I hate losses for our boys in blue as much as anybody — particularly lopsided blowouts like the Mavs and Clippers games. But I must admit that the Grizzlies 12-2 start sure seems like it was ages ago, now doesn’t it? And with the offense stalling and people waiting for various and sundry shoes to drop, there’s all kinds of speculation that Rudy Gay will/should be traded; that Coach Lionel Hollins won’t be renewed, and that the new ownership group is going to mess up a good thing.
Then I remind myself of a couple of things. One is: How much different has this winter been from earlier ones under Coach Hollins?
In December 2010, The Grizzlies went 6-8. This season? 7-7.
By January 16, 2011, The Grizzlies went 5-3. This January so far? 5-3.
Your rather obvious question? Why are you jumping back to 2010, Lee? Well, remember that little annoying thing called the NBA lockout? Makes comparing this season to last season rather difficult, but let’s try anyway. With the Grizzlies’ 36 total games this season, the team has played roughly 44 percent of it’s schedule. Accounting for a shortened 66-game schedule last season, the 44 percent line would equal 29 games. How would that compare?
Lockout season record: 15-14 (.517) This season: 24-12 (.666)
So what am I saying?
I’m saying that just as we’ve apparently forgotten that 12-2 start this season, we’ve also forgotten that the Grizzlies historically start seasons losing a lot of games. Through the first 14 games in Oct./Nov. 2010, the Grizzlies went 5-9. In the lockout season, through 11 games (again weighting the games) the team went 5-6.
I’m also saying that under Coach Hollins, it’s not really at all uncommon for this squad to hover around .500 during December, January & February, before hitting their stride in the Spring. Last season, after that 5-6 start, the team went 36-19 the rest of the way (.655) for that period. After January 16, 2011, the Grizzlies went 27-15 (.643) during that period. And keep in mind that Rudy went down in January 2011 and Zach went down in January 2012.
If the Grizz hold true to their historic patterns and hit their stride for the remainder of the season — playing roughly .650 ball — their record for this period would be 30-16. And here’s where that strong start comes back in, giving the Grizzlies a 54-28 overall record, which almost certainly locks them as a top four seed in the West. More importantly, they typically close the regular season strong with a lot of momentum for the playoffs.
So call off the apocalypse. I hate watching the Bears lose these winnable games too, but let’s face it: It’s kinda normal for this part of the season.