I'll be manning the Live Blog Death Ray tonight, so buckle up and hang on.
Make sure you leave some comments this time, so I don't feel like I'm talking to myself. Feel free to ask questions, too.
Pre-game commentary focused on the Rockets' forward tandem of Luis Scola and former Grizzlies' fan favorite Shane Battier. Play-by-play man Bill Worrell compared them to the Rockets' forwards in their first championship season -- Otis Thorpe and Robert Horry. Clyde Drexler agreed with that assessment -- big praise indeed.
Houston Rockets: Mike James, Tracy McGrady, Shane Battier, Chuck Hayes, Yao Ming
Memphis Grizzlies: Michael Conley, Rudy Gay, Mike MIller, Stromile Swift, Darko Milicic
Q1 - 10:56: Stro looks good so far, with some hustle that resulted in a trip to the free-throw line (1/2), a block on Yao and two more altered shots. Rudy with a long jumper to get on the board early. Grizzlies 3, Rockets 0
Q1 - 9:25: Mike James (WHO!!!) ties the game up with a three, but then Conley answers back with a bucket of his own. The broadcast team makes some complimentary remarks about Gay and Conley and then talk about Conley's pedigree at length. Grizzlies 5, Rockets 3
Q1 - 7:04: Poor transition defense allows Mike James to slice through the lane and get the bucket plus the foul. He missed the free throw, but Memphis has to shore up their defensive inadequacies. Mike James continues to heat up, hitting a long three-pointer. Rockets 10, Grizzlies 5
Q1 - 5:48: Rudy makes another long jumper from the free throw line extended. Then the team gets beat backdoor and fortunately Mike James misses the bunny. Conley picks up his second foul and will be spelled by Kyle Lowry after the timeout. Rockets 10, Grizzlies 7
Q1 - 5:41: Just got the news that Bennett Salvatore is our lead official tonight. Oh boy....
Q1 - 5:03: Mike Miller in transition with the great setup pass to a streaking Rudy Gay for the highlight reel dunk!
Q1 - 4:18: Luis Scola checks in, matching up with Hakim Warrick. Mike James with another three pointer, giving him 11 of the Rockets 15 points in the 1st quarter. Rockets 15, Grizzlies 11
Q1 - 3:03: Hakim gets the entry pass, gets a double team by Scola and Yao and still attempts the shot. He gets bailed out with a foul call. He's still a black hole.....sigh.
Q1 - 1:45: Steve Francis and Bonzi Wells check in. Wonder if the FedEx Forum Ban on Bonzi is still in effect? I guess we'll see tomorrow night. Rudy Gay with active hands tonight. Two steals already in the game. Rockets 20, Grizzlies 14
Q1 -0:59: Miller with another miss. He's 0-4 tonight. The broadcast team notices this as well. Grizz take a timeout after some less-than-stellar play.
Q1 - 0:16: Kyle hits both free throws (thank you Mark Price!) and then grabs the rebound at the other end of the floor. Rudy settles for the jumper and misses. Charge on Stevie Francis on the other end! Way to go Hak! Rockets 21, Grizzlies 16
End Q1: Kyle, Stro and Rudy look good. Mike and Darko look bad. Hakim looks like a black hole. Conley looks like he'll terrorize the league for the next decade....but not tonight.
Q2 - 11:40: Navarro, Brown, Jacobsen in the game. Bonzi take Miller into the post and gets the foul call, hitting both free throws. Bonzi's low post game is his strength.
Q2 - 10:05: Luis Scola with the baseline jumper -- wonder if Shane taught him that? Andre Brown makes an appearance and gets the steal. Quick feed to Lowry for the transition bucket. Rockets 25, Grizzlies 18
Q2 - 8:48: Scola abuses Hakim in the post to get the bucket. Casey answers with the rhythm three-pointer to keep it close. Rockets 27, Grizzlies 21
Side note: Rockets dance team is still in preseason mode, too. Just an FYI.
Q2 - 7:50: Grizz with an...ummm...interesting lineup on the floor: Lowry, Navarro, Jacobsen, Brown, Swift. Still evaluating people, I guess. Rockets 30, Grizzlies 21
Q2 - 7:06: Stro picks up two quick fouls, but stays in the game. He's having difficulty with Scola right now, fighting for position. Francis with the long two-pointer.
Q2 - 5:50: Drexler questions Navarro's listed height of 6'3" after he pushes the pace and finds Stro for the easy dunk. Rockets 33, Grizzlies 23
Q2 - 5:22: Miller hits a three from the right corner. Maybe he'll warm up. Stro with the wicked block on Mutombo.....that gets called goal-tending.....incorrectly.
Q2 - 3:25: Conley hesitates from the free throw line and then nails the jumper. Nice to see him hitting shots from that range. Stro is all over the place tonight. Is this his "revenge game" on the Rockets? Save it for the regular season big guy. Conley fouls Mike James, sending him to the line for two....which he hits. Rockets 37, Grizzlies 28
Q2 - 2:35: Darko just looks uncomfortable out there. I don't know if he's having trouble with this much running or what, but he looks out of place.
Q2 - 1:41: All the Grizzlies are settling for long jumpers right now. There doesn't seem to be any semblance of an offensive rhythm. The Rockets are taking high percentage quality shots on the other end of the floor. Rockets 39, Grizzlies 28
Q2 - 1:16: Rudy comes back from T-Mac's finger in the eye to knock down a three-pointer and then get fouled in transition, hitting both free throws, giving him 13 points as the crowd chants "Overrated". What a lovely group of people. Rockets 42, Grizzlies 33
Halftime: Rudy still looks good, as does Stro. Darko still looks bad, but Miller is showing signs of life. Both young PG's have had their moments, but still look like young PG's. This team is going to have to make a committment to attacking the basket and playing tough defense this year. Too much settling for open jumpers.....that are open because the Rockets don't believe they'll hit them consistently......which they haven't. Too many defenders with hands down by their knees, instead of outstretched at their sides to cut down on the passing lanes. This will be a season-long teaching session for Iavaroni, in all likelihood. It's time for me to have an ice cream cone.
Q3 - 10:56: Conley with the beautiful feed to Andre Brown, who is unable to convert. Then he stops Mike James from completing the transistion bucket, showcasing those ultra-quick hands of his.
Q3 - 8:58: Stro continues his destruction of Houston with a fierce dunk that draws some bemused comments from the broadcast team regarding his season as a Rocket. Rudy with the return pass from Stro to get the foul among the trees and go to the line. Hits them both. Rockets 46, Grizzlies 38
Q3 - 7:33: Mike James hits another one and then Conley finds Stro for yet another easy dunk. Now I see what Rod Benson meant when he said that Conley could find Osama bin Laden if he was open! Rockets 48, Grizzlies 43
Q3 - 6:35: Miller goes strong to the hole and draws the foul on Hayes, although it could have been called on Yao, too. Mike makes 1 of 2 as Scola comes in to replace Hayes. Rockets 50, Grizzlies 44
Q3 - 5:43: Rudy gets a charging call after Stro pulled down a strong rebound. As he matures, Rudy will make better decisions -- like not driving at a perennial All-Star (Tracy McGrady) and expecting to get a favorable call. Where's Chip at to voice his frustration at the inequity of foul calls based on player status? I need a Lewis Black level tirade right now to make me laugh.
Q3 - 4:41: Miller runs Battier off a pick to get free for the long jumper. The broadcast team continues to give Stro a hard time -- which I fully support, since he had a horrible season in Houston. If the Clippers had any fans, they'd do the same thing to Andre Miller for his poor showing there. Rockets 52, Grizzlies 48
Q3 - 2:29: Lowry attempts to take the charge on Mike James, but flops too soon, resulting in a made basket for Houston. Bonzi with a massive bandage on the back of his shiny dome -- guess he got whacked by someone in the first half. Is Fratello in the building, perhaps? Stro dunking over Yao and Battier!!! Rockets 58, Grizzlies 55
Q3 - 1:55: Houston with their intergalactic lineup: Yao (China), Scola (Argentina), James (The Sun), Bonzi (Alpha Centauri). Both teams do lots of running up and down the court, but cannot convert much. Guess they are enjoying the exercise though. Rockets 59, Grizzlies 57
End Q3: Rockets 59, Grizzlies 58. Memphis shot 57% in the 3rd quarter and outscored Houston 25-17 to climb back into the contest.
Q4 - 11:20: Andre Brown just can't seem to do anything right. Misses the two-footer on one end and then gives up a ticky-tack foul on Landry's layup attempt, instead of doing something that might have made him miss.
Q4 - 9:15: Hakim with the high percentage dunk. Casey ties it up with a three from the left wing! 65 all!
Q4 - 8:50: Bonzi hits one of two free throws to give Houston the lead. Our first appearance by La Bomba and his rainbow shot are negated by a three-second call in the lane......when there was no one in the lane! Bennett Salvatore....I don't like you. Rockets 66, Grizzlies 65
Q4 - 8:20: Navarro comes back and gives a repeat performance. La Bomba!!!
Q4 - 7:45: Navarro is a cold-blooded killer, hitting a deep three to tie it up at 70 all.
Q4 - 7:11: Lowry with a beautiful running leaner off the glass to take the lead, 72-70.
Q4 - 6:45: LA BOMBA!!! That's all I need to say. Navarro is on fire right now. Where's Dan Patrick with "Simply.....en fuego"??? Grizzlies 74, Rockets 70
Q4 - 5:55: Nice crossover by Francis to get the acrobatic layup past Navarro. Grizzlies 74, Rockets 73
Q4 - 5:45: Lowry to the line for two -- hits one to give him 10 pts, 6 reb, 8 ast. Lowry = Jason Kidd lite tonight.
Q4 - 4:59: Casey lights it up again from beyond the arc. Grizzlies 79, Rockets 75
Q4 - 4:01: Rockets have gotten two easy layups in back-to-back possessions. Gotta close up those passing lanes, guys. Grizzlies 79, Rockets 77
Q4 - 3:42: Great rebound in traffic by Hak off the JCN miss. It results in a jump ball that Warrick easily wins.
Q4 - 2:57: Luther Head with the steal, which then goes to Landry for the long jumper that ties it up at 79.
Q4 - 2:00: Block by Hakim goes right to Novak for the easy bucket.
Q4 - 1:44: Casey hits a three from the left side, which is immediately answered by Luther Head. Rockets 83, Grizzlies 82
Q4 - 0:50: Lowry hits both free throws to give the Grizzlies the one-point lead, but then Francis slices through the lane with another crossover to get to the rack and take the lead right back. Rockets 85, Grizzlies 84
Q4 - 0:21: Grizzlies get a break with the 3 second call on Houston, so they get the ball back with the chance to win the game.
Q4 - 0:13: Isolation for Lowry, who misses the driving shot and the subsequent tip-in attempt. Landry grabs the rebound and is immediately fouled. He hits them both, so the Grizzlies need a three-pointer now. Rockets 87, Grizzlies 84
Q4 - 0:11: Casey Jacobsen with the heat-seeking missile! Came off a pick at the free throw line to hit the top of the key jumper. Tie ball game.
End Regulation: Novak misses the three-pointer at the buzzer, so we're getting free basketball. Grizzlies 87, Rockets 87
OT - 4:01: Luther Head hits the long shot to give Houston the lead. Warrick takes a contested 18-footer with 14 seconds on the shot clock??? Head finds another easy basket to push the lead to 4. Rockets 91, Grizzlies 87
OT - 2:33: Navarro hits the nifty runner to tie it back up, but allows Francis to blow by him for the easy layup. JCN turned his head for a split second and lost his man. Rockets 93, Grizzlies 91
OT - 1:13: Francis with another big shot, this one high off the glass that falls through. Navarro misses a shot and Lowry pressures Landry into stepping on the baseline after collecting the rebound. Grizzlies ball! Rockets 95, Grizzlies 91
OT - 1:10: Navarro gets the easy layup, making it a two point deficit.
OT - -0:50: Francis makes another tough shot. He must think it is 2001 instead of 2007. Lowry answers back with his own layup. Rockets 97, Grizzlies 95
OT - 0:17: Pick and roll results in a bad matchup Casey on Francis and Lowry on Novak. Novak pump fakes Kyle out of the gym and then cooly hits the open jumper. Rockets 99, Grizzlies 95
OT - 0:10: Kyle Lowry simply makes things happen! He gets the basket and the foul, misses the free throw attempt, gets his own rebound and feeds Andre Brown for the tying basket!!! What a gamer! Tied at 99.
End OT1: Francis keeps it on an isolation, gets Hakim as a defender on the switch and cannot get a good look over the lanky forward, missing from the left baseline. More free basketball!
OT2 - Rudy back in the game, playing the 4. Grizzlies go small with Lowry, Navarro, Jacobsen, Gay and Warrick. Rudy might be the Center in that lineup.
OT2 - 4:30: Novak hits another open jumper off a great screen by Chuck Hayes. Rockets 101, Grizzlies 99
OT2 - 3:16: Luther Head with a big three pointer. Warrick answers with a bucket of his own. Rockets 104, Grizzlies 101
OT2 - 1:14: Bad pass by JCN results in a turnover. Fortunately, Head gets an offensive foul on the ensuing possession. Rockets 107, Grizzlies 103
OT2 - 0:43: Lowry with the layup and then Navarro gets the charge against Head. CJ with the twisting layup to tie it up yet again! Neither team wants to just give up and get this game over with. We could be hear all night. I might have to order another pizza if this keeps up. Tied at 107.
OT2 - 0:08: Francis uses up his last foul, which is the Rockets last one before the bonus kicks in. Aaron Brooks into the game to replace him.
End Game: Kyle Lowry gets another isolation play, gets into the lane, misses the runner, and tips in the miss! Game over! Grizzlies 109, Rockets 107
Great game by Lowry: 21 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, 2 turnovers
Thanks for all of you who stayed with me -- especially the overseas people who kept up the entire 3 hours!
Update (by Zack): To go along with Lowry's triple-double he also had 2 steals and only 2 turnovers and 1 personal foul in 44 minutes. Impressive.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I'll be manning the Live Blog Death Ray tonight, so buckle up and hang on.