Welcome to the first installment of what I hope will be a regular weekly feature. Sunday morning will be used to take a tour through the world of the Grizzlies. We will recap the previous week and preview the upcoming week. We will take the team's temperature and summarize the ongoing Griz storylines. From time to time, a Griz op-ed by one of the Shades of Blue Bloggers will be highlighted. In this week's initial offering, quite a lot of ground is covered, so let's get going.
Wait, while I still have your full attention. Be aware that the game preview for the Griz-Lakers game is posted, the game starts tonight at 8:30 pm.
Recapping the Sunday Morning Commercial Appeal
Let's start with the local newspaper. Geoff Calkins has a mailbag column. Not quite Sports Guy quality, but Geoff's Sunday morning column is always a must read.
Marlon Morgan writes about our PG duo of the future learning their roles. Lowry discusses his latest apparent slump and gives some reality-based comments about his role for this team.
''Being the No. 4 pick, you know they're going to play,'' Lowry said. ''I knew that was going to happen, and I accepted the role. My role is to come off the bench with energy and play hard.''Also in the article, Coach Iavaroni and assistant Coach Johnny Davis offer up some comments about the Conley-Lowry PG combination.
Rudy Gay Interviewed by Kyle Lowry for Memphis Sport Mag
I was at the Memphis Pizza Cafe this week and picked up the Memphis Sport Magazine. I tend to forget about this really good local publication. In the latest edition, there is an interview with Rudy Gay...with the wrinkle of Kyle Lowry asking the questions. You can tell the two draft-mates are good friends. The not-so-serious interview is packed with light-hearted teasing between the two of them. They cover a range of subjects including UConn vs 'Nova (of course), who's the best player on the team named Kyle, Rudy's new facial hair, the Memphis Tigers (and Jerrick, yes Jerrick Rose), Rudy's long list of nicknames, and best of all Mike Fratello! I gotta quote the Frat part:
Kyle: What do you miss most about Mike Fratello?Ok...i'll also quote the part regarding Rudy's nicknames growing up:
Rudy: That's a real quesion? Is that really the question? What's that?
Kyle: Next question
Kyle: What were your nicknames growing up?The next time you are around town, pick up the magazine and read the entertaining interview. You can also go visit http://www.memphissport.net/, where you can probably find a digital version laying around somewhere.
Rudy: Rud Boy, Big Truck, uh...what else they call me?
Kyle: Mr. Gay?
Rudy: Ha ha ha. Only in elementary school. Bones, Slinky...all those...Rudabaker...
Kyle: That's enough.
Rudy: Slippin', The Kid, Young Fella', Yo' Daddy
Kyle: Next question.
Shades of Blue Week in Review
Just a quick reminder of the best Shades of Blue posts during the last week.
-- Gary Parrish Interview
-- Power Rankings
-- Roster Redundancy or Poor Evaluation
Griz Week in Review
The Grizzlies went 1-3 last week (and have now lost 16 of 20...ugh)
101-94 Win versus Miami
101-117 Loss versus L.A.
113-116 Loss versus Sacramento
104-116 Loss versus Golden State
Miami Game...the week started off strong as the Micheal Conley honeymoon was still in full swing. The Grizzlies beat a suffering Heat team who have now lost something like 10 in a row. Man, do the Heat really suck. The most impressive part of this win was that the Griz won the game at the end (instead of losing it) by using a 9-2 run to close the game out after the score was tied with a few minutes to play.
Lakers Game...the suddenly surging Lakers rode on the back of Derek Fisher's hot hand to build an early lead and control the game from start to finish. A pretty low attendance number (something in 14K range) for a game involving Kobe...kindof surprising.
Kings Game...the Grizzlies should have won, but predictably lost in the waning seconds while keeping in tact the 18 game Sacramento road losing streaking. Fransisco Garcia's name can now be placed next to Brad Miller (x2) and Mike Bibby for clutch 3's that beat the Griz in Sacramento. The Griz had this game seemingly won with a few minutes to go and I'm sure many in Memphis went to bed thinking the game was in fact a W, but then the Griz managed to choke the game away in the last 45 seconds with Rudy Gay having 2 bone headed plays.
Warriors game...the hometown Warriors followed the Lakers game plan by getting out to a comfortable lead early and never looking back. Pau Gasol had a career night with 43 points and the bench did their part to put the game within reach when it was slipping away. But the guard driven Warriors were just too strong at home as Baron Davis almost went for 20/20. Could we really have gotten Baron for Shane years ago? That would have been nice.
Grizzlies Sign Bobby Jones
Maybe the biggest news not related to the Grizzlies losing again was that Chris Wallace has signed Bobby Jones to a 10-day contract. Bobby Jones played at U-Dub (Univ. of Washington) with current darkhorse MVP candidate Brandon Roy. Jones was recently released by Denver and is known to play solid defense at multiple positions. He got his first minutes against the Warriors and looked decent. Also noteworthy was that Verno, simply a hardworking radio host, broke this news before the Grizzlies beat writer.
Latest News on Damon
Shortly after Heisley says he won't be buying out Damon's contract, he is in town for some business and buying out Damon's contract might be on his to-do list. On the Chris Vernon show, Eric says that Damon most likely will not play for the Griz again and coming from him, that carries alot of weight. Damon was active for the Warriors game but did not play. Stay tuned for breaking news on this front in the next week.
Weekly Awards (9/6 to 9/12)
Player of the Week: Pau Gasol
Pau averaged 27 points and 10 rebounds in the 4 games this week including a breezy 43 against the Warriors.
Bench Player of the Week: (tie) Hakim Warrick and Juan Carlos Navarro
Hak found his way to the rotation ahead of the oft-injured Stro and scored 15 against the Lakers and 10 against the Warriors. JC scored 20 against the Warriors and 10 against the Kings.
Grizzly Killer of the Week: Derek Fisher
There were a number of applicants this week, all of them guards. Monte Ellis, Baron Davis, John Salmons, Derek Fisher, and Kobe Bryant. Fisher (26 points and only 1 total miss) gets the honor for being so efficient during his drumming of the defense-less Grizzlies and giving Micheal Conley a lessen in NBA point guard play.
Long Ball King for the Week: Rudy Gay
The Grizzlies live and die by the 3, so let's give some recognition to whoever shoots the best in the past week from beyond the arc. Here were the stats:
9-17 Rudy Gay
9-21 Mike Miller
7-22 Juan Carlos Navarro
The Youtube Dunk of the Week: Brad Miller over Darko
Click this link, and then watch the youtube clip of Brad Miller flying down the lane to dunk on Darko. If I figure out how to embed the clip myself I may do that later.
Griz Week Ahead
Jerry West Draft Steal versus Jerry West Draft Steal
The Logo was able to snatch Kobe away from Charlotte in much the same way he snatched Rudy Gay from Houston. The Grizzlies have to face the Lakers for the 2nd time in less than a week. I hope to see Rudy nailing alot of these beautiful looking jump shots.
Two Superstars Stolen From Memphis During the Lottery Return
LeBron James and Kevin Durant, both of whom should have been in Beale Street Blue if not for lottery night disasters, bring their respective teams into the Forum next week. Will Memphis show up to watch them play?
Another Week and Probably Another Pau Gasol Trade Rumor Out of Chicago
As we near the trade deadline, the non-stop trade talk heats up. A ridiculous amount of players have already been mentioned. And I'm sure there will be more Pau Gasol rumblings coming from Chicago this week. And I'm sure the rumors will be total garbage and idle speculation. With news of Noah getting into trouble, the Sam Smith trade idea will probably be Nocioni, Noah, PJ Brown (Sam isn't aware yet that he is sitting at home unemployed), and the United Center lead janitor.
Tuesday vs Cleveland
Friday vs Seattle
Saturday @ Charlotte