Pregame Open Thread: New Jersey Nets @ Memphis Grizzlies

Amid all the continuous swirling of trade rumors, the Nets do in fact still play basketball. Tonight the 8-20 Nets take on the 12-16 Grizzlies in Memphis. Memphis is 8-5 at home and the Nets are 2-12 on the road, so this one is sure to be an uphill climb. Memphis is also one of the rare teams with no injuries to report, but the Nets are still sans Anthony Morrow and Damion James.

Here are a few things to watch out for in tonight’s game:

Make it rain from outside. Memphis is one of the worst teams in the NBA at giving up three-pointers, allowing 223 (3rd-most in the NBA) so far at a .389 clip (5th-worst in the NBA). While the Nets are missing the one guy who could really hurt them – the incomparable Anthony Morrow – they still have Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Travis Outlaw, and maybe even Troy Murphy if Avery decides he’s alive.

Limit the turnovers. Memphis is the best team in the NBA at forcing turnovers thus far, with 16.1% of opponent possessions ending in a turnover. At the opposite side of that spectrum is the New Jersey Nets, who force turnovers on a league-worst 12% of possessions. If Devin & Jordan can control the tempo of the game against ballhawk Mike Conley (who, despite his outrageous contract, is still picking up 2.1 steals per game) and the Nets run their offense crisply, they can take Memphis’ biggest strength right out of their hands.

Control the paint. The Grizzlies start two bruisers at the 4 and 5 spots in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, and neither should be taken lightly. Randolph is averaging an impressive double-double with 18 points and 12.4 rebounds per game, and Gasol has always been quietly effective. If the Nets can lock these two guys down – which is much easier said than done – and control the defensive glass (where the Nets are 7th in the NBA with a 75.5% defensive rebound rate), they can definitely open up an opportunity to steal one in Memphis.

For more coverage of the Memphis Grizzlies, check out TrueHoop affiliate 3 Shades of Blue.