“Cold”. Get it? As in, “cold shooting”?
Ok, gather yourself from the peals of uncontrollable laughter you’ve just released, and let’s dig my usual seven things about this game….Thing one: GOOD LORD THE REBOUNDING. The first half? 30-15 Pacers. Yep, you’re right. 15 x 2 = 30. Yep. For the game, the Pacers’ starters outrebounded their Grizzly (grisly?) counterparts 32-15. “Oh, but Stephenson just had an out-of-his-mind night”….really? He’s been having them. The Grizzlies knew this. This was just a case of a good old butt-whipping on the boards. No way around it. That possession at the end of the first quarter was an embarrassment. The Grizzlies rebounded the Pacers even in the second half, but by then, it mattered not.
Thing two: Marc Gasol just couldn’t get untracked on offense. Seems very unusual for a player of his heady caliber, but he’s in his own head and perhaps the most guilty of the Grizzlies in terms of overthinking the new offense and even his defense. His “patrol the perimeter of the paint” modus operandi of last season seems to have departed him. Whether he’s being placed in different positions by the new coach and staff or he’s just, well, doing it wrong, remains to be seen.
Thing three: Bright spot time: Nick Calathes’ court vision. Watching him lead a pick and roll with Gasol and/or Davis is, well, a joy to watch. He just knows how to “aim himself” and to anticipate the movements of the defenders between him and the basket. The Greivis Vasquez comparisons are still in the ballpark, but Calathes has a bit more muscle behind his movements. Not a horrendous liability this game on defense (no more than the rest of the Grizzlies, anyway), and six assists to one TO is just fine for a rookie-with-asterisk like him.
Thing four: Good Lord, Luis Scola. Just go back to Argentina and play. Grizzlykiller all-time starter for sure. Sure, he was only 5-10 with a few boards, and committed his usual smattering of silly reach fouls-but this guy has just been a mosquito in the Grizzlies’ ear forever it seems.
Thing five: Can we talk about rebounding some more? This time, we’ll look at Koufos’ numbers for the game. Ok, there it was. Didja miss it? Well, that wasn’t just a zero. It was an invisible zero. We know KK is, as much as a player of his ilk can be, somewhat of a rebounding specialist, so we’re gonna tip the cap here to Frank Vogel and company for keeping him off the glass and mostly out of the paint (remember that baseline jumper that was a total cringe job? Ouch….).
Thing six: Miniature bright spot: Jamaal Franklin. No, he was not a difference maker in a huge comeback, but he did what you want to see out of a rookie-get out there and make ’em see why they drafted you. This guy is gonna be good, but honestly, do any of us want to see him on the court much this year? He will likely, perhaps undeservedly, play the white flag/victory cigar rookie role.
Thing seven: The Pacers are just a better team than the Grizzlies right now. Better size (a disadvantage from which the Grizzlies are not used to playing), better defense (ditto, at least over the last two seasons if not this one thus far), and better coaching (I picked Vogel for COY, and right now I’m lookin’ ok in that department). They did what the Spurs did to the Grizzlies last playoffs-make ’em *juuuuuust uncomfortable enough* in the paint to where ZBo and Gasol can’t get in there and go nuts. Fixed the things that were wrong in the first half (Pacers only 3 FTA’s, only two Grizzlies TO’s, and a paltry 2-8 from Paul George) in the second half (15-6 in favor of Pacers in FTA’s, 8 Grizzlies TO’s, and 7-8 from George).
The Pacers are just taking names and kicking….whatever is near their feet.
Rudy and the gang in Wednesday. Can the Grizzlies once again get back to .500?