensive sinkhole. The Cats' best chance is probably to go small and play such good offense with Tyrus Thomas and Diaw in the front court without losing much on defense, thanks to TT, that the Grizz respond by yanking either Randolph or Gasol and running Sam Young out there.
Detail That May Interest .08% of You: In 2003-04, when Hubie Brown coached the Grizzlies to the playoffs, 8 different players averaged at least 20 minutes per game, and two more, Bo Outlaw and Stromile Swift, clocked in at 19.8 and 19.6 minutes per game, respectively.