Ok, ok. WHO IS THAT MASKED MAN?
Saw that one coming, didn’t you?
The Grizzlies really, really needed a good win to start off a tough four-game trip out west, and it started well…the first quarter, that is. Nice to see something that has been an unfortunate rarity for the Grizzlies thus far this season.
Well, let’s do it. Seven things. Some fantastic, some, well, not…..Thing one: Great ball movement…in terms of assists to FG’s. Look a bit closer, and the unselfishness was excellent, especially to start the game. The Grizzlies finished with 27 assists on 37 made FG’s, and every Grizzly who played had at least one dime. Good stuff. There were a couple spots where guys passed up open shots (Conley and Miller in particular), but overpassing, for this team, is a fault easily forgiven.
Thing two: Mike Miller’s defense was exposed. Against Meeks, over and over, he was run in circles until he was out of position (and/or breath), leading to Lakers points. This was obviously part of the gameplan, as D’Antoni and crew had certainly seen tape of the Grizzlies’ swiss-cheese defense thus far this season as regards stopping drive-and-kick with the shooter coming off a down screen or four.
Thing three: Yes, we all heard it…over and over in the third, Pranica announced “(single digits) on the clock for the Grizzlies”. Another unsettling aspect of a sputtering offense. Looking at Mike Conley still holding the ball as the shot clock hits twelve is something we were promised would no longer be a thing. Being patient is one thing, and the overpassing is still easily forgiven, but a lack of offensive initiation until the defense only has to prepare for one or two options is no recipe for success.
Thing four: Back to Meeks…this was a return of something that all of us who were Grizzly freaks in 08/09 and thereabouts…some near-n0-namer wreaking total havoc against the Beale Street Bears. Luckily he only made one from range in the fourth.
Thing five: How long will it take for Joerger to sort out the rotation? This night, Calathes/Davis/Leuer/Franklin are the DNP’s. File under “nice problem to have”, sure…depth is wonderful. However, something that bears watching as the season stretches out is the degree of coach autonomy being exercised as far as rotations go. Eye-test-wise, it’s not hard to make the case that Davis wouldn’t match up well with such a heady player as Pau or a stronger guy like Hill, with Leuer falling into the same category with regard to Shawne Williams (love that he seems to be keeping on the straight path in the NBA this time-it’s likely his last chance). Watching Leuer chase Shawne into the corner would likely not have had a good ending for the Grizzlies.
Thing six: Tony Allen, offensive killer, defensive sieve? 6-6 in 22 minutes? I’d like to welcome everyone to the antimatter universe. Is he being *told* to wander on defense, is he being *given license and leeway* to wander, or is he doing whatever he wants ‘cuz he’s TA? This is something else that will “bear” watching over the season. Helping into the corner to prevent corner threes is, well, being overdone. It was evident in the Pacers game a few days ago, and we saw it again this night. Are teams capitalizing on the Grizzlies’ tendency/willingness to “overhelp”/”overtrust”?
Thing seven: Zach Randolph, Laker killer. Laker assassin. It’s just impossible not to say “vintage ZBo”, isn’t it? Lovely to see. He got that look on his face, and it was over. Fouled out Jordan Hill.
Also: 14-14 from the line, although the Grizzlies only shot six, by my hurried count, after quarter one. 100% is more like it.
We now know that at least the Grizzlies come home with one win from this tough swing out west.