Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Postgame: Memphis vs San Antonio 10/31/07

Going to do this postgame writeup a bit different than usual.

Zack's Thoughts

Aspect that decided the game:

--San Antonio's ability to always find the open man on offense. When Duncan is doubled or Parker/Manu penetrate and the defense collapses, the Spurs are so familiar with each other that they always manage to find the open player. The result is usually an easy 3-pointer. They had 12 tonight, with Manu and Matt Bonner a combined 8 for 13.

Interesting Developments:

--Darko starting over Stro. Good move, it paid off tonight. I hope it continues.
--10 Grizzlies players entered the game in the 1st quarter. So much for a 8-9 man rotation.
--Lowry and Damon on the court together. To close out the 1st half, Lowry came in and played PG on offense and SG on defense. I like the idea (since Damon is such a good shooter), but tonight it had mixed results. During that stretch, Parker and Manu lit up the scoreboard on Damon and Lowry, mostly off of drive and kicks.

My Biggest Complaint:

--Casey played too much. I say that and just now read that he only played 15 minutes. Still, being at the game, it just felt like he was hurting the Grizzlies on the court. Porous defense with no offensive output to counterbalance. As HPTMatt told me after the game, "I actually was wanting Miller back in because of his defense!"

Things I Liked About Our Defense:

--Overall effort and focus towards defense.
--Darko's muscle and positioning on the low block. Darko played a hell of a game against Duncan. He fought for position and challenged shots.
--Miller's defensive rebounding.
--Rudy's ability to close out shooters after getting pumped faked.
--Kyle Lowry.

Something You May Have Missed:

--I'm sure most saw Lowry not return after diving into the 1st row for a loose ball. What you might have missed was Kyle hurt those same ribs earlier in the game. I don't remember exactly when, but earlier in the game Kyle came back to the bench during a timeout holding his ribs. He went back in anyway. Later he fell hard after a baseline drive and again showed some bias towards his ribs while on the ground. Than again later, he took a D-wash charge and seemed to acknowledge his ribs. Then finally around the 5 minute mark in the 4th quarter he dove for that loose ball, came up hobbled and never returned. From the upper bowl, it looked like he had an ice pack on his ribs on the sideline. I hope it is minor.

Worst Moment(s) of the Game:

--Twice knocking an easy rebound out of bounds when more than one Griz went for the ball.
--Seeing (and anticipating) the Grizzlies collapse in the final minutes of the game. The Curse lives on.

Something to Work on in Practice:

--The pick and roll. Both offensively and defensively. For the most part, San Antonio defended our pick and roll very effectively (usually they had the big show hard and had the help rotation to not allow our bigman to get a pass rolling to the basket). We played their pick and roll soft, allowing their guards to tear it up (47 combined points for Parker and Manu, penetrating almost exclusively off of a ball screen). All preseason I have seen the Grizzlies play the pick and roll soft, rarely having the bigman hedge very hard. Is this Iavaroni's philosophy or just a coincidence?

Closing Remarks:

--I had a great time. The game was 48 minutes of solid basketball for both teams and the game had plenty of exciting plays. I feel more comfortable with my 40 win prediction now. Go Griz!

ChipC3's Comments:
Damon showed why he was the starter tonight and if Kyle (and Conley for that matter) don't learn to shoot better from outside then the changing of the guard may not happen as quickly as expected. Damon had ice in his veins hitting some clutch 3s and made a great steal at the end of the 3rd but still is a defensive liability.

Memphis also needs a bit more play making at the point from both PGs. Mike Miller led the team in assists last night with 5. Memphis needs to have someone setting up open shots for players and they didn't get that last night from either Damon or Kyle.

Speaking of defensive liabilities did anyone else notice the rotation at one point of Damon, Navarro, Miller, Gasol and Swift? Is there a less defensive 5 the Grizz could put on the court at one time? And why was Jacobsen in the game at the end when the Grizz needed someone other than Ginobili handling the ball? Casey isn't quick enough to prevent Manu getting the rock and he was death at the line to end the game. I wonder how much Iavaroni wanted Kinsey in a uniform at the end of the game last night.

Don't you wonder what it would feel like to have a player make that many free throws at the end of a game? Seems like Memphis is always the team that misses those shots.

Great game by Darko. Staying out of foul trouble in the 2nd half was huge! People complain about Gasol down the stretch but Duncan was equally ineffective. It is really a perimeter game down the stretch in close games.

Gasol was good offensively and played hard despite the sore ankle but only 3 rebounds? Gasol has to be a greater force on the boards. Just because Darko is next door doesn't mean Gasol doesn't have to answer the door himself.

Miller was solid against nemesis Bruce Bowen. Rudy was more consistent, especially defensively, against Manu. He shut down Manu until the FTs at the end after Ginobili hammered the Grizz in the 1st half for 18 Pt's.

Dance team is much improved. Fan giveaway guns are much improved and the entertainment made me realize this isn't the Conference USA anymore! Major league attractions for the only major league team in town. Seeing the Tigers games advertised against UT-Martin, CBU and Arkansas St coming up and seeing empty seats on opening night makes you wonder what people are wanting from their teams. To paraphrase friend Chris Vernon: You can only choose one? Do you choose the San Antonio Spurs or CBU? I realize that it was Halloween but still.

Iavaroni is a good coach right now with the potential to do great things in Memphis but he will remember not saving one timeout for the last 3 seconds of the game. Possibly a rookie mistake?

Great job by Mr. Heisley, Chris Wallace, Andy Dolitch, the entire staff at the Forum and the Memphis Grizzlies. My only complaint is trivial. While it was a great idea to have that wrestling announcer to introduce the Grizzlies did we have to use the wrestling referees as well? Most pathetic example of star protection I have seen in months (okay it wasn't any worse than usual but it has been months since I have seen a real season game).


cream said...

30 points from the man himself, what more can you say

or if you have something to say, then just check this out

AC said...

Their inability to use picks has been one of my biggest complaints about the team for a while now. The issue is generally that the guard will drive past four or five feet away from the big setting the screen, giving the defender all the room he needs. It seems to be an institutional problem that cropped up sometime during Fratello's tenure.

Defensively, I think they were much better at getting past screens than at any time last year. So that's something.

zack said...

ac....I agree, historically, the grizzlies have not used the screen and roll option on offense very effictively. I was hoping Iavaroni coming from Phoenix (where they are great at using S/R's) would carry over to here. Hopefully it is still a work in progress.

Regarding defending the pick and roll...i just think the combination of having the guard go under AND the bigman play soft is leaving the opposing guard at too much of an advantage and putting too much responsibility on our help side guys to rotate properly (and not get burned on a skip pass 3-pointer like what happened many times tonight)...

ChipC3 said...

I am starting to get worried about Zack's man-love with Kyle Lowry.

GrizzGM said...

oh... come on chip. are you really posing a spurs/CBU debate? with two straight elite eight appearances, some people have selected which tickets they would purchase long before the grizz hired "your boy" chris wallace and "your boy" marc iavaroni. don't get me wrong, on a game by game basis, I would LOVE to see the grizz versus the spurs rather than the tigers beat up CBU, but it's true, people gave up their grizz tix knowing they would rather be part of a tiger national championship run.

ChipC3 said...

Well those that decided to jump on the Tigers bandwagon are paying for CBU, Aransas St, UT-Martin and the Conference USA games. The national championship games won't be played at the FedEx Forum.

Night in, night out give me the Grizzlies schedule everytime.

Hopefully last night's game will convince some people that they would prefer to see the Grizzlies as well.

grizzdaddy longlegs said...

I'll have to re-watch to be sure, but I thought Gasol was responsible for more than three rebounds. Seems like he tipped some to other players which, in my book, is just as good as a rebound. Since they've been in Memphis, that's about as solid as Griz have looked on the boards.

My main gripe: imagine (at the end of the game) Manu making the same exact move on Rudy and Rudy playing the same exact defense in the same situation. Rudy gets called for the block and Manu gets the and-1. One of the worst things about the NBA is the way officials give an officiating "lean" to the perceived stronger team and/or more established player.

Still... very solid outing for the Griz. Hope springs eternal...

zack said...

man, chip....we couldn't disagree more about the PG position....

ChipC3 said...

How so Zack? I said the PG's needed to get better at setting up people for shots. Your first comment was about how well San Antonio did just that. It would appear we agree that our point guards didn't defend or perform the pick and roll or pick and pop plays as well as the Spurs. Are we not in agreement here?

I said that Damon showed why he was the starter and that his clutch shooting down the stretch was something both of our younger PG's need to work on. Do you not believe this is an area of weakness for these players?

You definately prefer Lowry to Damon but Lowry got a lot of minutes against DWash and still wasn't able to match Damon's 18 pts and only got 4 assists (same as Damon) in 21 minutes. Kyle is a great game changer and super defensive player but 2-6 from the field isn't going to cut it from our PG. When Kyle becomes more proficient as a shooter he will take over the role but for now Damon is the best option in my (and Iavaroni's) opinion.

scott_7713 said...

Chip, there are 42 Grizzlies home games compared to how many Tiger home games? I've been to maybe 2 Tiger games since I've been here...but I'm not from Memphis. "if you could only pick one" as you said, I could see a lot of people picking the Tigers for price and that's who they grew up with.

I'd take the NBA any day as well with all that being said.

zack said...

--I did not come away last night thinking that Damon showed why he is the starter...far from it...Damon didn't make Parker work hard enough on defense or offense...

--I thought San Antonio's offense and chemistry together set up so many open shots for them, not necessarily the PG being the set up fact, I think Parker is below average in assists compared to most PG's usually...

--I'd rather have Lowry guarding the starting PG, instead of Damon...Earlier you said this would be the case each night, but last night it wasn't...

--I thought Lowry did a good job of setting up teammates...4 assists in 21 minutes is not bad...

--I prefer the way Lowry pushes the ball, in contrast to Damon's walk it up (and eat up the shot clock) style...

--Yes, I agree Lowry needs a better outside shot...Lowry can't shoot, but can drive at contrast, Damon can't drive, but can shoot at will....

--The only reason I have left to convince myself that Lowry is better coming off the bench rather than starting is so that he can play with Navarro, because they seem to have great chemistry together...

--Regarding defending the pick and this point, I think Iavaroni's game plan on how to defend it is more of a factor than how any of the Grizzlies players do defending it...all preseason and now in the first game, I don't like the passive approach, that I assume he is instructing...

Carl said...

Chip, you wrote, 'Speaking of defensive liabilities did anyone else notice the rotation at one point of Damon, Navarro, Miller, Gasol and Swift? Is there a less defensive 5 the Grizz could put on the court at one time?"
If you check Popcorn, you'll see that the worse defensive rotation was at the start of the 2nd Q: Gasol, Jacobson, Lowry, Navarro & Warrick. Second worse was a little way into the 4th: Jacobson, Swift, Lowry, Navarro, Warrick.
Lowry, Swift, Jacobson and Navarro were the four that had big negative playing time.