The Weekly Grind - The Close Strong Editon
It was a slow week in Grizz Nation with only one game on the schedule but this weekend is the start of a crucial 3 games in 4 nights stretch with significant playoff implications. Let’s get a quick recap of the week before we jump into what this weekend could bring.
Tuesday v. Charlotte- Damn, what an ugly basketball game. The two teams combined to shoot 42% from the field, 19% from 3, and 68% from the free throw line. And while it ended up being a blowout, this game wasn’t as much as a laugher as the 94-75 final score would indicate. Charlotte went on a 13-4 run during the 3rd to tie the game up at 53 but from then on, Mike Conley and the Grizzlies bench decided they weren’t having any of that shit. A lineup of Conley, Pondexter, Daye, Davis, and Jon Leuer (WHITESNAKE!!!) started the 4th on a 19-6 run and put the game out of reach. Conley was spectacular once again, scoring 20 or more in his 5th straight game but the story was the bench. The Leuer (11 points), Davis (8), Daye (10), and Pondexter (8) foursome outscored the usual starting lineup (excluding Conley)37-35. None of Gasol, Allen, Randolph, or Prince even played in the 4th quarter.
Grizzlies Tweet of the Week Not From @HydeParkSwag
Jon Leuer holds the head of Hamed Haddadi for all to see. "This is what your 12th man was!" he shouts. "I am what your 12th man is!!!"— Matt Hrdlicka (@theRealHrdlicka) April 10, 2013
Grizzlies Article of the Week Not from GrizzGrind.com
Zach Lowe of Grantland has a great piece about the Grizzlies being the best team to upset the Thunder and how Zach Randolph needs to get right.
We also had a special gift this week as we got to hear from Grizzlies majority owner Robert Pera on why he believes Tony Allen should win Defensive Player of the Year.
Grit and Grind
Grizzlies Tweet of the Week From @HydeParkSwag
Holy crap...since the Rudy trade, the #Grizzlies clutch offense has gone from 26th in the league to 2nd.That's an insane jump.— Hyde Park Swag (@HydeParkSwag) April 9, 2013
That is some actual basketball analysis from HydeParkSwag. See...I'm not just F-bombs and sex jokes.
A Look at the Standings
Shoutout to San Antonio for pretty much handing the Nuggets the 3 seed in the playoffs. The rest of Denver’s schedule is shit. So why the Grizzlies remain only a game behind, chances are bleak. Memphis also remains a game up on the Clippers for home court advantage. A win Saturday would go a long way towards locking that up. If the two teams are tied after the regular season, home court would go to the Clippers since they won their division.
Friday @ Houston- I hate playing the Rockets. The Grizzlies haven’t won in Houston since the Millard Fillmore administration (actually lost 13 straight dating back to 2006) and haven’t won the season series since 05-06. In the one matchup there this season, Memphis got throttled 121-96. Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino are both questionable but, with Houston still in the chase for the 6th seed, notable Grizz killer James Harden is definitely active. Memphis followed the formula for stopping him perfectly in the teams’ last game at Memphis in late March: keep him out of the lane, off the free throw line, and no open jumpers. Doubt you can expect Kevin McHale to bench him (along with the rest of their starters) for the entire 4th quarter again though. The key to this game will be to defend the 3 point line. Houston shoots more 3’s than any other Western Conference team by far. If they defend the perimeter and keep Omer Asik off the boards, Memphis should be able to pull this one out.
Saturday v. LA Clippers- You don’t need a paragraph from me to know how important this game is. LA has clinched their first ever division title but are still one game behind the Grizzlies for home court advantage in the playoffs. Both teams will be on the 2nd night of a back to back (LA plays New Orleans Friday night) and pretty much fully healthy. After struggling for a week or so, the Clippers offense has woken back up. They’re averaging 113 points on 53% shooting over their last 4 games. Just like all of their matchups, this one will be a contrast in style: the Clippers flash versus the Grizzlies grit and grind. The Grizzlies have to make them work for every basket. Chris Paul is going to get his, he always does. But make him fight for every basket. Don’t get beat by role players. Put a hand in Jordan Crawford’s face every time he touches the ball. Attack the rim on offense. Deandre Jordan is athletic as hell but he is a liability against the Grizzlies.
Oh, I know this is a lot to ask, but can we please not give up any break away dunks so the Heat Laker Celtic Thunder Clipper fanboys don’t have anything to fap about?
-Jerryd Bayless and Darrell Arthur both sat out their second straight games with various injuries Monday but both participated fully in shoot around this morning and are probable for tonight’s game.
-Tony Allen is selling wristbands for his Grit and Grind Foundation. All proceeds go directly to the foundation which puts on several basketball camps in several cities and the annual Back to School Bash in Chicago. There are three designs ranging from $5-$7. You can order them here.
-Special shoutout to my buddy Mike Gregory from the Knoxville chapter of GrizzNation. He made the drive over for Monday’s game (his second of the season and third overall) and saw his first Grizzlies win. You can follow him on twitter at @mikeygreg01.