SEE, THE TRADE WAS AWESOME!
Ok, not quite-this game cannot and will not be construed as a supreme test for the Grizzlies’ (sometimes-bizarre) newly-available player combinations and new participants (namely Tony Wroten), but it was encouraging, even against a struggling team like the Lakers (boy, just can’t hate typing those words), to see the Grizzlies’ reserves really drop the hammer on somebody.
Takeaways from this game? Many, many…and of course some great audio from Lee in the mix.
-Darrell Arthur. It’s being reinforced that he’s the most important player on the Grizzlies’ bench. That putback on the Bayless barely-missed three at the end of the third was just a workinman’s dunk. It’s impossible not to root for the guy, as I’ve written previously-from the draft-night drop, to the pec muscle tear, to the achilles injury, this guy has been dealt some tough cards. His defense is well-known, but tonight, we saw him do what he is going to have to improve-rebound the ball. Again…can’t take too much from this game, but it’s great to see nonetheless. Can’t beat 9-15 with nine boards.
-Tony Allen. Thirty minutes, again a bit higher than might be his norm if Pondexter were available, but 6-11 is just about the perfect line for TA shooting-wise…again. He’s developing a wonderful habit of doing what is generally called “fitting in” on offense. This night in particular, his ability to play on the perimeter as well as fight for the ball in the paint was as easy to see as is been in quite a while (see: his interception of the pass to Pau when the game was pretty much in the bag-he was still fighting). Check out Tony’s remarks about Kobe starting about 1:30 into this clip-says it all about the guy.
-Along with Allen, the rest of the Grizzlies’ backcourt had one of its best games of the season. Conley, Allen, Bayless, and Wroten (!-more on him in a moment) combined for a gloriously almost-unheard-of-this-season 23 of 45 from the field..hey, that’s over 50%!! No, the Grizzlies did not hit the 50% field goals assisted mark-but 13 attempts were Wroten heading straight for the hoop (pretty much), and more than a couple of putbacks by various Grizzlies, and those aren’t assisted. Wroten picked a good night to get thrown into the rotation, against such a porous backcourt defense like the Lakers’-and he knew what to do, especially with Howard out of the game with
debilitating discontent an aggravated shoulder injury…he headed straight for the basket over, and over….and one time, he took advantage of a terrific seal by ZBo and hammered it home. Yeah, yeah, he went 4/13-but can’t whine about that excessively, as many rookies are wont to try to do too much (in a kind of Shrek-ish “PICK ME PICK ME” kind of way). The Lakers’ backcourt didn’t play all that well, but one of them is a good dancer . Check out what Tony Wroten had to say about what was definitely his largest chunk of meaningful minutes yet this season:
Love what he says about the game at about 3:15.
In other news, the Grizzlies outrebounded the hapless (!!!) Lakers by almost 20. Sure, Howard was not himself, and Rudy Gay went harder to the glass than we’ve seen in ages-but it was about hustling and running circles around a team who has clearly shown lately that they love to be…circumnavigated? Huh?
If the Lakers didn’t have that one guy that makes all those crazy shots (and gets T-ed up when he is made to look bad by a lesser player, haha), they’d be…the worst team in the NBA? Is that crazy?
Brooklyn on Friday…a chance to closely watch my perennial “maybe he’ll be the most improved player *this* season” candidate, Andray Blatche…
Ok, the Grizzlies won and I almost, almost, didn’t say anything about Zach Randolph. Hey, weird, he had a double-double…huh. Whod’a thunk it….