Well the post-Gasol era started the same way the Gasol era ended, with a team unable to figure out how to win a game that was in their grasp. The new look Grizzlies looked a lot like the old blowing a late lead by being outscored 12-2 down the stretch to lose by 5 pts to a Milwaukee team missing their top scorer and their hot shot rookie. Mike Miller looked good for three quarters including the fourth but this time disappeared in the 3rd when a halftime lead became a fourth quarter deficit. Rudy Gay couldn't take over the game because of his lack of ball handling skills and the team simply put up too many ugly shots down the stretch.
To make matters worse Pau Gasol scored 24 pts on 10-15 shooting and grabbed 12 boards in his Laker debut.
Darko Milicic looked decent at times in amassing his third straight double-double but his shot selection was highly suspect as was the play-calling that kept putting the ball in his hands. It seemed the plan was to make Darko an offensive threat and he is really is better focusing on defense and rebounding. The problem is that Memphis can't afford Darko to be an after thought offensively. The Grizzlies already attack in the half court set with 4 against 5 as Kyle Lowry is no threat at all. Throw in the fact that Juan Carlos Navarro is in a slump and the Grizz already have a hole at the 4 with no Gasol and it is easy to see why they have trouble scoring in crunch time.
The interior defense is still a problem so maybe that wasn't Pau's fault. They got killed on the boards so maybe that wasn't Pau's fault either. Basically the team looked exactly like they did with Pau only with one less weapon to score with. Still the trade is about the future not the present. Javaris Crittenton looked very promising if a bit raw in his 7 minutes and Kwame looked exactly like we were told he would look. Which means he looked like a player that will give us $9 million in cap space this summer.
The one bright spot was the weather had more to do with the poor attendance than the team.
-- Deadly tornadoes in the area limited the crowd size. The upper deck was closed off and those fans moved down.
-- Kwame Brown got a standing ovation when he first entered the game.
-- The refs were absolutely abysmal.
-- A fan got kicked out because of it.
-- Of course, we found a way to lose at the end.
-- The Griz do not defend the pick-and-roll correctly. At all. Even a bit. It's pathetic.
-- Javaris played SG, while Navarro played PG when on the court together. Probably temporary.
-- Navarro is better suited to be a SG, this game showed his struggles bringing the ball down the court effectively against pressure.
-- Best play of the game was a thunderous alley-oop from Kyle to Rudy.
-- The Bucks were depleted. There couldn't have been a less interesting game scheduled tonight.
-- I had a lot of fun at the game, despite the loss.
-- Rudy Gay is awesome.
-- I'm encouraged about what I'm seeing from Darko with Pau gone.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008