(Both Photos from AP)
Again, the Grizzlies couldn't come away with a victory in Sacramento, pushing the Sacto road losing streak to 18. Despite the bitterly disappointing loss, the game was quite exciting to watch from start to finish. I could have done without the last 45 seconds, I guess.
Here is how the deciding moments played out, with the Kings winning the game by playing the foul-game very well and correctly deciding to hold off on shooting a 3 with less than 24 seconds and down 3. After this game, I expect a lot of people to question Iavaroni's crunch time decisions (after looking at the messageboard, yep, here it is).
-- With 45 seconds to play and the Griz up 1, Rudy Gay nails a very tough 3-pointer.
-- In the next possession, the Kings attempt 2 3's and missed both. Eventually Salmons realizes they are wasting time and gets the easy layup to close the Griz lead to 2.
-- Pau is fouled and only makes 1 of 2. Griz up 3.
--With 18 seconds left, Douby makes a driving layup. Great call by the Kings to take the 2 over the 3 and the tie. That decision ends up winning them the game.
-- Conley is fouled and only makes 1 of 2. Griz up 2.
-- With time running out, Garcia makes a corner 3 to put the Kings up 1.
-- Rudy Gay dribbles the ball off his foot and out of bounds.
-- Game Over, Kings Win.
Other Game Notes...
-- Rudy Gay Is Freaking Awesome! Yes, I know he left his man alone for a wide open game winning 3-pointer and then turned right around and fumbled away the ball while driving the baseline on the games deciding play. I am well aware of those 2 mistakes. But not counting the last 10 seconds, Rudy played a solid game. Rudy played especially great on the offensive end finishing with 31 points on 9-13 from the field, 4 of 7 from deep, and 9-10 from the line. Rudy has not been good at getting to the charity stripe consistently this year, so 10 FT attempts is very encouraging. It really looks like there is no shot Rudy can't hit on offense. The growth and maturation of Rudy Gay is certainly the story of the year for the Grizzlies this season.
(Photo from Getty)
-- Rudy Gay's Under-the-Radar Steal Streak Continues. Rudy has now had at least 1 steal in 20 straight games. It was November 28th the last time Rudy didn't get a steal in a game. Nice. Maybe I'm mistaken, but has this been mentioned outside of this blog?
-- Deactivation? After it was suggested that Kyle should be deactivated for his poor play of late, tonight Kyle comes out and played as good as he has in weeks. Here is his stat line:
8 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 turnover, +8 plus/minus in 18 minutes.He was actually at +15 on plus/minus until Iavaroni uncharacteristically put him in for Navarro at the end of the game on defensive possessions. Iavaroni has not been one to make very many offensive/defensive substitutions this year in crunch time. I like the idea behind putting Kyle in on defense, then Navarro in on offense in the closing minutes. It just didn't work out very well this game.
-- Other Team's Announcers Always Love Mike Miller. Saw the Kings feed tonight and every time I see the other teams feed, their announcers are always in love with Mike Miller. Both the Kings TV and radio guys loved Miller. In fact, there was even a short interview with the Kings radio guy for nothing else but to praise Mike Miller. Weird. The Rocket announcers also come to mind when seeing other teams announcers talk about Mike like a regular All-Star. Miller is good - and tonight was one of his better games with him scoring a very efficient 18 points with very few missed shots - but I always get the impression from other teams announcers that he is on the All-NBA team or something. Too bad announcers can't tell their respective GM's how much to offer us for Miller in a trade. We may end up with T-Mac straight up. :)
-- Stupid Offensive Rebounds. Although neither team had any 2nd chance points in the 1st half, the 14 offensive rebounds by the Kings was ultimately a primary reason why the Kings won.
-- Tightened Rotation. Only 8 players played tonight, with Hak, Kyle and Navarro as the only players coming off the bench. I certainly like to see the shorter rotation. Interesting to see Hak play over Stro. Is Stro hurt or sick? Anyone know?
-- Bench Redemption. After being criticized for a lack of production, the bench stepped up tonight and played good. JC, Kyle and Hak combined for 24 points and 13 assists and all 3 were in the positive in plus/minus.
-- Former Griz, "Bad Thing" Dahntay Jones Fouls Out in 9 Minutes. Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Yep, that is the Dahntay I remember.
-- Pick and Roll Defense Sucks! @!#$%*^%&^@! I don't think a postgame commentary would be complete without me voicing my displeasure at the way we defend the pick-and-roll. Even a Beno, Mikki Moore combination can kill us with the pick-and-roll. Communication between the guard and bigman is horrible. I'm not even sure if everyone is one the same page about how to defend the pick-and-roll. Beno-Mikki? Really? We can't even slow down a freaking Beno-Mikki ran pick-and-roll? Beno-Mikki? Beno Udrih? Mikki Moore? Ugh!!! @!!$@#$%$%^&*#$%#@!!!
Rudy Gay on leaving Garcia open for the game winning trey:
"It was just a bad play on my part. I should've stuck with my man. Mike had him on lockdown. At that point, he was dribbling the ball and it was kind of unorthodox. I was trying to get the steal."
Rudy Gay on dribbling off his foot:
"I thought somebody got a hand on it. I haven't done that a lot this year. Especially at that point in the game, I don't think I'd dribble the ball out of bounds."
Micheal Conley on the game and the closing minutes:
"We didn't execute our plays the way we were supposed to. They took away a couple of our No. 1 and No. 2 options. We needed to go to a third and we weren't ready for it. They just played tougher down the stretch and came back and hit some big shots. We couldn't get a couple of big rebounds. They got a couple of offensive rebounds that really hurt us and turned into points for them. There were a lot of big plays down the stretch and they just made one more than we did."
Getty Captures the Moment - Double Serving of the "La Bomba"