Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What Happens At Halftime?

I teased in one post-game commentary that Iavaroni must have had a stirring halftime speech because the Grizzlies came out and played uninspired ball after intermission and proceeded to lose a game they could have won against a team they were competing with for ping-pong balls.

I was only kidding at the time.

Now I wonder just how kidding that comment was. Against Denver, a team that should beat the Grizzlies as they are competing for the playoffs instead of ping-pong balls and have four players on their roster that have played in All-Star games, Memphis worked the entire first half to gain a 6 pt lead at the break. It took the team 2 minutes and 22 seconds to fall behind. Not two minutes and 22 seconds to be tied. Two minutes and 22 seconds to be losing! It only took two minutes and 4 seconds to be tied.

I was told lightning doesn't strike the same place twice but no one said anything about three times! Against the New York Knicks, a team that Memphis is also competing with for ping-pong balls, Memphis had a 19 point lead at halftime. The Knicks scored 18 consecutive points to open the 3rd quarter to pull within 1 pt at the 7:50 mark. That is 4 minutes and 10 seconds to score 18 unanswered points. Against Minnesota The Grizzlies had an 18 points lead heading into the break. It took the Grizzlies all of 7 minutes and 41 seconds to lose those 18 points.

This is not a good trend.

So one has to ask, what the heck is happening at halftime to cause these severe point swings? In the last 5 games the Grizzlies have lost halftime leads of 6, 19 and 18 points. In only one of those games did the Grizzlies hang on to win the game. What is strange is that the Grizzlies won the two games where they trailed at halftime so you have to think this isn't a physical problem like conditioning or anything. The Grizzlies just seem unable to finish games when they have the lead. Or more aptly, the Grizzlies can't handle teams pressure coming out of intermission when they are ahead.

Is Iavaroni just being out coached? Is the team deliberately trying to lose games and figure if they only try for half the game they should succeed? Are they just too young to realize the commitment needed to win two successive halves of a game?

The logical reason is inexperience. Conley is a rookie, Navarro is an NBA rookie, Rudy Gay is in his 2nd season, Hakim is starting for the first time in his career, Darko is as well and at 22 is hardly the old man he seems to be and Miller - Well Mike has never been a pressure player to put it mildly. So is it just that the team doesn't know how to win or what?

Do the Grizzlies focus more when they are behind than when they are ahead? What happens behind the locker room door?

I don't know but I am going to try and find out. In the meantime, I would appreciate any comments Grizz fans have on the subject.

BallHype: hype it up!

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