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GAME 34 vs Memphis, Preview & Game Thread

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (10-24)  102.9 ORtg (#15), 107.0 DRtg (#28), 96.9 Pace (# 8)
SACRAMENTO KINGS  (13-20)  101.2 ORtg (#16), 104.5 DRtg (#24), 95.8 Pace (#11)

I traded insight with the fellows from 3 Shades of Blue. My request was an assessment of Mike Conley's early performance running the show. Here's ChipC3's take:

Derek Fisher went off for 26 points including 5-5 from the arc and held Conley to 5-15 shooting while daring him to hit the outside shot by dropping 5-10 ft off of Conley and looking to steal any inbound passes. Welcome to the NBA Mr. Conley.

There were bright spots however. Derek Fisher isn't going to be that hot nor is any point guard in the NBA on a nightly business. When Conley did take the ball to the rack he made some nice plays in cluding a Nash-like run through the lane turn and head back out only to shoot a no look pass to Darko for a dunk as the defense moved up to stay with Conley. Mike still needs to develop the outside shot so teams respect that and play a little more under control at times but all in all not a bad game for the 20 yr old's fourth start.

Basically Conley is going to shock teams at first with his speed and pass first mentality but he still needs work on slowing the game down in his head, how to defend different people and gain confidence in his shot. He's a couple of years away from being very good and probably 5 years away from being great and that is only if he continues to work on his game but he seems very mature and isn't rattled easily. I think he will be great one day along the lines of a Parker ( but not so much a scorer) or Nash ( but not quite so intuitive a passer). While being a little different than both players he may one day belong in this company when talking about pure point guards.

Beno Udrih isn't a quick mover side-to-side, and Conley should be able to burn him a few times. With the lack of a shotblocker 39 minutes a night (what up, 3-Wil!) there really is no disincentive to penetrate, penetrate, penetrate when you're facing the Kings. That said, Sacramento's swings and bigs have played the passing lanes very well the past week; the number of easy steals has been a bit outrageous, but it might say more about the carelessness of the opponents rather than some brilliant line of communication between Brad Miller and John Salmons.

Pau Gasol can score in the post any time he wants against this team. Here's to hoping he doesn't want to score in the post. Rudy Gay poses another set of problems, and Mike Miller can shoot from section214's seats.

Game's at 7. Go Kings.