MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Today is a big day in this music-minded city, but not because everybody is excited to see a traveling act called the Utah Jazz.
The Memphis Grizzlies are not only having their 2012-13 home-opener tonight, but their game against the Jazz is also part of a celebration for the organization's new ownership.
The night's festivities at FedEx Forum (6 p.m., ROOT) will include a big pregame production and the presence of NBA Commissioner David Stern, who is here to show support of new Memphis owner Robert J. Pera.
Pera, a 34-year-old former Apple engineer, has said he's committed to keep the Grizzlies in Memphis. His star-studded ownership group also includes Justin Timberlake, Penny Hardaway and NFL star Peyton Manning's wife, Ashley Manning.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin made his players aware of the extra emotions that will be in the arena as his team tries to snap a two-game road skid.
"We've got to weather the storm early. They're going to be jacked up in the beginning of the game," Corbin said at today's shootaround session. "We've got to make sure we come out ready to play our style of basketball and not get caught up in the things that they have going on and the excitement that they have."
More short shots from shootaround:
— Corbin is focused on the team's slow starts (a carryover problem from last season). He wants his team to bottle the energy and effort they're showing in big third quarters and open it up at tipoff.
"That (big third quarters) just shows how much fight and desire this team have. We've got to show it right from the beginning of the game and not wait until we get down to do it. It shows a lot of character about who we are, but we've got to be that team from the beginning of the ballgame."
— Corbin continues on about the first-quarter woes (Utah is only averaging 20.3 points to begin games compared to 25.3 for foes):
"I think we are either thinking about not committing the fouls or not being aggressive, or whatever it is. We've got to figure out what it is. We've missed shots early. We're not getting in the right spots. We're not getting the right shots in the right places. We've got to get that figured out sooner."
— Corbin on how damaging it might be to go 0-3 on first road trip:
"It's always good to get off to a good start instead of having to work your way out of a hole. It's not the end of the world, but we don't want it to happen."
— Corbin on wanting to find more (any) playing time for second-year shooting guard Alec Burks:
"Yes, yes, yes, yes. I mean, he deserve to play, not only him but Jeremy (Evans) deserve to get minutes on the floor and even Kevin Murphy's shown signs."2 comments on this story
— Corbin about Al Jefferson's early struggles (aside from his 10-point fourth quarter Saturday in San Antonio):
"Teams are really, really coming down on him. They're coming down, they're doubling him, they're fronting him, they're showing him different angles. They're trying not to let him get going. We did a better job in that fourth quarter of making crisp, hard cuts off of him and rotating on the weak side to give him a one-on-one opportunity. He was more aggressive once he saw his break to go against that one defender before the help could come. We have to do more of that for him because we need him to be effective on the post for us."