Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The Grizzlies just wouldn't go away quietly tonight. They hung with the Suns for 46 minutes before finally succumbing to superior talent and chemistry.
Rudy Gay posted a new career high in points, tallying 36 on the night, as Mike Conley set a career mark with 11 assists. Nice to see the young cornerstones developing despite being mired in the middle of a lost season.
Phoenix is one of those teams that has the kind of guys that you always see on championship contenders. Steve Nash is sneaky good, capable of putting up big scoring numbers when you least expect it. Grant Hill is the crafty veteran that everyone tends to overlook despite the fact that he still has plenty left in the tank. Raja Bell.....I hate Raja Bell. I mean seriously, the guy starts the game 0-9 and then late in the 4th quarter he hits three straight 3's?!?! Who does that? Then we come to Amare Stoudemire. STAT was his usual force of nature self without ever having to demand the ball. He dunked again and again, making the Grizzlies his own personal poster playground. The Suns just a little too much for the Grizzlies to overcome tonight.
But, there were flashes of light throughout the game. Through a great stretch in the first half, Memphis played solid defense that resulted in quite a few stops and transition opportunities. They weren't able to convert all of them, but you could see that they understood that defense led to the easy looks, not mindless running.
A few quick looks at the notebook:
I write down that Mike Conley needs to be more assertive on offense after he is passive early in the 3rd quarter. He then proceeds to score on 2 of the next 3 possessions.
Kyle Lowry looks to create for himself first, instead of facillitating for his teammates. That won't work in a Phoenix-style offensive system.
Juan Carlos Navarro and Darko Milicic seem to have developed some good chemistry, as JCN found the young Serbian with some nifty passes tonight. Too bad Darko is still a little awkward and uncoordinated, as he fumbled a couple of them. Still, a solid game by the Dark One as he matched Shaq's production on the night.
Hakim Warrick looks comfortable on the floor now. Perhaps that is all it took for him to become the productive player we have enjoyed for the past few weeks.
The Grizzlies have no bench right now. Cardinal is capable of filling in (and not screwing up) and Kyle is a solid backup for Conley, but the rest of them are borderline worthless......and I'd still take any of them over Suns' rookie D.J. Strawberry, who looked worse than a D-League call-up tonight.
There were several positives to take out of this game, which was nice for a change. It was an entertaining game, even though it resulted in a loss.