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March 13, 2012. The Lakers are playing the Memphis Grizzlies.

Memphis entered the game having won 10 of 12 games. The Grizzlies had been in control most of the night up to this point but the situation was nervously close. The Grizzlies lead had shrunk to five points and the Lakers were on the move.

2:28 left in regulation. Enter Tony Allen. Tony had scored 18 points so far in the game despite only playing around 18 minutes. He also had 3 steals and 4 assists. He was having a good game.

2:11 Andrew Bynum scores

1:47 Mo Speights misses

1:32 Kobe Bryant hits an open three when Tony Allen went to double another player

1:10 Marc Gasol misses

0:50 Pau Gasol scores on an assist from Tony Allen, Grizzlies Time Out. Tony Allen leaves the game and doesn’t return.

The Grizzlies lose in double OT. The team has gone 1-3 since Tony was benched against the Lakers and is in danger of not only losing home court advantage in the playoffs but missing the playoffs entirely.

This blog is not to place blame on Tony Allen.

On the contrary, I point to this series of events as a possible turning point for the franchise because of how Hollins treated Allen of late and how the team has responded to it.

Tony Allen is an emotional player and that emotion has changed the Grizzlies from a talented but underachieving team to one of the better franchises in the league. However, with O J Mayo’s contract situation looming, and now the Gilbert Arenas signing, keeping this emotional player happy needs to be a focus of the franchise. When Tony gets out of sorts the team gets out of sorts and right now.

Consider this: Tony Allen’s minutes played in the last four games: 21, 19, 28, 21. Guess which game the Grizzlies won?

Consider this: From February 14th until March 9 Tony Allen averaged 29.4 minutes a night, a span of 10 games where the Grizzlies went 9-1. Since that time Tony has averaged 21.3 minutes and the Grizzlies have gone 2-4 and in one of those wins Tony played 28 minutes.

Consider this: Last season the Grizzlies were 19-7 in games where Tony Allen played at least 25 minutes. This season the team is 17-8 when Tony plays 25 or more minutes.

So why isn’t Tony getting more minutes?  Is Hollins only upset with him for leaving Kobe alone for the game tying three point shot? Probably not since Allen’s minutes were being curtailed prior to the Lakers game.  Tony has troublesome knees. Perhaps Hollins prefers to rest Tony for the playoffs. Tony did miss three games in February to a sore knee after all.

Whatever the reason and whatever the case, the Grizzlies need Tony Allen in the game. Whatever spat Tony and Hollins have had needs to be put into the past. Judging from Allen’s tweets of late he is not injured and wants to play more. Hollins needs to see to it that he gets those minutes, even with Arenas joining the team.

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6 Responses to Where’s Tony Allen?

  1. GermanGrizzFanNo Gravatar says:

    I totally agree Chip!! I’ve been noticing this trend, too.

    Yesterday we had Jeremy freaking Pargo, who is utterly useless, in the game in the 4th quarter. What the heck?! Why didn’t TA or OJ play during the late stretch? Sometimes Hollins confuses me mightily with that kind of stuff…

  2. EvanNo Gravatar says:

    Pargo hit two huge 3s last night which kept us in the game, bro…

    I agree with the article completely. When Tony is on the floor, good things happen. He makes EVERYONE a better player.

  3. boNo Gravatar says:

    i am totally bewildered by hollins refusal to call time outs
    early during the others teams hot streaks.
    witness keith smart TOTALLY changing the grizz early run last nite vs kings. called to only about 3 minutes into the game. our run ended, kings started, we never got it back…..
    tony allen needs to guard play for lots of reasons:
    great wing defenese, revs the rest of the team up, etc….
    and hollins refusal to play haddadi when gasol obviously tired
    and we are getting killed on drives to basket and offensive rebounds………….haddadi seems to bring some life to team
    when he steps onto thecourt…..

  4. thrillermanNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve asked myself the same question we are all trying to answer..and that’s where is that spark we norm see from Toy Allen. Something has changed, and its apparent to all of us. Tony Allen\Zach Randolph are the soul of that team, regardless what others might say. And I don’t get Lional Hollins coaching methods sometime. He played Thabeet more than he did Haddadi, remember? Haddadi has proven he is a sure spark off the bench every night and he barely plays the guy. Well, on this stretch coming up, we all will see how he will depend on his bench players to step up and help the starters out while on this long road trip. Good luck Grizz!!

  5. NCNo Gravatar says:

    Totally agree –

    Even back at Ok State, you NEED to have Tony Allen on the floor. He was the Big 12 player of the year, for Pete’s sake! I don’t understand a lot of the coaching decisions, at all.

    Even Kobe B. has said that Tony is the one defender that he fears/respects – and yet, we sit him down? Tony is already in Kobe’s head before the game even starts!

    When Tony signed with Memphis, it seemed like Hollis already had an issue – his quote “I’m not sure what we’re going to do with him”..really? A big star in the college world (Final Four team) and a NBA championship player and the best defender in the league- and you’re not sure what you’re going to do with him?

    The coach just needs to let these guys play….especially TONY and Zach.

  6. HartNo Gravatar says:

    All the other Grizz guards are a defensive free fall from TA. I may make exception for Conley; OJ does ok, but he gets in trouble by playing off/soft his man. Pargo, Selby & now Arenas aren’t even in the same zip code as TA defensively. I have to think that the limited minutes are to save his knees.

    Haddadi has issues with foul trouble & gets owned by athletic big men – see Bynum. Cousins would have dismantled Haddadi. The big H is great for rebounds, put-backs & some shot blocks, but that’s the extent of his game. He’s not going to pull us back into a game where we’re outgunned. Nonetheless, it’s becoming clearer that Marc is getting tired of playing 40 mpg. He got owned by the athletic bigs like Bynum & Cousins.

    Hate to keep being pessimistic here, but I think its clear that the Grizz’s February surge may have had more to do with the schedule – very home heavy. The rest of the season is showing a lot of asphalt ahead. There’s approximately 2 quality road wins on the Grizz’s resume this year: @ Denver & @ Atlanta. These are the scrubs Memphis beat on the road: Nets, Pistons, Warriors, Hornets, T’Wolves, & Raptors. The Grizz need to work on a building a reputation of breaking & entering: IE stealing W’s from good teams in their own homes.

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