Friday, March 26, 2010

Memphis Grizzlies vs Golden State

I don't have the heart or the energy to write an extensive recap of the Grizzlies game against the Warriors, so I'll just post this random collection of thoughts, pictures, and videos:

  • It was really great to be sitting on the 6th row, cheering for the Grizzlies, wearing Grizzlies gear, while the team gave up a franchise record 78 points in the first half to one of the 5 worst teams in the league. Thanks guys.
  • I enjoyed the banter from the gentlemen next to me who were eventually escorted out by security when they attempted to enter the Warriors locker room in the 4th. By the 3rd quarter, I was feeding them ammunition for their jeers like "Graceland is in Memphis." That led to: "Hey Gay, Why don't you go to Graceland?"
  • Next time the Grizzlies decide to draft a shot blocking specialist, they should check to see if he can jump more than once in succession.
FYI, in case the Warriors call you about season tickets, you can get Row 6 seats for $50 each on Craigslist. I talked Craig down from $60. Warning: It's embarrassing to pay $50 for tickets and cheer for the other team, when the Warriors destroy them.

The Warriors in full tank-a-polooza mode started Anthony Tolliver and Chris Hunter. Guess which one they drafted #2 overall.

Rudy Gay can shoot free throws, but he didn't seem too bothered by the massacre on the court. Maybe he's just used to it?

In an attempt to turn things around for the Grizz, I gave my lucky hat to Evan. It didn't work.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Success in Sacramento

The Grizzlies rewarded my 1.5 hour drive to Sacramento with a 102-85 win at Arco Arena.

The trip was almost a disaster: For those looking to tailgate in the Arco Arena parking lot, Beware. The Papa John's closest to Arco (Blue Marker) is not located West of Interstate 5 (Red Marker) as Google Maps would have you believe. On the contrary, Papa John's is located East of 5 as shown by the Green Marker.

View Papa John's Near Arco in a larger map

After a few phone calls, My GF, Jen, and I located PJs, picked up my medium half-sausage (for me), half-pineapple (for Jen), and headed to the Arco Parking Lot.

The first thing I noticed was that, despite their team's terrible performance, the threat of relocation, and the fact that their best player was recently shipped out for loose change, Kings fans have spirit. More fans were decked out in team gear than at Memphis or Oakland home games. I hope the citizens of Seattle feel bad when Kings move to Washington.

I was the only person wearing an Iverson jersey and a stuffed bear hat, and Jen was one of two people wearing a Rudy Gay jersey. I did see one other guy wearing a Vancouver jersey, but he was wearing an unbuttoned Kings shirt over it.

The second thing I noticed was that it's really obvious why the Kings want a new arena. The arena feels half the size of Oracle or the FedEx Forum, and there might be a third the number of luxury boxes. It's gotten so bad at Arco, that this was their half-time show:

On the way inside, a season ticket holder who had been given courtside seats for the game offered to sell me his seats in Row E for $10 each. That was an upgrade over Row W, so this was our view:

Our premium vantage point meant Jen was more engaged than usual. As a result, she chose Gay, Zach Randolph, and Hasheem Thabeet as her favorite players. (On Thabeet: "The way he walks around the court like he doesn't know what he's doing is endearing.") Her least favorites were Hamed Haddadi (He had a rough game.) and Marcus Williams (I think she's biased because he blocked me on Twitter.)

Jen was also an OJ Mayo fan after he dominated four straight possessions in the 4th to seal the game. He scored 10 straight, including 2 three pointers, and made it look easy. Mayo, Z-Bo, Gay, and even Thabeet made it look easy at times. There's nothing I enjoy watching more than Thabeet dunks, blocks, or made free throws. For example:

When you observe Thabeet's game from about 10 yards away, you realize that the limitations of his game really are experience and effort. There were at least three occasions where Beno Udrih pulled up for a 10 foot jump shot in the lane, Thabeet looked close enough to contest, but he either didn't attempt to contest or he didn't affect the shot. I don't know whether it's conditioning, a learning curve, confidence, or being coached to play conservatively. But for Thabeet to be a success, he's going to have to play with more energy than this.

Rudy Gay's athleticism also stands out. His inside game has vastly improved since last season. He gets to the rim, and finishes. Why the Grizzlies rarely run set plays that get Rudy the ball near the basket, I'll never know. He's the most dynamic scorer on the team, and he dribbles up to his neck. Why should dribbling through traffic be his best move? Teach him to move without the ball, and get the ball to him in the post with Z-Bo on the weak side. Is that too much to ask?

This is the first time in 5 years in the Bay Area that I've felt it was worthwhile to drive to Sacramento to see the Grizzlies, and I'm glad I did. If they improve next season, I'll be back. Hopefully my trip across the Bay to Oakland Wednesday will be just as good. Look for a post game report later this week.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Back and Off to Sacto

Has it been almost a month since my last post? First, please accept my apologies.

Since my last post, Thabeet ventured to and from the D-League, the Grizzlies' hopes for making the playoffs fizzled out, Brewer returned from injury, and Heisley conducted interviews with 3sob and Ron Tillery.

What have I been doing? First, I went to Vegas, where I vaguely recall betting on the Grizzlies Bobcats 1st half and final scores. I lost $20 on each. Then, I bet $50 more dollars on the Grizzlies Knicks 1st half and final scores as well as the under. I won the lines, but lost the under. (Thanks Curt & John for advising to take the under!)

It was touch-and-go at times, but thankfully the Grizzlies did not play me out of house and home.

Of course, I spent the next week or so in a haze, recovering from my hangover. Since then, I spent time entertaining college friends, Claude and Atrain, in the Bay Area, saw Obsessed, starring Beyonce and Stringer Bell, visited Portland with my girlfriend, and watched this video about 300 times:

Hit replay. Now do it again, and tell me you can't see this playing as the Grizzlies perform lay-up drills before games. What would it take for the marketing guys in Memphis to try this out? Someone please let me know.

The good news is that it's time to get back to blogging. Monday, I head to Sacramento to see the Grizzlies face the Kings without future Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans. (I'll give you a hint: Tyreke was not assigned to the D-League.) On Wednesday, I travel with the team back to Oakland, where I'll have the chance to assess whether the Grizzlies have improved since I saw them lose in Oracle arena on November 4th.

I hope to get my post game thoughts on both games up this week. Later on, I hope to put together thoughts on Heisley's public comments and the Rudy Gay conundrum. In the meantime, please do look for me on TV. I'll be one of the fans wearing an Iverson Grizzlies jersey and a plush stuffed grizzly bear hat.