Monday, January 28, 2008

Postgame Thoughts: Memphis vs. Dallas - 1.28.07


Am I insane? I wonder sometimes. I thought that this team could be competitive this season. I didn't think they were going to be .500 or make the playoffs like many fans, but I thought that they could at least develop enough chemistry and mature enough to hang with most teams night in and night out. I truly believed that they would be playing better as the season went on, not worse. Was I completely off-base or what? Nights like tonight make me want to trade the entire team, coaching staff and even the fans.

First, the players. The only player who seemed to know what his role was tonight was Hakim Warrick. Hak didn't hit any FG's, but he got to the line, rebounded a little and even got 2 assists! Everyone else was trying to do too much or too little. Mike Miller wouldn't shoot....again. No sense beating that dead horse though. Rudy Gay had the quietest 18 points I've ever seen while allowing both Josh Howard and Dirk Nowitzki to do whatever they wanted while he was "guarding" them. I used quotes there, because I'm not sure that what he did actually qualifies according to the definition of the word. For a guy many are touting to be "the franchise player", he certainly didn't look to assert himself tonight. Kyle Lowry missed as many free throws as all other players on the floor combined -- that's both teams for those counting at home. He started off the game as a tremendous playmaker, especially on defense, but fell back into old habits as he would put his head down and drive into the trees without any regard to his teammates' openness or positioning. Stromile Swift managed to find his headband long enough to log 1:45 tonight. Don't want to do too much too soon though Stro -- better ease back into things. Pau Gasol was given limited minutes as he continues to recover from his lingering back pain and I cannot really find much to fault him, but since he's gonna get mentioned in trade rumors anyways, let's get rid of him too!

Now for the coaches. I'd put 100% of the blame for Kyle's free throw mishaps on his young shoulders if the organization hadn't hired Mark Price to work with the team.....on free throw shooting! Earn your paycheck Mark! Speaking of guys named Mark.....errr......Marc. I would love to ask Marc Iavaroni a question: Coach, why is Mike Miller continuing to play 35+ mpg in blowouts? I know you weren't here for last season when he was so physically exhausted at the end of the season that he took the last couple of weeks off, but surely someone told you about the situation. I'm also quite certain that you are aware that he played over the summer for Team USA and could use some lighter minutes when the game is obviously out-of-hand. Let's see if we can do something about that, shall we?

Finally, the fans. As I noted above, Pau Gasol played tonight after missing the game Saturday night against the Clip Joint. Wait -- before we get into that, let me say "Kudos" to the fans for their vocal assault on the officials tonight, especially at the end of the 1st quarter when the zebras handed the Mavericks an additional 4-5 points by swallowing their whistles after witnessing obvious fouls. All three officials whould be reprimanded for that series of events. But Grizzlies fans at the FedEx Forum, can you tell me why you felt the need to boo Gasol after he missed a single shot late in the game with the home team still down 20+ points, given that he was one of the few players still giving effort? I understand and support your right to have your voice heard, but what was the motivation for that? Was it to tell Pau, "thanks for the past 6+ years, but don't expect a going away party when we convince Chris Wallace to ship you out for ten cents on the dollar"? Why not boo the players I called out above? The ones who played a lot more minutes than Pau and produced a lot less in those extra plays, by the way.

I don't know what else to say about this team, this organization or this city. It seems to me that all of them are suffering from a split personality disorder.


From Zack - Mavs Dominate 1st Quarter, Cruise to Victory over Griz,


I had a little bit of free time last night and tried to come up with some keys to winning this game. But I couldn't convince myself any of my ideas were worth posting. Basically, only one of the ideas I worked through made much sense to me. Keep it Close.

Ya, I know the Griz are horrible in close games. But still, at least there was a chance to win. In other words, getting blown out before the 1st quarter or 1st half are even over is too much for this team to overcome. In just the last week, superior teams Orlando and Washington won by jumping on the Griz early and then just putting it in cruise control. I thought if Dallas could get a big lead early, this game would be over.

The score after the 1st quarter tonight was Dallas 33, Memphis 19.

Here is a figure that illustrates the 1st quarter struggles for the Griz.

Early on, the Mavs barely missed anything. Josh Howard was perfect from the field and the charity stripe. Memphis couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. By the time the game was at the half, the outcome was decided and the Griz had virtually no chance to win.

Although it is probably for the best that the Mavs just blew us out from the get-go. Violet Palmer was one of the refs and if there is anything that might rival the Griz's inability to win in Sacramento, it is our inability to win with Violet Palmer as a ref.

ChipC3's Perspective:
Who could have guessed that an officiating team with Violet Palmer would be at the game and Violet wasn't the worst referee. When Violet Palmer isn't the worst ref on the court the officiating is going to be worse than normal and tonight was a perfect example of officials allowing the Mavs stars to do whatever they wanted while the Grizzlies were called for every foul. Dirk Nowitski hit Rudy Gay so hard on the arm I could actually hear the slap and it was right in front of Greg Willard and nothing gets called. The Mavs use that to throw the ball down court where Josh Howard absolutely mugged Juan Carlos Navarro, throwing him to the court in front of Kevin Fehr and nothing is called. End result was Dallas getting a cheap layup and the crowd going absolutely crazy. The amazing thing was that this was the first quarter and the game was still tight. Dallas used the officials (and poor Grizzlies shooting as well) to run up a big lead. The game was over at that point.

Which brings up the second negative of the night. Who quits in the 2nd quarter of an NBA game? The effort was horrible but then again it was the second game of a back to back...for the Mavericks! Memphis sat at home last night and they were the team looking tired. I realize Gasol is hurt but Miller didn't assert himself, Gay didn't assert himself and the team looked lethargic. I mean it was really hard not to just get up and leave but the hope of the Grizzlies turning things around get me there.

Finally, one pet peave to discuss. How can Memphis fans seriously boo Pau Gasol on his first shot of the game? The man has an injury he is playing with and a rather noticeable group booed him for missing his first shot of the game. Way to thank one of the few players trying last night. It isn't like Gasol hasn't been giving his best this month either. He's one of four NBA players averaging 20 pts and 10 boards a game and some idiots boo him for missing a shot. Incredible. And people wonder why I question the Memphis fans.

So basically I am pissed at the team's effort, at the officials and at the fans. Other than that how was the play Mrs. Lincoln.

9 comments:

hbt said...

i think an issue with this team that goes under the radar game after game is our inability to hit shots consistently. i can't comprehend why this is either. these guys are professional basketball players--all they do is sit around and/or play basketball every day, but i watch the grizzlies shoot so poorly in these types of losses (the mavs). one of the major reasons a team like the mavs wins like they do is because they can put the ball in the basket. it may sound oversimplicated, but it really isn't. our team scored 9 points the other night in a quarter? i think i could round up a few friends to go out and score 9 points against the wizards. just thought i'd think out loud for a little bit. have you guys ever thought the same thing? why can't our team just shoot the ball well-- the thing they do all day long?

ChipC3 said...

Well for one thing the Grizzlies aren't a bad shooting team. It is just when the shots aren't falling it is more apparent. Memphis is 7th in the league in FG%.

The problem is that on those rare nights when the team doesn't shoot well the problem is magnified since teams can run off the misses and shoot an even higher percentage against the Grizzlies. The problem isn't the team's shooting but the team's defense. We are allowing teams to shoot 47.4% against us which is tied with the Knicks for the worst defense in the leauge and Dallas shot nearly 54% last night.

So there is the recipe for disaster: Grizz miss, opponent runs and gets easy basket. When Grizz hit their shots they get back on defense better and don't give up so many easy hoops.

hbt said...

i think that's a great response and one i was looking for. thanks.

so if our defense is the main culprit of our poor play, as you say, how can it be remedied? why are other teams better defensive teams? i dont really think it has a lot to do with coaching because i would think nba coaches all possess high basketball iq's and are relatively aware of the same schemes and ways to play defense. personnel maybe? i think you'd agree we're extremely soft inside and are known to have a pretty "porous" defense.

one more thing... i dont want to seem to be whining, but i adamantly believe that teams play the grizzlies with the most confident of mindsets which, in turn, leads to them playing out of their freaking minds against us. i dont know. i could definitely just be a sour and biased grizzlies fan, but the other teams seem to play so well against us. maybe its just us playing poorly... i guess thats an unanswerable question...

by the way, i check out this site everyday and i appreciate the time you guys put into it.

zack said...

i have such a different opinion on the booing...

i hope the fans boo when the team plays this bad...

it might be a little unfortunate that Pau gets the brunt end of the booing, sometimes un-deservingly so...

but Pau is the highest paid player that is expected in many people's eyes to be head and shoulders better than the rest of the team....

memphis already isn't that much into pau, so when the team isn't playing good, he is likely to get more of the boos than he might deserve....

on the flipside, when the team has done good in the past, pau might have gotten more credit than he deserved....comes with the terriority when someone is a Max contract player, franchise player, goto scorer and leader of the team...

i'd rather have the fans boo than not show up or show up and sit on their hands quietly....

Spartacus said...

Zack, I have to disagree with your assessment of it being fine to boo Pau. He has never gotten any of the credit for the success of this team and bears the brunt of the blame from the fans now that they are down. What really sucks is that they boo him when he's not even doing anything wrong most of the time. That's the most telling sign that it is time for him to go. Unfortunately, that has nothing to do with winning basketball games.

zack said...

pau got recognized and credited for the success of the Grizzlies by being invited to the All-Star game.....

it wasn't that that year his stats were that much better than any other year, it was that he was putting up those numbers on a winning ball club....and he got recognized for it....

i always feel that fans that pay money and use their time to attend the game can boo whoever they want, whether deserving or not...

zack said...

i'll add that I have never booed Pau in the Forum...

I was even sitting front row this year during the Hornets game were Pau did get booed (i wasn't there last night)...

my only stance is I support the fans right to boo anyone on the team if they want...

i might feel sorry or bad or embarrassed for that player or players when they do get booed (like when casey got booed), but i don't fault the fans for voicing their opinion....

Spartacus said...

You're referring to media recognition. I was talking about the fans crediting him for the success. Two totally different things.

AussieGfan said...

You guys comments were pretty scathing but pretty dead on also. And also targetted at the right areas.

I think they echod the current frustrations pretty well.

About the coaches, I have no idea if they are at all to blame for the seasons failures, but they have to share some of the blame and there is a chance that they are alot of the problem. Maybe it's a growing process and maybe in the future it can be improved. A different sport, but the football here coaches talk about 3 year plans, with 3 stages and only after those 3 stages is it fair to judge the coach because initially he inherits a team that he didn't build or develop. The NBA is alot more cuthroat though, and alot of the time losing coaches don't get the chance to prove themselves before they are shipped out.

About the fans, Memphis fans have long annoyed me, either for not cheering enough, or for booing at the wrong time to the point where they look silly and it's good to see at least some criticism aimed there way. At the same time there has been alot of things to be dissappointed about as a Memphis fan, whether it be exposure and media coverage or ref officating or lottery luck, or even playoff luck (like with always playing the top teams in the West while others with lower % play easier teams) to Pau's failings. I agree they deserve the right to boo, but please lets make it at the right time when it really is deserved? Otherwise it loses the point of booing in the first place and makes you look fickle.

How the Kings can be in the position they are in relative to the Grizz completely boggles my mind. That insanity poster sums it up well.