Well, the Grizzlies have come back to Earth.
And they’re still sinking.
First off-whatever Rudy Gay’s “personal matters” were/are, I do hope that it’s nothing disastrous family- or personal-wise for him. The Griz need him, but basketball just ain’t everything.
So…the smart coaches seem to have “sorted out” a formula for beating the Griz. How’d Doug Collins get it done?
He’s surely a great coach (about right now, I’d like to be listening to him commentate on games…), and he did what Pop, Karl, and McHale have done. Clog the paint, but don’t over-clog it.
Let ZBo and Marc do what they do (which they did-10-18 and 9-15 respectively), and don’t dedicate too much in the way of help and/or doubling onto them, and dare the other Grizzlies to provide enough extra offense to win.
Mike Conley did not exactly have his best game of the year, to put it mildly. Take a listen to Conley’s remarks after the game, and see if it’s not what we all might have to say about the current slump.
Good job on accountability and not pointing fingers-but saying and doing, obviously, are two different things.
Perhaps the Grizzlies need to take a closer, longer look at playing small more-it’s something touched upon by Conley, and it’s something that is a league-wide strategy and tactic, especially a banger-oriented team like the Grizzlies. Also, “banger-0riented” means “can’t shoot very well from outside”. I’m thinking that if Hollinger really has Pera’s and Levien’s ears, the trade rumblings are sure to begin growing louder. As balanced as the Griz appeared in November, the season’s second month has not been to sure-footed.
Getting outdone regularly in transition is becoming an unwelcome hallmark of Grizzly (grisly?) losses. The tally this game was 16-2 (TWO fast break points??!?!?!?!?!?!?), and it leads to the cursory but important glance at offensive rebounding-sure, the Grizzlies took that stat 15-8, but offensive rebounding leads to guys not being in position to get back in transition. Coach Hollins used the term “outquicked” in describing this game, and that’s a great term. It happened in the paint and especially in transition. He sounds rather close to disgusted with the Griz’ inability to have five players executing at once in the game:
Would this game have turned out differently had Rudy been available? Perhaps, perhaps not.
As Marc Gasol says, it’s just about stepping up to the challenge when the Grizzlies know that teams are coming into the game with strong ideas about ways to surmount the Grizzlies’ advantages. When teams play a man like Thad Young at the 4, it’s gonna mean a lot of quickness with still-decent size and range from that position (as well as four of the Sixers’ embarrassingly-high twelve blocks). Rudy Gay has the size and length to play the PF position for stretches, but his rebounding numbers are not strong when he does so, and his post play is not a strength, although his ability to draw an opponent out of the paint can be of great help.
The team has to get back to the drawing board a little bit. Biggest things that have to improve?
-Interior spacing. The “best interior passing team there is” has not looked like it at all. A bit Keystone-Kop-ish, actually.
-Wayne Elllington can’t play 30 minutes and take one three-pointer (and miss it, at that).
-Getting back on defense in transition has to be more of a priority, even if offensive rebounding suffers.
-Further into defensive possessions, second and third efforts off pick-and-roll plays and helping the right way (i.e. not leaving your man in the corner when he’s a known three-point shooter).
Denver comes in Saturday and the Grizzlies have to get it sorted out quickly-we all know what has happened the last two games against the Nuggets.