Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Grizzlies Win Two Straight

With the holiday season upon us, and an unsuspected illness, I've been slow to post. That doesn't mean I haven't been keeping tabs on the Grizzlies.

I saw the Grizzlies live at the Fedex forum defeat a depleted Washington Wizards while home for Thanksgiving, and watched the Grizzlies win in an impressive victory against the veteran New Jersey Nets.

Picture from the Fedex Forum:

I expected the Grizzlies to beat the Wizards. The Wizards were without Gilbert Arenas, and I couldn't name any players on the Wizards bench.

The Grizzlies looked great in stretches, and they just had too many weapons for the Wizards. However, they also had lapses. The Grizzlies haven't developed that cut-throat mentality yet, and as a result they allowed Antwan Jamison to score 41 points, and gave Caron Butler some open threes down the stretch.

The Grizzlies made up for it on the road in a game they controlled against the Nets. They led almost the entire game, and when the Nets made their inevitable charge, the Grizzlies showed poise.

Their were still stretches where the Grizzlies let their guard down on defense, but overall they did a better job of compensating instead of sulking.

Kyle Lowry and Juan Carlos Navarro are as good as advertised, and Rudy Gay it looking better everyday despite fouling out against the Nets.

I'm looking forward to the next 5 games as the Grizzlies' schedule lightens up.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Grizzlies Continue Streak of Almost Winning

I watched both the Mavericks and and the Hornets games this weekend.

The Grizzlies kept the game close during both games against much superior teams. The end of the fourth quarter against the Hornets was one of the most entertaining I've seen.

The Grizzlies hit 4 straight three pointers to send the game to overtime, after the Hornets made 100% of their foul shots during the same stretch. Juan Carlos Navarro and Rudy Gay were clutch.

Navarro hit 8 of 9 from 3 during the game and Gay hit the last two threes. However, the Grizzlies just can't manage to finish games. They give themselves a chance. (Navarro had two open threes to tie the game against Dallas before the buzzer sounded.)

The same problems remain: rebounding and interior defense. Chris Paul and Devin Harris easily penetrated the lane, and big men for both the Hornets and Mavericks easily scored around the rim. David West was on fire from 17 feet, and the Grizzlies could not adjust.

The Grizzlies do look better, both more talented and more determined, than last season. However, this season is quickly becoming another lottery dud. All the excitement that was built during the offseason is quickly dwindling as growing pains have slowed quick results. It won't be long before this blog starts speculating about next July.

So what should the Grizzlies' do? They definitely have a nice squad in place, and it seems like Coach Iavaroni is resonating with the players.

There are a few options:

  • Make a Trade
The Grizzlies could go two routes here. Trade Pau Gasol and shake up the entire team, or trade a few complementary players who don't seem to be fitting into the rotation. Stoudamire, Warrick, and Cardinal come to mind. I would prefer the latter strategy.
  • Wait and See
The Grizzlies a young but have nice pieces. The question remains: will winning (rebounding and playing defense as a team) click after the chemistry develops or is there a missing element that needs to be brought in from the outside?

Vote for which strategy you think the Grizzlies should pursue in the sidebar of this blog.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Grizzlies Lose to Bucks

I just finished watching the Grizzlies loss to the Bucks.

The Grizzlies looked good during stretches. Rudy Gay is still impressive on the offensive end. Both he and Darko Milicic had some solid defensive blocks in the beginning. Milicic was active around the boards too.

I like that Gay and Miller attacked the basket and got to the free throw line. All the Grizzlies shot well from the free throw line, which is a welcome change.

Mike Conley, Damon Stoudemire, and Kyle Lowry each had some impressive stretches. However, none of them were consistently good enough. Miller missed a ton of open threes.

The Grizzlies number one problem was that they didn't go back to Gasol soon enough. Gasol sat for a significant part of the fourth, and even when he was in the game, the Grizzlies didn't give him touches in the post. Marc Iavaroni must demand that the Grizzlies establish Gasol late in the game to open up the shooters. Iavaroni also needs to stick to a shorter rotation so Gasol and Milicic can spend more time on the court.

Also, rebounding and defensive lapses as usual bit the Grizzlies in that ass, and Navarro seems to have left his game in the preseason.

Grizzlies Still Inconsistent After Two Weeks

The Grizzlies had a big win last night over Houston. Thanks to problems with my Comcast service, I only saw the last 8 minutes. During that time, the Grizzlies maintained poise while the Rockets attempted a comeback.

Rudy Gay and Pau Gasol both were aggressive, attacking the basket, and both hit their free throws to give the Grizzlies the win. Darko made some clutch defensive plays, blocking Yao Ming and challenging a Tracy McGrady jumper from the top of the key.

This Grizzlies team looked much better than last year's. They also looked better than last weekend. The Grizzlies had a tough early schedule, but they didn't look good in a game against the terrible Trailblazers.

Hopefully, they'll maintain the momentum tonight when they play a beatable Bucks team.

The biggest disappointment so far in my mind has been the bench. Swift, Navarro, Warrick, Jacobson, and Conley haven't provided much consistent play. Luckily, Rudy Gay is developing into a star.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Pictures From the Grizzlies Opening Night Vs the Spurs

The Grizzlies maintained their opening game losing streak against the World Champion Spurs on Halloween.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see the game, but I like what I heard from friends and saw from the box score.

My buddy Curt was nice enough to provide some photos. Check em out below. If you attended or watched the game, post a comment with your thoughts.

If you have additional pictures, email me at david@davidlovesthegrizzlies.com.