LET'S BAG SOME BEARS!
Game Time Start: 1:00 PM ET
Where: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
Officials: T. Brothers, B. Adams, J. Williams
Media Notes: Indiana Notes, Memphis Notes
Television: ESPN / NBAC (Canada)
Radio: WFNI 1070 AM / WMFS 92.9 FM, 680 AM
NBA Feeds:*NBA Audio League Pass (available free to NBA All-Access members)
*NBA League Pass Broadband (subscription req'd)
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Season Records: (W-L) 25-16 Away: 9-13
26-13 Home: 15-5
Upcoming Games: Jan 23 Jan 26 Jan 28 Jan 30 at at at vs 10:00pm 9:00pm 9:00pm 7:00pm
Projected Starting Lineup: HIBBERT WEST GEORGE STEPHENSON HILL Projected Starting Lineup: GASOL SPEIGHTS GAY ALLEN CONLEY
Danny Granger - left knee tendinosis (out)
Lance Stephenson - sore right foot (day-to-day)
Quincy Pondexter - grade 2 eft MCL sprain (out)
Zach Randolph - strained lower back (day-to-day)
Perpetually Disappointing Trader Joe Minimally Relevant Video:
Straight Outta Vancouver: Kevin Lipe: Donít Panic. Or Maybe Do. But Probably Donít. Right?
Talking myself back from the ledge, given the Grizzlies' last three games. What's
eating the Memphis Grizzlies right now?
The Grizzlies, it would appear, are in a tailspin. They swept a West Coast road trip
with victories over the Suns, Warriors, and Kings, and then returned to Memphis for
an overtime victory over the Spurs.
Since then, well, things arenít going according to plan.
Iíve been just as shocked as you have by the last three games. In the whole of the
Lionel Hollins era, this has been a team that has made up for its (many) deficiencies
through sheer force of will and raw, oftentimes ugly, effort. This is a team that may
not be as talented as its opponent, but will fight, scratch, and claw every inch of the
way to a win. Itís supposed to be "All heart, grit, grind," right? Didnít we believe that?
Isn't that why Tony Allen is the Grizzlies' spirit animal?
Peter Edmiston, of Sports 56 in Memphis, said this last night:
So what do we do now, Grizzlies fans? What are we supposed to expect from this team
that started 12Ė2 and has been .500 ever since, and which appears to be flaming out
before our very eyes?
The Grizzlies appear to have found themselves at the center of a perfect storm. Since
the new ownership group took over at the beginning of the regular season, weíve seen
things go from awesome to okay to horrible. The team looks less like the world-beaters
we saw in November and more like the hurt-ZBo uglyball practitioners of last season,
when they were playing defense so well they only had to score 80-points to win.
The problem? Theyíre still only scoring 80-something points, but theyíre not doing
anything on defense. And theyíre not doing anything on offense either. Theyíre not
making shots. In Dallas, the Grizzliesí eFG% was .399, or 39.9%. At home against
the Clippers, it was 33.7%. The teamís raw FG% was 30.3%, which was the worst in
franchise history in a home game all the way back to 1995. In Vancouver. With Big
Country Reeves. Even they didnít shoot 30%. In San Antonio, same story: eFG%
Of course, in San Antonio, it didnít help that the Spursí eFG% as .638, and they
assisted on 75% of their baskets ó but that, too, shows you something about the
Grizzliesí defensive intensity. This is a team that thrives on turning other teams over.
They had a streak of 138 straight games where they forced their opponent into 10+
turnovers, and that streak ended in Dallas on Saturday.
Clearly something is going on. The team can no longer score ó something weíve
seen since December ó but now they appear to be incapable of (1) getting stops and
(2) being able to get the offense going again when they hit a wall. They seem to lack
the wherewithal to adjust their offensive gameplan on the fly ó but their effort, at
least to the uninformed eye, looks so weak that itís hard to tell whether to blame that
on coaching or on the players.
Offense has never been this teamís strong suit. So far this season theyíre 16th in the
league in offensive rating with a 104.2, but that number is certainly being boosted by
November, in which the Grizzlies were in the top 5 in both offense and defense. In the
last three games, the Grizzlies had an ORtg of 97.2, 87.5, and 94.1. Their defensive
rating for the season is 2nd out of all 30 teams at 100.5, but in the last three games,
it was 121.8, 118.6, and 118.2. So the offensive ratings have been well below season
average, and the defensive ratings have been far worse than the season average.
What happened to the Grizzliesí defense? Whatís going on?
When the new front office took over, it was obvious that things were going to change.
When they hired John Hollinger to be VP of Basketball Operations, it became even more
obvious that the team was going to be trying an analytics-based approach to team-
Thereís a slight...CONTINUE READING AT STRAIGHT OUTTA VANCOUVER
Ball Donít Lie Preview: Dan Devine: Zach Randolph Is Scared of Cats
During his 12-year NBA career, Zach Randolph has made it abundantly clear on a number
of occasions that he's not scared of anybody on the basketball court. The 6-foot-9, 260-
pound Memphis Grizzlies power forward has gone toe-to-toe with some of the league's
biggest and baddest dudes over the years, including, most recently, Oklahoma City
Thunder center Kendrick Perkins; their November clash resulted in ejections, a $25,000
fine for Randolph and one of the season's great quotes: Z-Bo telling Memphis radio host
Chris Vernon, "I'm good with these hands, man. I'm a jackin' dude." (There's also the off
-court and past stuff, which only bolster Z-Bo's never-scared bona fides.)
But as a wise man ó either Winston Churchill or Jim Carrey in "Me, Myself and Irene,"
not sure which ó once said, just because a man rocks doesn't mean he's made of
stone. As he's matured, Randolph has more frequently shown a softer side, engaging
in heartwarming charitable endeavors like donating $10,000 last summer to save a
pit bull that had been trapped for days in a Memphis drainpipe. Randolph's giving
actions and interactions with the rescued pit bull ó later named "Little Z-Bo," which
is the best ó will be featured Saturday on an episode of the Animal Planet reality
series "Pit Bulls and Parolees."
But as Randolph told ESPN Playbook's Sam Alipour in an interview pegged to the
episode's Jan. 11 premiere, his love for dogs (he owns several and acts as a
spokesperson for the Memphis Humane Society) doesn't extend to all furry, four-
legged creatures. Nor, it seems, does his fearlessness:
Like you, Iím a dog lover. On a possibly related note, I feel, in my
heart of hearts, that cats are evil. Feel me?
Naw, youíre right: You canít be both a dog lover and a cat lover. Iíve
got a crazy phobia about cats. For some reason, Iím always thinking
theyíre going to scratch me. If a cat walks up, Iím going, ďOh no, this
dude about to scratch me ó I know it!Ē Cats scare the hell out of me.
I love animals, but Iím no cat lover. Guys usually arenít.
Interesting. Then maybe you can help me out. My buddy, Mike
Garrett, an otherwise normal, single, young man, is very seriously
considering buying a cat. He wonít listen to me, so maybe heíll
listen to Z-Bo. Mikeís crazy, right?
Oh, man, tell him to buy a dog! [Laughs.] Yo, Iím serious, tell your
friend ó tell him right now: You donít need no cat, Mike. Buy a dog.
Yeah, Mike. Buy a dog. Zach Randolph said you should buy a dog, so you should
definitely buy a dog. Like, right now. Seriously, ask Ruben Patterson and Louis
Amundson what happens when you don't do what Zach Randolph wants you to do.
You should get this done as soon as possible. Do you need to borrow some money?
Just let me know, dude...CONTINUE READING AT BALL DON'T LIE