Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Postgame Thoughts: Memphis at L.A. Lakers 1.8.08

This is an abbreviated edition of Postgame Thoughts as the only portion of the game that mattered was the 1st quarter when the Grizzlies were outscored by 16 points. The remainder of the game was played to a draw.

Seriously, was there a lid on the Grizzlies' basket for the first 15 minutes of the game or was it just me? It wasn't even a case of good defense by the Lakers -- the Grizzlies just could not get anything to fall, other than Pau Gasol.

Two minutes into the game Mike Conley pulled something that made me hit the rewind button on the DVR not once, not twice, but three times. He dribbled towards the basket to the left of the lane, went through the lane near the basket, never picking up his dribble and then back out of the lane on the right side before zipping a pass to a wide open Darko Milicic for a layup. It was so reminiscent of the kind of plays that Steve Nash makes, where you know he could score if he wanted to take the shot, but instead he just kind of hangs out near the rim until he can get the ball to an open teammate. Hopefully, this is merely shades of what is to come from him in the future.

In the 2nd quarter Hakim Warrick returned from exile. After not having played in the past three games -- games in which the Grizzlies were actually competitive -- Hak made his return and played very well on the night. He did what we have all come to expect from him, which is score reasonably well and rebound decently. What was interesting was that he played and Juan Carlos Navarro played (ineffectively in my evaluation), but Casey Jacobsen did not. I don't know if the crowd's booing has affected Iavaroni's rotation or not, but it was a noticeable absence to be sure.

I'm not sure if it was still a secret or not, but this just in: Derek Fisher is good. Seriously, as well as he played tonight, when I looked at the boxscore I was surprised to see that he missed the one shot that he did. I think his performance might have done a little to quell the heaping amounts of praise that super-frosh Mike Conley had been receiving after playing very well against the likes of Andre Owens, Rajon Rondo and Chris Quinn as a starter. Leave it to the wily veteran to ruin the party.

As I stated in the opening, this one was decided in the the first quarter as the Lakers were able to cruise through the rest of the game after establishing a sizable lead. I don't expect the other two meetings with them to go the same way, but with this young team, who can tell how they'll play from one night to the next?

Chipc3's Perspective:
Sorry to get this up so late but my computer is down at my house.

Mike Conley, welcome to the NBA. After playing three games against less than top notch opponents Derek Fisher, who was motivated by his mom in the stands, put on a clinic against the rookie. Everytime Conley went low Fisher nailed the open 3. If Conley stayed up Fisher used the pick to get past him and dish to an open ma. Mostly Conley went low as Fisher's 26 points (more than double his season average) can attest. On offense Fisher played about 5 feet off of Conley all night daring him to hit the long ball. Conley took the dare and shot 5-15. Until he consistently can hit that open J it will be difficult for Conley to really be effective but the mechanics look good and with Mark Price working with him there is no reason to believe he won't learn to hit that shot.

Mike Miller showed some true grit but it was too little and way too late. Mike was pretty quiet until the 3rd quarter when Kobe started laying off him. Defensively Mike played hard all night but it was hard to tell when Kobe was getting every call he wanted and hitting shots with people in his face. Gasol played well but not well enough. With Fisher hanging down low it was difficult to get Gasol the ball where he is most effective (another problem with Conley/Lowry being unable to hit the outside shot). Darko benefitted early from the attention Gasol received but that horrible call took him out of the game at the 8 minutes mark of the first quarter. Either Lowry has hit the wall or he is pouting over Conley's promotion. Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to sit Lowry for a few games and let Damon come off the bench. Damon's outside shot has to be respected at least.

Memphis was pressing on offense and that rarely leads to a high shooting percentage. The Lakers played intelligent defense and forced Memphis into shots they don't consider their best options. Memphis didn't rise to the challenge.

On the bright side Hakim Warrick showed he can really score again. With the Lakers playing Kwame Brown and Ronny Tauriaf as their backup bigs, any defensive lapses by Warrick weren't going to be exploited. This is the ideal type of match up to play Hakim and with Sacramento coming up expect another Hak sighting in that game. Darko had a double-double and did a decent job against Bynum, especially early. Darko was aggressive offensively and that is huge when teams shadow Gasol. Memphis hung with LA when Darko played.

Tough loss at home and in front of a decent sized crowd. Would have been nice if the team had risen to the occassion.


Kurt said...

That was a learning experience for Conley. Fisher is good, strong and knows how to exploit inexperience. Conley will have his day, but I think all young players in the league have nights like this against a vet.

drrayeye said...

Miller played really great one on one defense on Kobe, scored, and rebounded. Milicic teamed with Gasol to neutralize Bynum as Milicic scored. It looked like the start of a hard fought game. Then Milicic got his second foul . . . .

Conley and Gay might do better sharing time with a complementary role player, like Fisher/Farmar, or Walton/Ariza of the Lakers.

AussieGfan said...

Good comments.

Miller played pretty well. Everything else was just bad. It was really frustrating because Grizz vs Lakers is like a grudge match between me and my brother.

Some of the boos that were heard felt like they were deserved.

Hopefully next game is more enjoyable.

This might sound crazy but I really am starting to think Miller/Gay/Conley is worth building around and everyone else is expendable. At this point I'd even be happy with Gasol for Dalembert. I usually hate the idea of trade speculations and I don't keep up to date with salaries and to be honest don't even know how high the Sixers are on Dalembert or Gasol, but I just think it's starting to get to a sitatuion where it was for Sheed in Portland, where he can still succeed but just not in the current environment, because of the history and everything else. If you shoot down my thoughts on that, go easy I'm noob at trade talks.

Rudy's foul trouble is still frustrating. Darko was going great unless that BS call on Kobe, and then the quick 2nd. But you know you are in trouble when after 5 mins Darko has your only points in the game.

Conley's got a long road ahead, but even in his mistakes he's still worth watching.

Final thought, Kyle? Where are you? Is he burnt out or is there some other problem? I guess no one has the answer to that at the moment.