Oh no! Gilbert Arenas had a turnover!
His first in several games, so we’ll let him go on that…especially since he went 4/5 from the field, and that’d be 4/5 from three. There’s a word, it is an oft-used term for a small charcoal grill…I’ll think of it later. Whatever.
Against the Mavs on Wednesday, the Grizzlies came out strong, but fizzled like a dud firecracker in the fourth quarter. Permissible on the back end of a B3B after winning the first two? Eh, maybe. But not really.
Some things were consistent over these two games against last season’s finals contestants, some things were not….
Item one, and it goes a bit beyond these last two games: Gilbert Arenas. Over the last four games, he’s 11-for-17 (7-12 from three) with ONE turnover over the four games. What did the Griz need from Arenas? Make a few threes, don’t be a liability on D, and don’t turn the ball over too much. Bill filled. Sounds like my co-blogger Lee made a pretty good FA suggestion for the Griz organization, eh? He showed poise, and what he has picked up is spacing-he is starting to learn where the open spaces are gonna be at the 3pt line, and how defenders are going to shade Grizzly players at the elbow. Best is that Gilbert just wants a role-it can be small, it might grow-but he just wants a role.
Item two-Rudy Gay. Not consistent over the two games,not at all. It’s made its way into the news and such that Rudy has been sick, and he’s to be applauded for playing through illness knowing that his team needs him-but playing hurt can sometimes be a mistake. A mistake born of the best intentions, but a mistake nonetheless. Against the Mavs, he was not able to play effectively on either end-Marion had a great game (although Gay did not guard him all night), and Carter and Marion were able to hold him to a nasty, nasty 3-13 from the field. Against Miami, a “well” Rudy Gay showed up in Beale Street Blue. Sure, 8-19 is not gonna go down as Rudy’s best line ever-but the shots that he made were important, and his arms, and more importantly his feet, were active on defense, his three steals as evidence of such. If Rudy can get some good sleep in his own bed, I’d be surprised if we didn’t see a 20+ game from Gay against the Mavs tomorrow.
Item three-ZBo. Finally, uh, rounding into form. Had to play against a lot of length against DAL-Odom, Haywood, Mahinmi, even Brandan Wright, and didn’t fare well at all. The happily inconsistent thing? He had to go against Bosh a fair bit against MIA, and while CB’s length did present problems for ZBo, he was able to get his ‘bound on for sure (a season-high 14). With any luck, ZBo will be looking for revenge against Dallas. The thing Zach must do is trust that knee-not for jumping, but for pivoting on the block. If he gets time against Irk, he may be able to get his feeling back on the block for good.
Item four-team defense. Rebounding is a big part of D, and minus-5 against Dallas, loss. Plus-2 against Heat, win. Coincidence? No. Sole cause? Not a chance, but it’s a big deal. When an aging Marion goes 7-11 and Delonte West (who is, I have always believed, an underrated player) goes 6-7, you’ve defined the word lackadaisical. When you hold the Heat to 12 in a first quarter AT MIAMI, without your best defensive player, you’ve defined solid team effort. Only one quarter over 21 points for the Heat, and only 40% shooting. Again, without your best defensive player. Could the Griz have had a chance in the Dallas game if OJ hadn’t inadvertently knocked TA out of the game? Must not make card game revenge jokes, must not make card game revenge jokes…ok I’m past it.
Seven players, including three bench players, in double figures against the “mighty” Heat. Frustrating DWade so badly that he deserved at least one tech, maybe more. Great win, with another “biggest game of the year” coming the very next night. The FedEx Forum is going to be EXPLODING with energy Saturday night-will the team match the fans’ excitement level?