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Dec 31, 2011

Grizzlies 113 vs Houston 93

  • Grizzlies Win! - emphatic, dominating performance all-around.

    All the new guys looked like they belong. Zach was nailing his rainbow shots and doing fancy sweeping hooks over Dalembert. Both he and Marc Gasol are in playoff form, as the announcers remarked.

    AND THIS GUY!!!!!!!! → → → → →

    The Grizzlies play like this and there's nothing to worry about. Bring on Haddadi. Bring back Conley. Bring back Xavier Henry. We got more firepower than we know what to do with then?!

    <a href='' target='_new' title='Grizzlies on good night' >Video: Grizzlies on good night</a>

    Updated stats thru 49 games:

    Grizzlies in Game 3:
    PlayereStatu = mean difference
    Jeremy Pargo -1 u = -3.102
    Tony Allen -16 u = -20.204
    Rudy Gay -1 u = -7.633
    Zach Randolph +19 u = +18.286
    Marc Gasol +18 u = +18.449
    6th (Quincy Pondexter) +0 u = +1.490

    Hmmm, Grizzlies stats prove one obvious fact. The whole team succeeds in their role and then the bigs get fed. This isn't just the fact that ZBO and Gasol dominate one-on-one against the Rockets bigs. When the other guys run the offense well it results in easy baskets for them. The Rockets only chance was to jack it up with KMartin and allow Lowry to shoot 45 free throws. So the disparity in the guard numbers only shows the weakness in the Rockets strategy. We won the battle, undeniably!

    Quincy Pondexter and company played hard hat ball. Cunningham, Selby, and Mayo got it done.

    But hey that Chandler Parsons rookie can shoot the friggin'ball!

    Go Grizz!
  • Dec 29, 2011

    Grizzlies 95 vs Thunder 98

    Grizzlies dropped their home opener as usual, but the significance here is that it's only the 2nd Thunder win in Memphis outside of the triple overtime playoff match. Things could have gone really far south though if the Grizzlies hadn't pulled it together and rallied back from a sizable deficit in the fourth quarter. When Mike Conley went down in the first possession of the game for the Grizzlies you might expect the team to fall into the turnover happy mode it was in San Antonio. Instead we saw them buckle down and both the big men, ZBO and Gasol, had spectacular games. They rode Perkins, Collins, and Aldrich down to the mat. Nazr Mohammed contributed nothing but failures as usual.

    Despite the loss, it was an admirable effort from the Grizz and both Jeremy Pargo and Josh Selby looked promising. The rest of the bench isn't worth writing home about yet.

    Here are my league-wide stats after 32 games played through December 28th, 2011:

    You can see that Small Forward continues to dominate (LBJ, Granger, Melo, Durant, and an impressive performance from Gerald Wallace Tuesday night). Somehow the center position and power forwards fall off the map. I expect this to change as the season progresses. Shooting percentages are low and possessions high. The value of each possession is low and the offense just isn't coming through the big guys yet. These are generalizations of course. Since I last compiled these figures though you will notice a decline in the contributions from the guards. Bench production is also surprisingly unimportant. Again, like the big man factor, the negative bench impact will likely reverse as the season grinds on!

    Grizzlies in Game 2:
    PlayereStatu = mean difference
    Jeremy Pargo +11 u = +8.125
    Tony Allen +1 u = -2.969
    Rudy Gay -13 u = -21.375
    Zach Randolph +20 u = +19.656
    Marc Gasol +6 u = +7.438
    6th (O.J. Mayo) -13 u = -10.844

    It's clear the Grizzlies need firepower off the bench still. Although hoping Conley comes back, Pargo can provide a lift off the bench and he proved it in a critical game last night. He did more than that; he showed he can lead an NBA team, which definitely exceeded my expectations!

    Nothing to worry about here as the Grizzlies really got their mojo working in my opinion, which is all we can ask for at this stage of the season. It wasn't the stinkbomb effort we saw in San Antonio. The wins will come. To think beyond playoffs as a goal right now is a fantasy however. Right now the goal is emerge about a .500 record and start jockeying for a playoff seeding.

    Go Grizz!

    Dec 27, 2011

    Grizzlies 82 at Spurs 95

  • Grizzlies lose to Spurs in blowout fashion - Carrying a one-point lead into the half the Grizz collapsed in the third barely managing to score double figures in the 3rd. They had only 5 points until a sudden onslaught with a minute left in the quarter, which kept the Spurs lead down under the 20 point mark. But the Spurs were pretty much in cruise control from that point on.

    This is definitely a preseason level of play we're seeing so far across the league. The Grizzlies probably just played for the first time with their new acquisitions, Dante Cunningham (#44) and Quincy "QPon" Pondexter (#20). Also it was the first action Marc Gasol has seen since he played for the Spanish national team earlier in 2011. No need to get bent out of shape but there are some immediate questions:

    • Why did Tony Allen only play 15 minutes when clearly we needed him with Manu running free on us?
    • Why didn't OJ play more too?
    • Why isn't ZBO being ZBO?
    • Why so many stinking turnovers? We got killed in that department. We were outrebounding and outscoring the Spurs like crazy in the first half. Without the turnovers we would have been blowing them out. Once they caught fire, it was all over for us.

    I have begun a new experiment this year and will post the results after each Grizzlies game. I am tracking the scoring production of all 5 starters from every single game and comparing against the average. I also include the highest scoring 6th man from each team. If you've analyzed the games so far in the first 2 days of this season you will probably observe that the Small Forward has dominated (Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James, Hedo Turkoglu, and even Rudy Gay). Anthony was like +35 on the Celtics Christmas Day due party to Paul Pierce's absence. Here are the result thus far:
    You will see the total for SF contributes highest to the winnings so far. The guards have emerged as significant players in the determination of the winning team. A surprise from these sloppy contests is the negative impact power forwards, centers, and sixth men have had on their teams' success. This is not good for Memphis! Hopefully this trend reverses as the season progresses and defense gets tighter, I predict.
    Grizzlies in Game1:
    PlayereStatu = mean difference
    Mike Conley -4 u = -8.765
    Tony Allen -22 u = -26.882
    Rudy Gay +5 u = -4.118
    Zach Randolph +0 u = +0.353
    Marc Gasol +7 u = +5
    6th (Dante Cunningham) -1 u = +2.824

    And so far I am happy with my metric here because it clearly shows where we were dominated (Manu Ginobli) but is a somewhat misleading category because Tony Allen only played 15 minutes!

    Let's get those Thunder on Wednesday Grizz!

  • Dec 22, 2011

    Put it in the basket chief

  • BJ Mullens Prison Ball - The former OSU joker that never got court time at OKC and is now on the Charlotte Bobcats, apparently played prison ball over the lockout to get tougher. That's pretty freaking hessian, dude.

    Will the Bobcats match the contract that Dante Cunningham signed with the Grizzlies? Are we going to trade for someone like Speights? Will the return of Joey Dorsey, Earl Barron, or Jake Tsakilidis come to fruition?

    We need a tough guy who isn't afraid of playing in jail like Mr. Mullens. Someone crazy that is talented enough for NBA but hasn't been picked up yet would be just the right fit.

    I KNOW!

    Wait, no, tried that already.

    YES! All I want for Christmas is my Haddadi.
  • Dec 19, 2011

    Once Bitten, Twice Shy

    Darrell Arthur is out for the season it appears! Maybe a miracle happens and he's ready for late April or playoffs, but sounds doubtful. We already had a gaping hole behind Marc Gasol, as Hamed Haddadi has yet to actually make an appearance in Memphis, although he says he is on his way. That need existed before losing King Arthur. Now apparently the Grizz only have summer camp invites to backup Ga-ZBO (Marc Gasol = Ursa Major, ZBO = Ursa Minor).

    There's no question that the value of Arthur on this team was huge. He can play the 4 and the 5. He is a threat anywhere inside the 3pt line to score on a variety of moves. He can hang defensively with any of the big guys.

    Now a lot of the guys I was coveting have been signed already: Jonas Jerebko (GOD HE'D BE THE PERFECT REPLACEMENT NOW!), Carl Landry, Ersan Ilyasova, Nikola Pekovic (Europe), Chuck Hayes, Glen Davis, and Craig Smith. But there are still a few guys left we should consider.

    Samual Dalembert should be top of the list now because we are one injury away from having to start Brian Skinner. Do you think Gasol is going to start all 66 games this year? I wouldn't count on it. Dalembert would be a reach, not sure how we make cap room but he'd be a godsend.

    Steve Novak. I think he is available for a vet min salary and he provides needed 3pt shooting as well. This is really a guy I wanted to shore up our bench originally. He can't fill 00's (Arthur's) shoes but I'd like to see him on the Grizz. He shot over 50% last season from downtown…

    This guy needs to get out of the spotlight and return to basketball. What better town than Memphis? He can go clear under the radar and continue right where he left off as a double-double machine as the main backup behind ZBO this season. The question is salary. Also it would help him to find a real woman in Memphis that can cook for him and treat him right instead of some celebuttante bitch. Win-win for everyone!

    The other obvious candidates that we missed out on were Jeff Adrien, Troy Murphy, and Josh McRoberts. My intuition says we just bring in Leon Powe, keep Walter Sharpe, and Josh Davis. Keep Skinner until Haddadi shows up.

    I just wonder if there's someone else out there of suitable quality that's available for a trade scenario that also allows O.J. Mayo to command another playoff team in the East. In that case we might look at bringing in Taj Gibson from the Chicago Bulls. He played with Marc Gasol at the 2009 Rookie All_Star Challenge in Phoenix.

    Other names I've seen float around are Mareese Speights and Dan Gadzuric.

    Dec 16, 2011

    Grizz named NBA Mascot of the Year

    GRIZZLIES: Grizz named NBA Mascot of the Year

    Somehow I missed this. GO GRIZZ!!

    What do ya think about the West Conference? Blazers added Jamal Crawford - A. Clippers trade - B. Dallas adds Odom - A+. Hornets add Eric Gordon, Kaman, and Aminu - A+. Jazz add Josh Howard - C-.

    Couple interesting amnesties: Billups (picked up by Clips), BRoy, Travis Outlaw. The Celtics might have to amnesty Jeff Green. Stay Tuned!

    What do I think about the division for the Grizzlies? Well, I think Houston, Dallas, and New Orleans all got better. The Spurs are going to slide back a bit. Definitely won't be number one seed again this year. That's our Southwest division.

    Grizz got nothing to fear though. They should be the #2 behind Dallas and could rival them for the top if all goes well. As far as the Clippers are concerned, I don't think they pose a threat to contenders this year. Go Grizz!

    Dec 10, 2011

    The Chris Paul Veto

    Regarding the Chris Paul trade, last minute about-face, I have 2 words for the NBA executives: Karma and Serendipity.


    In this case I believe the Lakers would have maintained mediocrity with Chris Paul. By the time they could build up a team again Kobe Bryant will either be retired or relegated to a veteran support role, which we've already seen begin to take shape this past season. The Lakers would not be in a "win now" situation with this trade, which I think is karma's way of balancing out whatever disservice was done to the Hornets after fostering the CP3 all these years.

    On the flipside, the Hornets should be rewarded by karma for doing the right thing with the disgruntled CP3, and getting him to a "contender". This looked to be the case as they were obtaining a world class post player in Luis Scola, the 2011 FIBA Americas MVP, who averaged over 20 points per game and legitimately would become the best player in a Hornets uniform outside of Chris Paul and Alonzo Mourning perhaps of all-time.

    Am I forgetting any other Hornets legends?


    As a Memphis Grizzlies fan all I can think about is the Pau Gasol trade. Pau would end up in Houston after this trade, which would be interesting as the Grizzlies and little brother Marc would face him 4 times a year instead of twice. The Memphis Grizzlies franchise became a running joke to casual fans and expert analysts alike after they moved Pau to the Lakers in 2008. This was the culmination of 3 years of misery in Memphis, in which we barely eked out 20-win seasons.

    I won't belabor the details, but from that trade we know what happened. We swapped a bunch of players and ended up with Marc Gasol and extra cap space to absorb the fat ZBO contract from the Darko Milicic trade. Michael Heisley himself said it's just plain luck, IIRC. "The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry." These guys need to reread that book. The best thing, as an objective sports fan, to see is the New York Yankees falling on their faces. The best thing to watch is the NBA Finals, Miami Heat getting their tails whipped by the Dallas Mavericks. No, the BEST thing to watch would be the Memphis Grizzlies NBA Finals whipping the Heat or the Knicks, or maybe even the Brooklyn Nets with DWill & D12.

    Yes, us small markets drink that Haterade deeply. 10 teams are featured on the NBA's opening day of Christmas. 6 of the 8 final playoff teams will be represented.

    Can you guess which second-round playoff team is not playing that day?

    Do you care about the small market teams so much NBA? Or was this really about protecting your brand and sheltering the Lakers? Or have you even thought it out that far? Teams with superstars and marketing contracts (Clippers, Knicks, Magic) trump far superior teams without superstars from smaller markets (Hawks, Grizzlies, and Spurs). There's too much at stake for this to have been a petty backlash to Chris Paul for personal grudges. I think we will see the trade and it will reward the Lakers even further because they have all the television contracts and they are the supreme cash cow. Casual fans still think Kobe is the best player in the NBA I'm sure. Remember the two words though: karma and serendipity. I can't wait to see the Hornets play them. I can't wait to see the Lakers fall on their face again… but I have a hard time watching the games on Christmas knowing this league is still operating under lip service and still a slave to the almighty greenback – which trumps any and all "basketball" decisions.

    Dec 2, 2011

    NBA Lockout Redux Slideshow

    "You'll remember the quality long after you forget the price." —Ed Sabol

    Dec 1, 2011

    Gentlemen Start Yer Engines!

  • Marc Gasol in Memphis - Two story-lines to consider here: 1) Marc Gasol is the number one available free agent this month. He is top of most experts' lists. 2) Grizzlies and Gasol both express confidence that he will remain with the team. In many ways he is the heart and soul of this reformed Grizzlies' basketball squad.

    Recall that statistically in season 2010 the Grizzlies starting 5 was significantly more productive than any other 5 man starting unit in the league. Their problem had been their bench production. The ability to retain that core and continue to build around it with guys like Tony Allen, Shane Battier, Greivis, Josh Selby, and Xavier Henry; undoubtedly pushes them deeper and makes them a perennial competitor.

    Let the Games Begin!

    "People close to Gasol are convinced that his desire is to remain in Memphis." -CA

    UPDATE: NBA screws the pooch - choose Orlando, Golden State, and the Clippers over the Grizzlies. Memphis can continue the chip on the shoulder syndrome for the foreseeable future. Terrible news for the Grizzlies faithful.

    I am quite glad this lockout ended. I was in Miami last week and on November 27th they were originally scheduled to play Memphis Grizzlies, by pure coincidence I would have been free to attend this game. Oh, cruel fate! We walked around American Airlines Arena and something felt missing. I realized they had taken down all images and advertisements, banners, posters, etc. around the building because of the lockout. I saw about 25 people with #6 jerseys and about 5 guys with Wade jerseys so you can tell they are there but it felt like I wasn't in an NBA town other than that because I never saw an image of Lebron anywhere. Even on gameday with the Miami Dolphins playing nearby I still saw more fans with Heat jerseys on than any sight of a Dolphins fan. These fans might not have even known there was a lockout though. I did see an ad with Chris Bosh in it somewhere in my hotel I think though.