Going to do this postgame writeup a bit different than usual.
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.
--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.
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?
--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!
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).
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Going to do this postgame writeup a bit different than usual.