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:
|Player||eStat||u = 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.