Friday, January 4, 2008

Postgame Thoughts: Memphis at Boston 1.4.08

Well, it wasn't a win, but it was a lot more interesting than just about anyone could have predicted. Rather than the expected blowout, it was a closely contested game that captivated the attention of both fanbases, as well as some interested third-party observers, I'm sure.

Tonight I came away impressed with what Pau and Darko were able to do on defense in the low post. I know you're saying "WHAT?!?! We got creamed by Points in the Paint!" That is true, but I'm talking about the two of them being matched up on KG, Perkins and Big Baby within 10 feet of the basket. They held their position well and either blocked or altered quite a few shots, especially in the 1st half.

How about the toughness of Rudy Gay? He had his tooth chipped by James Posey in the 3rd quarter and managed to make it back into the game in the 4th quarter and hit a few big time shots along the way. For those of you who don't know how much a chipped tooth hurts, all I can say is that you're lucky. I cannot imagine trying to run and jump while enduring that. While it certainly sucks for him, it might actually help him relate to the Memphis locals a little bit better.

Michael Conley didn't lead us to a win, but for the 2nd straight game he created for his teammates and made the offense look better, even if the conversion rate wasn't what we wanted to see with a paltry .429 FG% and .333 3PT% on the night. He was also the only Grizzlies' starter with a positive +/- for the night and one of only 3 Grizzlies period to achieve that. He doesn't make flashy plays, but he always seems to make the right play -- the smart play.

Where are the body snatchers that took over Ray Allen tonight? He was 0-9 from the field and his only points came off 2 free throws in the last minute of the game. Very strange to witness after coming to expect great scoring nights from him his entire career. Everybody has an off night, but this was an anomaly of epic proportions.

The team needs to work on scoring in the paint more, both from the low post and from slashing to the basket, while looking to draw contact. Missing too many 3 pointers (8/24) and missing some key free throws (16/21) made this a win for the Celtics, rather than a toss-up for either team in the last minute of the game. I'll definitely take this result over a blowout loss though, as the Grizzlies are beginning to look like they are working together, establishing chemistry and putting Marc Iavaroni's teachings into practice finally. Definitely a positive night for Grizzlies fans looking for something to give them hope for the remainder of the season.

ChipC3's Perspective:
Who was that masked man off the Boston bench? Tony Allen went for a season high instead of Ray Allen (who probably had the worst game of his career) but once again a backcourt player had his best game of the season and led to Memphis' downfall. The team really needs a defensive stopper on the perimeter more than the reputed scorer from the NBDL.

Gasol had an off night shooting but still contributed 8 boards, 5 assists and 3 blocks but where was the blockout on that last put back by Garnett. I realize it was Rudy's man at the time but Gasol should have been looking to block out someone instead of sitting under the basket like he expected it to fall in.

Rudy Gay showed the most intestinal fortitude in a Grizzlies uniform since James Posey took down Peja Stojakovic in Sacramento. Interesting that it took Posey's forearm to show that toughness as Posey's elbow jarred loose one of Rudy's teeth. How can that not be a foul by the way? Rudy overcame a tough start shooting the ball and Posey's accidental shot to lead the team in scoring and make some big shots down the stretch.

Mike Conley has learned how to swim in the pool. He didn't fill up the stat sheet like he did in In Indiana but he made good decisions and forced Rhondo to take jump shots instead of lay ups. Speaking of lay ups Boston killed Memphis in the paint (44-26) but more from Boston not allowing Memphis to score more than defensive breakdowns on the Grizzlies. Still the breakdowns were at particularly bad times.

Mike Miller has to learn to find his shot in the 2nd half and especially in the 4th quarter. With Rudy and Gasol drawing defensive attention Mike has to take more shots. His drop off from 11 pts in the first 14 minutes to 5 pts the rest of the way really hurt. Don't worry if you miss Mike just find a way to take some shots. That will force teams to play more straight up defense and Gasol and Gay can beat straight up defenses.

Tough loss for the team but not many teams can go to Boston and only lose by four points. The team should hold their heads up and come back home ready to give 100% effort against the Heat.

Other Views
A Boston fan's recap of the game.


Shawn said...

I think more can be said about Darko's first half in particular. four blocks and some great aggressive defensive play... all while avoiding those damaging fouls... I was impressed. I think one of the things that started letting the wheels come off was when he 1) got some fouls and had to sit and 2) lost some intensity.

If he and pau can click like that for a game then we may have what we thought we were going to have before the season started. I also like that he connected with a couple of those deep 2's... if he can start doing that more then we might have more of a threat than the trio we currently we have.

Ugo Valenti said...

I have been able to watch the last two games (Boston & Indiana), and wow, Mike Conley has really impressed me. He is a very, very good addition to this team: he makes the right movement every time, he gives the extra pass, and he knows how to move the ball. And he is a rookie!!!!

Memphis seems to start developing chemistry: both Rudy and Pau seem to start looking for each other (one month ago they were not sharing the ball).

The problem for Memphis is defensive consistency: when Darko is not on the floor, nobody else is capable of stopping the other team. Navarro is great offensively, but on the other end he is always a mismatch for his attacker (sorry for my poor English).

Finally, Memphis should look for something better than Jacobsen at the 3: they already have Navarro & Lowry for the offense, can't they find someone more deffensive oriented? That would really help Memphis trying to contain the scorer from the other's team bench (last night it was Tony Allen).