The Weekly Grind - The "Magic Happens When HPS Leaves Early" Edition
I have sat through some shitty basketball games in the Forum…ass-whippings by the Spurs, epic collapses to the Clippers, snoozefests against the Wizards…but only twice have I left before the 3rd quarter started. The first was December 4th against the Suns. The Grizz got down by 16 points in the 2nd quarter, I got pissed off and decided to go drink cheap(er) beer back at Flying Saucer. Zach Randolph proceeds to play the best game of his career, puts up a 38-20 line, and the Grizz win by 10 in OT while I drank $3 Spaten’s and watched on TV with other idiots like myself. The second was Wednesday night.
Wednesday v. Portland- Something that’s become a trend of late, this game was a tale of two halves. With Zach Randolph and Darrell Arthur both out with injuries, the Grizz came out looking lost and lethargic on both ends of the court. It was 26-18 after 1 quarter and the 2nd was more of the same. Newcomers Ed Davis, Jon Leuer, and Dexter Pittman (you know you’re in trouble when Leuer and Pittman are playing serious minutes) struggled all over the court. Leuer was especially bad, posting a -9 with a couple of misses from point-blank range (he did have a nice dunk off a beautiful assist by Tony Wroten). At one point in the third Portland was up 17. Then something happened….Lionel Hollins made an in-game adjustment. Towards the end of the 3rd, Hollins substituted Tayshaun Prince at the 4 for Ed Davis and went with a small 3 guard lineup. The Grizz outscored Portland 36-19 the rest of the game. After a ridiculous 27-foot jumper by Eric Maynor at the 6:31 mark, the Blazers didn’t make another basket until 17 seconds remained in the game. While the defense was devastating, the offense came from basically three players. Bayless finally found his shot, scoring 13 points in the final 13 minutes with three 3-pointers. Mike Conley got the best of soon-to-be-Rookie-of-the-Year-winner Damian Lillard by dropping 20 points (11 in the 3rd quarter) and 6 assists. But Marc Gasol went into beast mode. He finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds and played suffocating defense on Lamarcus Aldridge all night. The win put the Grizzlies at 40-19, the quickest to 40 wins in franchise history.
Grizzlies Tweet of the Week Not From @HydeParkSwag
The world is much more fun if you just believe everything said about Tony Allen is true.
Tony Allen celebrated that block by saying "I Ain't payin' China sh*t"— Russillo (@ryenarussillo) March 7, 2013
Grizzlies Article of the Week
Another great Numbers Game from Peter Edmiston on Marc Gasol’s defense
Plus..Rudy Gay is still maaaaaaaaaad.
Grizzlies Tweet of the Week From @HydeParkSwag
It’s well documented that I do not care much for the coaching style of Lionel Hollins but I’m willing to give him credit when he deserves it.
Got to give Coach Hollins credit for going with that small lineup down the stretch. The defense that group played was devastating.— Hyde Park Swag (@HydeParkSwag) March 7, 2013
Bonus NBA Tweet I Think Is Hilarious and Want to Share
This came during last night's Knicks-Thunder game when the Knicks' didn't draw up the best final play...putting the ball in JR Smith's hands. Plus any Quailman reference gets a thumbs-up from me.
Hero ball is bad enough. It's even worse when the guy playing it is the superhero equivalent of Quailman. #Knicks— Chase Lucas (@deepfriedcouch) March 8, 2013
A Look at the Standings
The Grizzlies are still the 4th seed in the Western Conference but things have gotten more interesting. While the Grizz have made up a little ground and are now only 1.5 games behind the Clippers for the 3 spot, Denver has won 7 straight. The Nuggets are 1 game back in a crucial race for home court.
Although they’re playing two teams with records under .500, this is a big weekend for the Grizz. They need to get these two wins before they go on a really tough west coast road trip starting next week.
Friday @ Cleveland- It’s Reunion Tour Part 2 as the Grizz head to Cleveland to take on former teammates Mo Speights and Wayne Ellington, both of whom have taken on a serious role for the Cavs. Memphis won the earlier matchup this season 84-78 but those two teams were obviously much different. Both teams will have their starting point guards (Mike Conley and Kyrie Irving both sat out due to injury) but Cleveland has lost leading rebounder Anderson Varejao for the season. Dion Waiters is also questionable due to an illness that has sidelined him for a week. Perimeter defense (keeping Irving out of the Lane, closing out on shooters) will be the key as Memphis should be able to overpower the Cavs in the post. It would also be nice to start the game well and not have to fight back from double-digits. Zach Randolph and Darrell Arthur are both still listed as questionable. Check @GrizzGrindBlog for updates on their status.
UPDATE: Kyrie Irving (illness) is doubtful for tonight. Dion Waiters (illness) is probable.
Saturday v. New Orleans
SOMEONE FREAKING GUARD RYAN ANDERSON!!!
-Cool stat from @CAGrizBlog…Since the start of the 09-10 season, Hollins’ first year as head coach, the Grizzlies have 10 comebacks from 17 points or more. That’s the most in the NBA for that timespan.
-While the Grizzlies have won three straight over the Cavs, they’ve all come at home. They haven’t won a game in Cleveland in nearly 10 years, going 0-7 since November 2003. Only one of those losses, however, have occurred since Lebron took his talents to South Beach.
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