Saturday, December 15, 2007

Post Game Thoughts - Orlando

Chipc3's Impressions:

While everyone was out celebrating the season, bemoaning the state of the franchise or both, the team went down to Orlando (with the real SOB who outbid me for the fan's fantasy trips) and took it on the chin from Dwight Howard but still stood toe to toe with the Magic and ended up being the last team standing.

Rudy Gay is not too bad for those that didn't realize it yet. A career high 32 points that included a few highlight dunks, some serious post up moves (including one where he jumped up facing the Grizzlies bench and after reaching the top of his jump calmly turned in midair and drained the jump shot) and a big 3 pt shot in the final four minutes. He was simply unstoppable.

Mike Miller was Mike Miller. Big early offensively and then disappearing late but he made a huge defensive stop on Dwight Howard late, doubling down and blocking the shot plus getting the rebound. That play really turned the tide of the game.

Juan Carlos Navarro refound his shot and made two huge three point shots in the final minutes to put the team ahead and then made all of the free throws down the stretch to put the game away. Great game by the player known as 'Instant Grits' on the team.

And I haven't mentioned the player of the game yet! Andre Brown. Yes Andre Brown. The player I said was on the team because he understood he wasn't going to play and was still happy about his role. The man who I once wrote "if Andre is in the game in the 4th quarter then the Grizz have already lost" was a major force preventing Dwight Howard from getting 50 pts and 40 boards. His hustle and defense was huge and with Darko and Swift battling foul trouble the whole game he simply refused to allow the team to lose. I don't know if there is room on his body for another tattoo but he should try and find a place to put today's date. He was that important.

Damon and Kyle was good tonight. Not great but good is a huge improvement over the play of our point guards lately. Maybe it is Michael Conley's presence in practice that has them improving their play or maybe it was Jameer Nelson's lack of size but they both scored in double figures and only had two turnovers between them.

But how did the Grizz win the game when Howard was so dominant, Hedo Turkoglu was scoring well both on the perimeter and in the paint and Jameer Nelson went for 18 and 8 assists? The team won because they hit their shots. After going 11 minutes without hitting a shot against the Clippers the night before Memphis shot 52.9% from the field, made 12 three pt shots and scored 68 second half points. Yes that is nearly as much as they scored in the entire game against Atlanta just a week ago.

Now Memphis comes home for 6 of the next 7 games. Sure the competition will be tough but the team has something positive to come home with and it is the holiday season. Maybe they can ask for contagious confidence for an early Christmas present.

More Postgame:
Third Quarter Collapse
Orlando Sentinel: Darko's Confidence Runs Low

Ticket Giveaway Contest

Ticket Giveaway Contest

Want 2 Plaza-level tickets to the Grizzlies home game against the Golden State Warriors on Monday, December 17? Well, if you're a graphic designer, you might be in luck.

We're looking for some help in developing a logo (220 x 200 pixel) and a banner (728 x 90 pixel) for 3 Shades of Blue. If you think your work is good enough to represent us, then email it to us at three_shades_ofblue[at] We will take entries from now until Sunday night at 9:00 PM and will determine the winner Monday morning and email the tickets to the victor. Good luck to everyone.

Grizzlies at Orlando 12.15.07

Memphis takes to the road for the first time since the blowout in Atlanta and like that game it is the backside of a back to back. Fatique will play a part in this game but shouldn't be too big a problem with the days off this week the team has had. Memphis is in a critical period right now a 5 game losing streak heading into the Clippers game and a tough schedule ahead with Golden St and San Antonio coming to town before a rematch at Detroit. This is not a game the Grizzlies can afford to get blown out in. Rudy Gay has continued to lead the team in scoring while Gasol is back to being a double-double threat every night but the sudden lack of production from the starting backcourt has raised some thoughts about possibly moving both Damon and Mike to improve in this area.

Orlando has a three game losing streak heading into Friday's game at Charlotte. The slide has been precipitated by a drop in shooting including a 33.8% shooting game against Milwaukee. Orlando needs to find the range to be effective as they are basically playing without a true PF. Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis prefer playing on the perimeter which allows Howard to work in the lane unobstructed but if Orlando isn't hitting the outside shots team can double up Howard. If the Magic win the game it will likely be because Gasol couldn't handle Howard down low or Lewis on the perimeter. The Magic's style of play doesn't lend itself well to Gasol's defensive play. Another thing to consider, Coach Stan Van Gundy said that if the Magic starters don't improve their play the lineup could be shaken up.

Point Guards: Damon Stoudamire vs Jameer Nelson
Jameer Nelson is not a deep threat but on the Magic that isn't an issue. Nelson's speed allows him to get into the lane and cause trouble for teams and that is what Stan Van Gundy wants from his point guard. Damon will need to stay in front of Nelson and keep him out of the lane dishing to Howard around the basket or Lewis, Hedo and Bogans on the perimeter. Damon isn't very good at preventing taller PG's from shooting over him but taht shouldn't be an issue against 6-0 Nelson. The lateral quickness could be an issue for Damon however.
Advantage: Orlando

Shoooting Guards: Mike Miller vs Keith Bogans
Keith Bogans is a defense first SG who understands his job is to cover for Lewis and Hedo defensively while hitting the open three when it presents itself. Bogans is good at that hitting 37% of his three point attempts on the season. Miller disappeared against Atlanta and, while rebounding nicely against Detroit, failed to score a basket until the final horn sounded. Miller is the Grizzlies best long range shooter and he has to take more than one long shot in a game. With Bogans not being a serious scoring threat this leaves Miller to focus on his game.
Advantage: Memphis

Small Forwards: Rudy Gay vs Hedo Turkoglu

Rudy is faciing a totally different player in this game than he faced the night before and Corey Maggette. Hedo appears to love to sit on the three point line and pop up bombs rather than slashing to the paint in an attempt to draw a foul. While he does run the pick and roll well with Howard and has noce ball control skills Hedo has taken 26 more three pt shots than free throws this season. He isn't exactly aggressive with the ball. Hedo's level of play has slowed down after a fast start. In December Hedo is averaging only 16.4 ppg on 38.8 FG% and a 30% 3 pt%. His rebounds however have picked up t0 7.6 rpg. Rudy's performance has reached a new level this month. He is averaging 22.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg and 2.7 apg in December. Also Rudy is averaging 1.3 spg and 1.2 bpg.
Advantage: Memphis

Power Forwards: Pau Gasol vs Rashard Lewis
An interesting match up between two max contract players that aren't the best players on their teams. Gasol is in the process of passing the leadership torch to Rudy Gay but Lewis has never been a lead player on an NBA team. Gasol has recovered from an injury plagued opening month where he seemed lost in the new system to average 17.8 ppg and 9.8 rpg in December. Not bad considering he is no longer the #1 offensive option. Rashard Lewis has picked his game in December as well although not as dramatically. Lewis may be the worst rebounding PF in the league at only 5.1 rpg a game. The problem for Gasol will be covering Lewis on the perimeter where he feels most comfortable. Lewis has yet to have a 30 pt game with Orlando but if he is hot and Gasol doesn't guard the perimeter it could happen in this game.
Advantage: Orlando

Centers: Darko Milicic vs Dwight Howard
Darko has had a bad thumb, a bad ankle and this summer a bad attitude but he better put all of that behind him in this battle. Dwight Howard is making a strong case for league MVP and has already been annointed Shaq's replacement as most dominant big man in the game. If anyone in the league should know his game it is Darko who played with Howard the last two seasons. In fact maybe Darko should keep that summer chip on his shoulder in this game as the Magic could easily have resigned Darko if not for their desire to overpay Rashard Lewis. Now is Darko's chance to show the Magic how big a mistake they made by not keeping him. It isn't going to be an easy task with Howard averaging 23 ppg and 15 boards. Perhaps just keeping him at his season average will be enough. The most important thing for Darko is to keep Howard off the offensive glass. Let someone else grab the board but Darko's got to keep Howard off the glass.
Advantage: Orlando

Benches: Memphis vs Orlando

All five of Orlando's starters score in double figures. None of their bench players come close. The best player off the bench right now may be Maurice Evans, a player the Magic acquired for Trevor Ariza earlier this season. Combo guard Keyon Dooling has provided sporadic periods of good play but is inconsistent. Carlos Arroyo confused people in Orlando just like he did in Detroit. He is one of the first off the bench and can run the offense but he is not shooting well this season. The biggest problem for Orlando is the absolute lack of frontcourt support. Brian Cook can hit the three but does little else. Adonal Foyle is barely adequate and Pat Garrity is worse than that. Memphis' bench has two 10 ppg scores in Lowry and Navarro and two front court players capable of exploding in Stromile Swift and Hakim Warrick.
Advantage: Memphis

Other Pre-game sites/Relevant Commentary:
Special thanks to Third Quarter Collapse for their insightful commentary about the Magic. They have an excellent site that I highly recommend.
Believing in Magic

Friday, December 14, 2007

Clippers Postgame

From Zack

I'm depressed after coming home from the FedEx Forum with another loss and will try to make this quick.

-- 6th loss in a row and no end in sight.
-- We are not any better than last year really.
-- Kaman owned Darko. Kaman owned the whole Griz team actually. If he doesn't make the All-star team this year, it will be a tragedy.
-- Everyone of our players, all of them, played bad tonight.
-- I like Hak's 1st half, but foul trouble ruined the 2nd half. One observation was in the 2nd Thornton was able to blow by Hak for some huge 2nd half buckets. Thornton's first step is pretty quick, though.
-- Rudy playing PF is a recipe for foul trouble.
-- I like Miller's assertiveness tonight, but the trade off between him shooting more is him handling the rock more and that means lots of bad passes (the jump pass especially). Those 2 4 point plays were cool, I guess.
-- Navarro was not right on offense for the most part. He was abysmal with his ball handling and passing. He fought hard on defense.
-- Damon and Kyle both sucked. Kyle has been regressing lately and I think that dreaded rookie wall (at around 30 games played, right?) that Chip preached last year with Rudy is starting to set in with him too. Other teams are also game planning him better and him and the coaching staff have not adjusted. All in all, our PG's are letting us down.
-- The decision to have our bigs handle the ball so much on the elbows is backfiring. It might work if we had Boris Diaw circa 2005.
-- Our team passing is just pathetic. Not just this game, but for a while. PG's are leading the pack, but whole team is passing bad. Bigs, guards, forwards, everyone.
-- God I hope Micheal Conley is the Hall of Fame, Steve Nash type passing savior he is being billed as by many fans (though i expect the high expectations for his playmaking and passing ability as a NBA rookie are slightly a function of displeasure in our current PG play and not a true reflection of his current ability)
-- Seeing Kaman be the 2nd coming of Wilt, Dwight Howard absolutely scares me to death.

Chipc3's Obvservations:
Good thing a lot of people were at holiday parties instead of this game. The crowd was fitting for the way the team played. For once the team got just what they deserved.

11 turnovers. Not in the game, not in the half but in the 1st quarter! Talk about throwing away the game early. After three days off and 5 days with only 1 game there is no excuse for that. I suppose after the first quarter only having 25 turnovers in the game should be considered an accomplishment.

If anyone wanted to know why the team needs Gasol then just look what happened after Darko started to get tired. Stro took the night off, Hakim focused on scoring early and fouling late and Andre Brown was all Iavaroni was left with. At least Brown seemed like he wanted to play hard on both sides of the court.

Rudy has to learn how to defend slashing players. Rudy got into foul trouble early and stayed there all game. In his defense one call was particularly terrible when he was fighting to get to a lose ball and the refs call him for his fourth foul. At that point of the game the refs seemed intent on being the focus of the game. Warrick got a similiar call for his fourth moments later. It was terrible.

The point guards play has been covered but I will make a short comment to put in perspective. Dan Dickau was the best point guard in the game.

Tarence Kinsey played but didn't look like the player I remember from last season. Navarro played but didn't look like the player I remembered from November. Stromile played and looked just like the player we have seen almost every year in Memphis.

Coach Iavaroni can't escape some second guessing either. When you are down ten points with 5 minutes to play perhaps it would make sense to have some players in the game that can hit a three point shot. Damon, Miller and Navarro have the best 3 pt shooting percentages and only Miller was on the court until the very end of the game. Damon never did play in the 4th. If Lowry isn't going to control the ball at the point and isn't stopping Dan Dickau perhaps Damon and Navarro should get a chance to shoot us back into the game. You know, even Brian Cardinal can hit the three and he will give defensive effort too. Just a thought.

I really expected the team to come out with a strong effort last night. I was very disappointed. Perhaps it was the shock of losing Gasol yesterday and seeing him on crutches tonight but it really was bad against a team ready to lose. We should be ashamed.

Memphis vs LA Clippers 12.13.07

Memphis is struggling with a front office 'retirement', Darko's injured leg, and a 5 game losing streak. Only the 5 game losing streak really matters to most Grizz fans since everything else is just symptomatic of the losing streak and the overall poor record of the team. Outside of the first loss at home to Portland Memphis can be excused for every loss in this streak. Houston is a tough team at home, the New Orleans game could have gone either way, the Atlanta game was the 3rd road game in four days and Detroit is an elite team. This game is different. LA has nearly as bad a record as Memphis and is without their star player, this is a home game after three weeks off and everyone is going to be as rested as possible during an NBA season. The team has had time to work on defensive switches as well so this is about as close to a statement game as the team is going to have.

The Clippers have to view this game as a statement game as well. They are in the midst of a 4 game road trip (if you count a road game against the Lakers that is) and the third game in four days. They began the trip with a win against New Jersey and a loss the next night against Charlotte the next night. They will be fighting to finish with a winning road trip. The Clippers were the popular choice to be the worst team in the Western Conference after a season ending injury to Elton Brand, but Coach Mike Dunleavy wouldn't stand for that and surprised a lot of teams early in the season. However they have struggled of late.

Zack's Corner

Trampled Underfoot. Will Pau play? He hurt his toe in practice and his status currently is uncertain.

UPDATE: is reporting in spanish that Pau will miss the game and could be out for up to one week.

Dazed and Confused. One thing to pay attention to tonight is the Grizzlies body language. Owning one of the 5 worst records in the NBA and in the midst of a 5 game losing streak (and losing 6 out of 7), one has to wonder how the Grizzlies are handling things mentally. There's no room to dwell on misfortune and feel sorry for ones self in the NBA. Just gotta have a short memory, forget about the last game, and concentrate on the "next" game (or next shot, for you Tiger's fans).

Communication Breakdown. Obviously, a huge key tonight will be if the Griz can play solid team oriented man-to-man defense, something that hasn't been done through the 1st quarter of the season. There is a strong argument to be made that our players just can't play good defense. Though surely there is improvement to be made with our current roster if the players execute what Coach Iavaroni is telling them to do and the players start communicating with each other on the court better. Of course, this isn't breaking news to anyone on the team. Take it away Marc:

"Our communication has to be better. It takes all five guys."

Could you elaborate on what Coach just said, Rudy?
"We have to be more aware of what's going on. On certain possessions people are wide-open. It's just not one person's fault. It's the whole team's fault. We have to do a better job of rotating and it's a team effort."

What Is and What Should Never Be. In the last 2 games, Mike Miller attempted 9 total shots. I think it is frustratingly obvious that our starting shooting guard needs to be able to get more than 9 combined shots up in 2 games.

The Battle of Evermore. The matchup I am most excited to watch tonight is Kaman vs Darko. This season, Kaman is everything we want Darko to be. I hope to see Darko come out with the same intensity he had during the start of the Pistons game and attack Kaman in the post. Early foul trouble for the Clipper center would be a huge Grizzlies advantage.

Matchups by Chip

Point Guards: Damon Stoudamire vs Brevin Knight
Adopted son Brevin Knight returns home in this game. BK, a former Grizz who's wife has a business in Memphis where they call home during the off-season, was involved in possibly the funniest play of the day against Charlotte. The diminutive PG was called for charging after colliding with 7-1 ft Primoz Brezac. Brezac had to leave the game for medical attention while 5-10 BK was uninjured. Damon has struggled since his bout with the flu but should be ready for this game. When on top of his game Damon has deadly accuracy from outside and a nice passing game.
Advantage: Clippers

Shooting Guards: Mike Miller vs Quinton Ross
SMU grad Quinton Ross was unable to go against Charlotte with back problems but when healthy he has been the type of perimeter defender Memphis have been crying for. If Ross can't go then 32 yr old Cuttino Mobley will likely start. The 6-4 Mobley has managed to get off his shot for 10 seasons in the NBA so Mike Miller will need to watch the old man. Miller's offense has been sporadic of late from a 26 pt game against New Orleans but only 8 pts in the next two games combined. Miller will need to be aggressive with his shot (and hopefully attempt more than one 3 pt shot like he did against Detroit).
Advantage: Memphis

Small Forwards: Rudy Gay vs Corey Maggette
This is the money ball match up of the night. Maggette is a slashing SF who loves contact and getting to the line. Rudy is not known for defending slashers very well and early foul trouble for Rudy could be a bad sign for the Grizzlies. However Rudy hasn't been so foul prone (i.e. the refs are giving him more respect) of late. Maggette is an up and down scorer. Never a great perimeter scorer Maggette's offensive output depends on his ability to get to the hoop or the line. Rudy will need to be conscious of this tendency all game.
Advantage: Clippers

Power Forwards: Pau Gasol vs Tim Thomas
Tim Thomas struggled his first season in LA but when Elton Brand went down with a season ending Achilles injury was thrust into the starting lineup. Thomas has started to improve lately having scored in double figures in 14 of the last 15 games. Thomas poses a tough match up problem for Gasol as he likes to play away from the basket hitting 34% of this 3 pt attempts this season. Gasol has been getting adjusted to the new offensive system under Iavaroni but has not been very good on defense this season. He will have to impose his game on Thomas to make him work on defense to take away his outside shot.
Advantage: Memphis

Centers: Darko Milicic vs Chris Kaman
Chris Kaman is one of the leading candidates for Comeback Player of the Year. Kaman has nearly doubled his output in scoring (18.4 vs 10.1) and rebounding (13.8 vs 7.8). His rebounding total ranks him 3rd in the league this season. Darko has struggled to remain healthy this season but when healthy he has been very effective. Darko is the only Grizz who can body up with Kaman who is a load at 7-0 and 265 pounds. Hopefully the three days off will help Darko regain his stamina.
Advantage: Clippers

Benches: Memphis vs Los Angeles
LA has to hope that Ross can go in this game because without him the Clippers bench is rather thin. Sam Cassell has been out since Nov. 26th and the next best scorer off the bench is rookie Al Thornton who averages 6.1 ppg. Reuben Patterson and Dan Dickau are the only other contributing bench players for the Clippers. Kyle Lowry has put behind his shooting woes of late to score in double figures in 3 straight games to raise his season scoring average to 10.0 ppg. Juan Carlos Navarro is struggling to get his long range shot to fall of late but is still averaging 10 points off the bench as well. Stromile Swift has struggled returning from his recent illness and may have lost his job as first big off the bench to offensive minded Hakim Warrick.
Advantage: Memphis

Other Pre-game Commentary/Relevant Sites:

Clips Nation

Got a Predicton? Leave it in the Comments.

What Does It Take To Go On A Winning Streak?

I was pretty low after the loss at home to Portland. Portland wasn't playing well and we had won the previous game in a dominating fashion. How did we lose that game?

Maybe it was just difficult to put two wins together. The team's only done it once this season after all and we had to wait until April last season to win two in a row. Do the Grizzlies just sit on their laurels too much or what?

That got me looking around the league to see what team had the longest winning streak and you know who showed up on the list? Those same Portland Trailblazers that beat Memphis. They won four games in a row after beating Memphis. Those wins included a win at Utah (only their 2nd road win of the season) and last night's win over Golden State (Milwaukee and Miami were the others). They beat both Utah and Golden St without LaMarcus Aldridge who is out with plantar fasciitis (the same injury that supposedly sidelined Pau three seasons ago).

So maybe I shouldn't feel so bad about the loss. The team was within 3/10ths of a second of beating a team that is red hot.

It didn't make me feel any better. The Grizzlies still lost so who cares if the team is red hot or ice cold. A loss is a loss after all.

In researching what has happened to Portland I read this interesting quote from Jarrett Jack" I think it's just a contagious confidence." Contagious Confidence? What the heck is contagious confidence and how do the Grizzlies catch it?

"Confidence is contagious." - Vince Lombardi

Probably by finding someone to hit a game winning shot. That is how Portland accomplished it. Since the last second shot by Travis Outlaw the Trailblazers have started to believe in themselves. Their 2nd yr coach, Nate McMillan said "I really think the whole team is getting a feel of what we want to do.'' So understanding what the coach wants of them, gaining a touch of confidence from hitting a big shot and a team can turn things around in a hurry.

It reminds me of the Chicago Bulls of three years ago. They were 4-16 at one point that season but finished as one of the hottest teams in the league. It took some time for the young players to learn what it was they were supposed to be doing and it took some clutch wins to bolster their confidence.

Think about that today as the Grizzlies prepare for the Clippers. Iavaroni hasn't been here two years and the Grizzlies haven't hit that big shot yet but with plenty of days to practice lately and a team on a long road trip in town this could be just the situation Memphis needs to turn things around.

It just takes a little contagious confidence after all.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mega-Links: Injury News, Mike Miller and his monkey, TK in a giving mood, Sign the "Kobe Stopper"?, Team Value, Rudy Gay, Hak on the block?

Ron Tillery is reporting on the Memphis Edge that Pau Gasol is questionable for Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers after jamming the big toe on his right foot in practice. That's the bad news. The good news is that Michael Conley has been participating in non-contact drills since Monday and hopes to be cleared for full contact drills by next Tuesday. I would have liked to have known about that a few days ago, but I guess Tillery was busy finding "his stories" in other locations. Oh Ron-Ron...and here we were trying to be nice to you for a change. Don't make me regret that decision.

I was too busy yesterday afternoon to see this post on TrueHoop about Mike Miller and his former pet, a monkey named Sonny. Apparently when Henry Abbott worked for HOOP Magazine, he interviewed Miller and they had a lengthy conversation about Sonny at that time. Well, it got brought up again because of the current issue (January/February 2008) of HOOP Magazine that includes a new interview with #33 in which Sonny's story is revisited. It's unique, it's bizarre, it's a must-read.

Over on is the report that Tarence Kinsey is giving back to his alma mater, the University of South Carolina.

Former Gamecocks basketball player Tarence Kinsey will donate his Memphis Grizzlies game-worn uniform to be auctioned on the official South Carolina Auctions page on with the proceeds benefiting the Carolina Remembrance Fund.
The uniform includes an autographed jersey, game shorts and autographed shoes.
The university established the Carolina Remembrance Fund in honor and memory of the six Carolina students who died in the Ocean Isle fire Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007.
Proceeds from the fund will honor these students through their sorority, Delta Delta Delta, or fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

Nice to see yet another Grizzlies player taking the time to be charitable and help others.

Over on the Grizzlies Message Board, there is an outcry to sign the recently waived Ruben "Kobe Stopper" Patterson to shore up the team's defensive deficiencies and supply a little attitude. Ehh--what could it hurt? If he can crack the rotation ahead of Casey Jacobsen and Brian Cardinal (a daunting task, I know), then give him a shot.

Finally, we have Forbes anual Team Valuation Rankings, in which the Grizzlies come in at #23 with a value of $304 million. I could have sworn that I had posted this already, but a search through the archives didn't turn up anything, so there you go.

Late Updates via the venerable ODK on the Message Boards:

Rudy Gay, A Chat On The Raptors Tonight On The RealGM Hoops Show
Tonight on the RealGM Hoops Show, Brendon, Sacha and Aaron will talk to Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay about his breakout season. They will also chat with RealGM's Tyler Sherkin about the Toronto Raptors and will be joined by former NBA star Jerome Williams live from the Philippines. Feel free to call the show between 9:00 and 10:00 PM Eastern at 1-888-942-7326.

Hakim Warrick made ESPN's list of the 10 most likely to be traded:
4. Hakim Warrick, Grizzlies

After a five-game stretch in which he played very little, the Grizzlies have been showcasing him to a degree in their past two games as word has circulated around the league that the third-year forward does not fit into the Grizzlies' long-term plans.There are still plenty of teams willing to take a shot on Warrick's upside, which means Memphis can get true value in return.

Website/Blog of the Day: The Blowtorch

Heart, Backbone and Balls

I love the Memphis Grizzlies. I don't think that is a secret but I am getting tired of the timidity of the team. Some people say the team isn't timid but I think I have found a statistic that verifies my opinion.

Memphis is last in the league in Technical Fouls called against them. What's worse is that they are last because they haven't had one called all season (except a worthless call with less than a minute to go against Detroit). Even Utah has had a technical foul called against them and they play in the shadow of the Mormon Tabernacle for Christ's sake.

The teams that have received the most technical fouls all have winning records. Is that surprising? These teams stand up to the refs when a bad call is made. They won't stand by and allow the refs to dictate action without calling them out.

Everyone can guess that Detroit leads the league in technical fouls called. What you may not know is who leads Detroit in technical fouls (hint: it isn't who you think). Indiana, Dallas and New Orleans are the next three teams on the list for most T's this season. These teams are not known for physical play.

Last season Memphis was 26th in the league in technical fouls. The teams below them were Boston (2nd worst record in the league), Atlanta (3rd worst), Philadelphia (6th) and Toronto (actually made the playoffs.

Do you notice a trend here?

I understand the attitude of keeping control of your emotions. I understand the attitude of not getting the refs upset against us. These are valid excuses. However, technical fouls usually gets the home crowd fired up. It shows the fans and the team that you are passionate about the game. And if the refs are already calling fouls against us who cares if they are doing it with dispassionate, objective opinions or just pissed off? The calls aren't going in our direction either way.

The last two years I criticized Fratello for being too passive on the bench. So far I have seen Iavaroni having a similar dispassionate demeanor on the bench. Coaches need to complain to the refs about bad calls. Players need to show they care enough to occasionally get a technical call. Let us see that you really want to win.

I know it has been debated that picking up technical fouls doesn't have any effect but I don't believe it. Technical fouls mean someone is losing their composure. That they are emotionally involved at such a high level that they can't maintain their composure. I like seeing that occasionally on my team. Far better to see a player lose control once and a while than see the team passively accepting defeat after defeat.

Show some heart. Show some backbone. Show some balls. Show the fans in Memphis that this is more than just a job. Show us you are emotionally involved to the point that things not working out makes you upset.

Maybe a little excitement directed at the refs will translate into excitement coming from the stands.

By the way, feel free to put your predictions on who has the most technical fouls on Detroit's team in the comments section.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Good Bye Andy Dolich

It is with a sad heart that I write that Andy Dolich has resigned as President of Business Operations for the Memphis Grizzlies. Andy has been with the club since May of 2000. Andy was the lone holdover of the original group of executives who brought the club from Vancouver.

Andy has been the recipient of many negative comments over the years but in my dealings with him I always found him to be a class gentleman who handled himself and represented the franchise well. In his resignation letter Andy said:

“It was an honor to work for the Grizzlies organization and I am grateful for the incredible resources provided to our staff by Michael Heisley and our local owners. Ownership is doing everything in their power to build a successful community invested professional basketball franchise for all Memphians. FedExForum is a national jewel of a sports and entertainment facility that this community should be justifiably proud of.”

“I was blessed to work with a team of wonderful professionals who everyday in every way strive to improve the Grizzlies organization and the fan experience at FedExForum. I have never had a group of corporate partners and loyal fans more supportive of the ultimate goal of being a champion both on the court and in the community.”

Team owner Michael Heisley added these comments:
“Andy was instrumental in the team’s successful move from Vancouver to Memphis,” said Michael Heisley, Memphis Grizzlies Majority Owner. “His role in the marketing of FedExForum was critical to the outstanding arena that we have in our city. He was vital in every aspect of the organization’s success and was a champion of the team’s community investment programs which have set such a high standard in the pro sports industry. Having Jerry West and Andy Dolich assist me in launching the franchise in Memphis was invaluable. We have set a strong foundation which we are prepared to build on as we move forward.”

Andy did many great things in Memphis but will probably be best remembered for the Fan Advisory Board, the first of its kind in professional sports. The board, consisting of around 40 citizens including season ticket holders, power pack holders and non-season ticket holders was developed to have a better way to keep in touch with fans and their concerns. The model is being copied in many other markets around professional sports today.

The Grizzlies sales staff has asked me to appeal to fans of the team to attend the Houston game on Dec. 28th to give Andy a sell out at his last home game with the team. Call 800-HOOP for tickets.

The Grizzlies and 3 Shades of Blue will miss Andy's strong leadership and his willingness to try any means possible to help the team succeed in this community.

Power Rankings 12-10 & 11

Power Rankings for 10 & 11 December, 2007
Mouse Over GRIZZLIES LOGO to see COMMENTS (works best with MS IE)
Click on Grizzlies logo to go to team web page for each sport's web site.

Since Yahoo updates  are inconsistent I changed it for Covers.

Have a better suggestion for a ranking?  Please tell me with a comment.

other weeksAll12-311-2611-1911-12 
Actual NBA SI ESPNCoversSagarin CBS FOX
1 1
2 2
3 3
4 4
5 5
6 6
7 7
8 8
9 9
10 10
11 11
12 12
13 13
14  14
15 15
16  16
17   17
18 18
19   19
20 20
21 21
22 22
23 23
24 24
25 25
26 26
27 27
28 28
29 29
30 30
Actual NBA SI ESPNCoversSagarin CBS FOX