In a battle between inter-conference foes, the Memphis Grizzlies will take on the New York Knicks. Both teams are in a fight for postseason position in their respective conferences and neither can afford to lose this game.
The question is, whose will is stronger?
The Grizzlies enter this game in fifth place in the Western Conference. With that being said, the Grizzlies are separated from the third-seeded Los Angeles Clippers by just one game.
Every win is big for Memphis.
Which team will move up in their respective standings? Let's find out.
Time: Wednesday, Mar. 27 at 7:30 p.m. EDT
TV: TSOH & MSG
Records: Memphis Grizzlies (47-23, 19-15 road) at New York Knicks (43-26, 24-10 home)
Betting Line: N/A
Memphis Grizzlies Injury Report
Marc Gasol, Partial Abdominal Tear, Out
New York Knicks Injury Report
Tyson Chandler, Strained Neck, Questionable
Amar'e Stoudemire, Knee Debridement Surgery, Out
Kurt Thomas, Stress Fracture in Right Foot, Out
Rasheed Wallace, Fractured Fifth Metatarsal, Out
Key Storyline: Postseason Positioning
The New York Knicks were once in position to finish the season with the best record in the Eastern Conference. They're now 2.5 games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets for the Atlantic Division lead and tied with the Indiana Pacers for second place in the East.
A win over Memphis would go a long way towards reaffirming their legitimacy.
The Memphis Grizzlies, meanwhile, have fallen into fifth in the Western Conference. Even still, they're just one game behind the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets for third and fourth, respectively.
Every win counts, with this game serving as one of the utmost importance.
Key Matchup: Mike Conley vs. Raymond Felton
Quietly, but surely, Grizzlies floor general Mike Conley has become one of the league's better all-around point guards. From his elite defensive skills to his underrated facilitating abilities, Conley has it all.
Perhaps most important of all, Conley plays his best with the bright lights shining.
In order to make an impact on Mar. 27, Conley must overcome the facilitating prowess of Raymond Felton. No matter how many injuries the Knicks may have sustained, Felton has been able to find sharpshooters and big men in the perfect scoring positions.
The question is, can Conley slow Felton down?
Not only is Conley averaging 2.3 steals per game, but his base on defense is superb. This will enable Conley to maintain position on Felton, thus limiting drive-and-dish opportunities.
Whichever player ends up winning this battle will lead his team to victory.
X-Factor: Ed Davis, Memphis Grizzlies
Tyson Chandler is suffering from a bulging disc in his neck, which could force him to miss the upcoming game against Memphis. Amar'e Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace and Kurt Thomas are all expected to miss the game.
This leaves a void for rebounding monster and athletic dynamo Ed Davis to step up and shine.
Davis has been superb over the past two outings, as he's averaged 10.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 21.0 minutes. With Marc Gasol suffering from injury, Davis will need to provide that type of production for Memphis to achieve victory.
If he can control the glass as his talent permits, Davis will lead the Grizzlies to victory.
If healthy, the Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks would be an excellent matchup. While injured, they just so happen to be without All-Star players at the same positions.
So which team is built to sustain success without their stars? That would be the Knicks.
Carmelo Anthony is active and J.R. Smith is more than capable of dropping in points in a hurry. Although the Grizzlies can counter the Knicks in virtually every other area, they fail to match New York's star power.
Even with Zach Randolph pounding it inside, the Knicks hold too powerful an advantage to lose a game at home.
'Melo will light up the scoreboard, finding a way to overcome Tayshaun Prince's defensive pressure. Smith will outproduce Jerryd Bayless and the Knicks will hold on for the win.
A much-needed victory.
New York Knicks 98, Memphis Grizzlies 93
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