Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Postgame Thoughts: Memphis vs. Denver - 1.30.08

Well, it was another game and another close loss as the dreaded "failure to execute in late game situations" demon reared its ugly head once again.

>No, I said "demon", not "Damon". Since we're talking about Damon though, word is that he'll sign with the San Antonio Spurs by the end of the week. The surprising portion of this news is that it will actually lower the team's average age. Back to demons now, like the one on the lovely Claire Forlani's top as seen here:

That's not a demon on her shirt you say? Well, it's not much of a shirt either, so sod off! She's far more appealing to look at than the box score of another loss. Fine, fine, here's your bloody demon.

Still speaking of demons, who let The Dark One out? 14 points, 16 boards and 5 blocks, neatly mimicking Camby's 13/19/5 line? A few more games like that and he might shake the ridiculous "bust" label he's been unfairly saddled with.

Well, Darko and Rudy Gay were the "good" tonight and Mike Miller was the "acceptable by that much" player. Now on to my new favorite target (and not just because I like to see Zack get all riled up): Kyle Lowry. The buzz going into tonight's game was his great play as a starter since Conley went down with an injury, posting averages of 17.0 ppg, 6.0 apg, 5.7 rpg, 2.7 spg and an assist to turnover ratio of 18-to-1 over the past three games (although Chip agrees with me that his turnover total is somewhat dubious). Well tonight Kyle scored (19 points on 8/17 FG, 3/3 FT), rebounded (4 boards), stole (2 steals) and........forgot that he was a point guard. He tallied 1 assist and 6 turnovers while having his shot blocked 4 times. Granted, Marc Iavaroni said during the postgame comments that he wasn't pleased with the team's lack of assists (12 for the game) and even made a pointed remark in Rudy's direction after saying that, but Kyle is the starting PG -- Kyle should be the facillitator for everyone else. I'll leave it at that, because I love the kid's tenacity and drive, but he has to start making better decisions with the ball -- especially in late-game situations.

I didn't say much about Navarro's good game on Monday, so I probably shouldn't mention his poor game tonight......but I'm an equal opportunity offender, so here we go! 2 of 12 from the floor, including 0 for 8 from behind the arc? Really? He made some plays elsewhere, recording 7 boards, 3 assists and a steal, but make no mistake about it, he's paid to score.

Defensively, the team played poorly again, allowing yet another team to shoot over 50%. That stat, combined with a turnover deficit of -5 helped negate a rebounding advantage of +12. Defense is something that is going to have to be addressed with this team, no matter what style of play they choose to play.

I'm gonna go drown my sorrows in an ice-cold Pepsi now.

Yeah, that'll do.

ChipC3's Perspective:
Another heart-stopping finish and another hart-breaking loss for the team that couldn't finish straight.

I don't know how to put a different spin on an outcome that was so familiar. Memphis is very close to being a decent team and with the youth on display last night the future is looking bright. It just doesn't feel like that right now.

Thanks to Ron Tillery for his rumored trade of Stro for Magliore. Not only is it extremely dated to be reported now (right after Stro's one game suspension) but it doesn't even make sense financially since the it doesn't adhere to the CBA rules. Next time get the story right before you write it in an article Ron. Little things do make big differences as a journalist.

Darko Milicic played like the big man the Grizzlies have dreamed he would be. At 22 he isn't too far gone in his career that he can't start putting up these kind of numbers consistently but he is getting close to the point when the fans start to associate him with Stro. He tantilizes you one night and then disappears for a few. Hopefully Darko can use the rest of the season to get his game on a more consistent level. We aren't asking for 14 pts and 16 boards against an elite defensive center every night but a double double every other night would be nice.

Kyle Lowry is exciting. You never know what will happen with him on the court. He can charge into the lane and explode past a defender and he can charge into a lane only to get his shot blocked. He can make a sweet pass to an open man and he can throw the ball into the stands. One thing is for sure, you never know what is going to happen when he is on the court.

Juan Carlos Navarro has officially become the refs whipping boy on our team. Rookies are routinely judged by a different standard than veterans by the refs but it is becoming an issue when Navarro has every call go against him. Last night he was run over by AI and given a foul. This has gone on all season for calls like that. It seemed to upset his shooting last night too. Welcome to the NBA rookie. Next year he should start getting those calls (or learn to just get out of the way of an NBA All-Star's drive to the hoop).

Rudy Gay smoothly led the team in scoring with 30 points, grabbed 8 boards and handed out 3 assists to tie for the team high in assists. That should say a lot about how the ball movement was working last night. Rudy also showed just how much more he has to work on his dribbling. That is the one area I think is his weakest vice. Rudy struggles creating shots on drives because of his ballhandling skills. I think Mike Conley knows a good camp for Rudy to attend this summer to work on that.

Even up 7 pts with 3 minutes to go it seemed like everyone knew AI would take over and somehow will the team to victory. Then he did. One can only hope that Conley was watching on how to take over a game at the end. That will be his role in the future as his speed and dribbling skills will enable him to break down defenses while still keeping an eye open for a teammate. Sure AI scored 30 pts but he also got 12 assists, many of which were 3 pt shots when AI got into the lane and then passed out to the open wing man. If Lowry and Conley can start doing that more often Memphis would be very dangerous offensively.

Defensively the team looked lost at times. I don't understand how the Grizzlies seem unable to grasp even rudimentary moves and defend them but I am not the coach. The best defensive plays came on dunk shots by J R Smith who clanged back to back attempts off the rim which led to quick baskets by the Grizzlies and changed the game. At that time Denver looked to be establishing themselves but those two plays got the crowd and the team back into the game.

Utah comes to town Saturday night. I wonder how close we can make this loss?

Special Thanks to Getty Pictures for the live NBA action shots.


Anonymous said...

i would have traded him for anything - maybe chris wallace is trying to get a 2nd round pick out of it or something.
or he is trying to tell the rest of the league that he ain't easy - either way we need to make some moves.
but it sounds like we will make moves around draft time.....

hptmatt said...

nice review Sparty.

I love the fact that Lowry is trying to do too much...but he's gotta calm it a bit and see that too much is not enough, and a bit less might be just right. What a hustler, though.

I'm really mystified by the Darko thing-great games against Duncan, Yao, Camby..and a few pretty slouchy ones otherwise. Sure, Camby outrebounded him on an individual basis...but MEM took the rebounds by 12. Darko played right.

Iverson is just too dang good. Man he is just unreal.

black said...

Does Darko actually know that you can do offensive moves other than the lefty hook?

Their is never a point in life in which Casey Jacobson should be playing.

Navarro was terrible last night.

The offensive fouls on 3 or 4 possessions had me screaming at the tv. Quit making dumb plays, and Warrick quit turning the ball over.

Gay, Conley, Miller and Gasol -stay

Everybody else off the boat

Anonymous said...

Who's the girl with the revealing shirt?