Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Post Game Thoughts - San Antonio

Memphis continues to grow and tonight they overcame a persistent growing pain to get the victory over the short-handed Spurs. This was the first time all season Memphis has won a game decided by three or fewer points.

Rudy Gay scored 23 points and came through at the buzzer sinking a huge 3 point shot over Tim Duncan to win the game. Rudy also had 9 rebounds and 3 assists as the total package was on display in this game. Mike Miller led the team in scoring with 31 but was not a factor offensively in the 4th quarter when the Spurs made their run. He contributed with 6 rebounds as well but only 1 assist. Rudy and Miller and Juan Carlos Navarro each logged over 40 minutes in the game. Navarro was not sharp offensively scoring 10 pts on 4-13 shooting including 2-7 from long range but his 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals were huge in the game. Navarro was also forced to defend much larger guards but was not burned defensively.

Memphis nearly lost a huge lead heading into the fourth quarter when San Antonio really turned up the heat defensively. Memphis had a 76-59 lead going into the fourth thanks to one of the most complete first quarters I have ever seen the team play. The Grizzlies led 31-19 at the end of the first quarter behind Damon Stoudamire's 8 pts in the quarter. Damon finished with only 10 pts but was a steadying hand in the 4th after Kyle Lowry lost his composure under relentless pressure at the start of the fourth.
The only drawback was that Memphis blew the 17 pt lead in the fourth including giving up a slam dunk to Manu Ginobili with under 4 seconds to play on an inbounds play. That Memphis could commit 9 turnovers in the fourth, score only 12 points and still manage to win should bolster the team's confidence going forward. In the last three games Memphis has managed to win two games where the game was in doubt with under two minutes to play. The team is starting to trust one another and is finding ways to win games instead of losing them.

Rudy Gay should get a huge boost from this game. Often matched up against one of the best defenders in the game in Bruce Bowen, Rudy allowed the game to come to him most of the night instead of trying to force the action and the results were inspiring. If there was a negative, it was his play leading up to the game winning shot. With clear outs set up for him to operate one on one he often deferred to teammates with disastrous results. Rudy needs to understand that in crunch time the team can live without Rudy making every play, but he needs to be initiating every play in crunch time for the team to succeed. He is only 21 and in his 2nd season so that will come with maturity. He grew up a lot tonight with that shot.

The referees didn't play protect the stars as much as they simply deferred to the players tonight. It was a poorly officiated game in that there was no officiating to speak of. What calls the crew did make were usually terrible, including a walking call against Mike Miller when he never moved either foot! He faked a move and Manu Ginobili flopped down on the ground. The ref blew his whistle but realized he could call neither an offensive nor defensive foul since there was no contact so he made up the travelling call. From that point on he never made a call, no matter how much contact was made. The crew was lucky a fight didn't break out the way the game was getting out of control. Most of the turnovers in the fourth were caused by plays that normally would have resulted in foul calls.

San Antonio looked their age tonight. Without Tony Parker who is either nursing a bad ankle or trying to handle more personal matters at home, the Spurs looked tired and old and could only muster the effort in the fourth quarter but it was nearly enough.

The team is gaining confidence in themselves and it should result in better results as the season progresses.

On a side note there was no Mazola Dance Program tonight. Very disappointing in that respect!


Jason said...

Ladies and Gentlemen, our superstar has arrived. Rudy Gay is developing into a nightmare for other teams.

We *almost* blew it, but lets enjoy the win. Lets finish up this week strong.

AussieGfan said...

Lets call this one the great escape.

Rudy Gay. :D

I haven't been onto the official forum for a while, I hope they still aren't questioning his jumpshot.

Sean said...

Damon, on Rudy: "He's the closest thing we've got to a star." Is this unquestionably Gay's team now? said...

what a dagger that trey was over duncan. gay is a stud.

MemphisX said...

I think Chip broke this down just right and part of the problem of Rudy deferring will leave when Conley matures.

Sean said...

By the way, I liked the game program for this one. It has Darko on the front and says "Man in the Middle", a name shared by John Amaechi's tell-all. Are the Griz P.R. people trying to tell us something?

hptmatt said...

when RU-DEE hit that shot, that was one of my top five Grizzlies moments ever. Amazing to win after taking such a huge gas pipe in the 4th....but the Spurs were just doing what they do-playing the most suffocating defense possible.

This was the first good defensive game the grizzlies have played in some time-the guards, esp. JCN, rotated well onto shooters, Darko was engaged in a Texas Death Cage match with the coal miner's glove at the top of the maypole with Timmy (who is amazing, by the way, can't deny it), and we even made things tough on Manu from time to time.

That's still where this team has to improve, and perhaps they'll watch tape of this game and take strong lessons from it, 'cuz they did it right tonight.


AussieGfan said...

Unless I noticed them the first time I read it.. those new pics added really tell the story.

More moments like this please Grizzlies.

yadigg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nancyw said...

I need to quit predicting the outcome of our games, or perhaps I need to start being a little bit more negative in the future.

I never thought in a million years that we'd win this one, but it looks like the "Miracle on Beale St." happened last night. Too bad I wasn't able to see it in person!