Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Postgame Thoughts: Memphis vs Houston

Wow, what a game! This is the type of game that make people appreciate the NBA.

Just a quick comment about something that happened after the game that really made an impression on me. Chris Wallace was standing in the tunnel after the game talking to fans and being honest and open and really making people feel both appreciated and educated about more than just the initial impressions about the game. Chris asked me not to quote him so I won't but I have to say I can't imagine a better selection for the Grizzlies than Chris Wallace. I hope everyone gets an opportunity to talk to Chris and really see the passion for the team and the game that this man possesses.

The game was even better than Chris was after the game too. If there was any lingering doubt about the intelligence of trading Shane Battier for Rudy Gay and Stromile Swift it should be put to bed for tonight at least. Rudy overcame two quick foul calls in the first quarter (both defensive for a change) to really have an impact tonight. Stromile Swift posterized Yao again although not as big as last year's was with former Grizz Dahntay Jones' "bad thing" dunk. Stro played huge tonight and really helped turn the tide of the game. Shane was shut out of the scoring column and had his hands full all night trying to keep Rudy contained. Jerry West made an excellent trade for the future of the team with that deal.

Darko Milicic was tremendous and not just for the points he scored (a Grizzlies career high 20 points and six boards. His defense on Yao really freed Gasol up to be fresh at the end of the game and harassed Yao into a mere 22 pts and 7 boards. I can live with Darko losing the individual battle by 2 points and 1 rebound. Darko also was aggressive against Yao which kept him in foul trouble most of the night.

Gasol had 13 pts in the 2nd half and was demanding the ball down the stretch and forcing the Houston front line to double him and foul him. What is more Gasol made his free throws down the stretch (except for one particularly short attempt). Gasol abused Chucky Hayes all night and Luis Scola struggled to keep up with him as well.

Juan Carlos Navarro can shoot. That is no big news. Juan Carlos is learning how to play defense. That is news. After Luther Head just blew by him right after he entered the game Navarro played adequate defense the rest of the night and nearly came up with a huge steal against Yao when he slipped in from behind. Navarro actually outscored his man while in the game and he don't believe that has happened before with the Grizzlies.

Turnovers were a problem early in the third quarter and again late in the game but that is more of a lack of comfort with Iavaroni's plan than a lack of people willing to take a step forward. Players are still thinking rather than just acting but they are getting better.

Zack will love this but Kyle is looking more and more like the next starting PG. I can't remember one time when Kyle looked out of control and he got some huge rebounds, pushed the ball extremely well and made good decisions all night. His domination at the point made the difference in the game tonight even if he didn't score a lot of points. Great game Kyle.

One drawback tonight was the inability for one person to really take charge down the stretch. Granted Shane on Rudy made it difficult to turn to him but someone needs to take the ball in his hands at the end and make plays. T-Mac did that for Houston and Memphis needs someone to do that for them as well.


AC said...

Favorite stat tonight:
Rebounds: Lowry 8, Yao 7

Second favorite stat:
FT attempted: Griz 41, Rockets 24

Third favorite stat:
Griz from 3: 1-11 (and still win)

Least favorite stats (tie):
Michael Conley: DNP
Damon Stoudamire: 16m, 0pts, 6ast

The Serbian Swatter said...

Without Darko, the Grizzlies lose this one big time. He didn't give an inch to Yao all night, and his stalwart defense was the difference. Pau or Swift simply aren't in Darko's league defensively.

It was frustrating how the offense moved away from Darko after the first few minutes of the third quarter. When his lefty hook is on, why not feed him in the low post as much as possible?

zack said...

great game...

probably one of the better home wins ever for the Grizzlies...

the players and fans alike really needed this win...