FanPost

25. Lottery Bound: The View from Memphis

Snips and clips from the Memphis camp, plus:

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  • Free Association: Racist Greed head Heckles Fat Gunner
  • The Billy Hunter Podcast
  • Haiku Game Review
  • Fried Rice
  • Blazers/Grizzlies Recap
  • Popcorn Machine + TBJ

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(1)

Amazing D

posted by MayoisMemphis to RealGM Grizzlies message board.

The Vasquez/Mayo/Allen lineup played amazing defense, that should be the set every game.

 

(2)

Sorting Out the Problems

posted by Mid-Post to RealGM Grizzlies message board

[Vasques, Mayo, and Allen] played great. ZBo had a pretty nice game too.

Marc and Rudy played like butt. Rudy especially though.

These past few games it looks like maybe Memphis has sorted out a few of their problems winning games that they should.

 

(3)

Grizzlies Beat Blazers Behind Randolph's Double-Double

AP early report in the Memphis Commercial Appeal

Zach Randolph had 25 points and 20 rebounds to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to their third straight win, 86-73 over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.

The victory snapped an eight-game winning streak for Portland in Memphis. The Grizzlies hadn't won a home game in the series in almost five years.

Rudy Gay added 16 points, reserve O.J. Mayo had 14 and Mike Conley 11 for the Grizzlies.

Wesley Matthews led the Trail Blazers with 18 points, while Andre Miller had 14 points and nine assists. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 13 points for Portland, which lost its second straight after a four-game winning streak. * * *

 

(4)

Memphis Grizzlies Take Down Blazers! YAY!

by Matthew Noe, Three Shades of Blue (TrueHoop)

* * *
The adjustments that the Griz made tonight actually made a difference. Funny how "sticking with the gameplan" seems to be such a mantra until one discovers that adjusting makes all the difference when what yer doin' ain't workin'.

This game was a first half, then two totally separate games in the second half. One had to figure that the Blazers probably only had a couple good punches in them after yesterday's game, and punch they did in 3Q. * * *

Read the boxscore. It's lovely. Holding anyone under 40% is great for the Griz, and the league-leading TO's forced stat will not suffer tonight.

Return to 89-85 wins a la Fratball? I'm in. I love defense and I love when the Grizzlies win.

 

(5)

Postgame Summary, November 20, 2010: Grizzlies defeat Blazers, 86-73

Grizzlies.com official web site

* * *
MEM won their third game in-a-row, tying their longest win streak of the season (Nov. 20-26). *  *  *

MEM forced 18 turnovers while coughing it up 14 times, leading to a 21-7 points off turnovers advantage... At halftime, MEM outscored POR in the category 14-0, forcing 11 turnovers while committing just five.

MEM held POR to .367 shooting (29-of-79 FG), including just .211 (4-of-19 FG) in the fourth quarter. *  *  *

Stat of the Night: MEM held POR to an opponents' season-low 73 points, the fewest points MEM have allowed since holding the TOR to 70 in a 78-70 home win on Feb. 7, 2009.

Key Run of the Night: After a season-low 12 points in the third quarter, the MEM responded with a 15-2 run to start the fourth quarter to give them a 76-66 lead with 7:04 remaining in the game...MEM won the quarter by a 25-9 margin, holding POR to an opponents' quarter-low nine points.

 

(6)

Link to Memphis Coach Lionel Hollins' Post-Game Press Conference  [VIDEO]

Grizzlies.com official web site

Running time: about 5 minutes.

 

(7)

Grizzlies Win Without Needing Rescue from Gay

by Dan Wolken, Memphis Commercial Appeal

Every time the season has threatened to slip away, Rudy Gay has been there, knocking down shots in the face of LeBron James, beating buzzers in Phoenix and generally living up to an $84million contract that just a few months ago made him seem like the poster child for NBA excess.

But when the fourth quarter began Monday, with the Grizzlies trailing by three in a big-now-but-could-be-bigger-in-April moment against another Western Conference playoff contender, Gay was not there, and it surprised him — so much so that he actually got up off the bench to check in, unaware that coach Lionel Hollins had already sent out five other players.

Dragging his teammates into the postseason, however, should not always be a 40-minute-per-night job. And as the fourth quarter wound down in Monday's 86-73 victory over the Trail Blazers, with the Grizzlies not just surviving but burying Portland without him, it was perhaps the first sign that this three-game winning streak might not go the way of the last one.

"I'd love to be on the court," Gay said. "But to be honest, we need those kinds of nights." * * *

 

 

The Bottom Line:

1. Nice to see our Grizzlies pull it together in the 4th Quarter for the win.

2. After a puzzling and disappointing lull this season, this team is headed up the standings again.

3. Playoffs are not out of the question. The Blue Bears have the talent, they just need to play like a team...

 

 

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Racist Greedhead Owner Heckles Star Player as "Out of Shape" Gunner

Sometimes the planets align, that's all you can say...

According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, my least favorite owner in the NBA, Donald Sterling of the San Diego Clippers of Los Angeles, has taken to heckling my least favorite player in the NBA, gunner Point Guard Baron von Klank Davis of the San Diego Clippers of Los Angeles, from his courtside seats.

Seriously, The Onion Sports Network couldn't write a scenario quite this funny, even though they've tried...

The insanely bad play of the Clippers, the first team in the NBA to 20 losses this season, apparently have driven their owner to begin casting verbal barbs at his own star player — a man to whom he still owes $41.7 Million for the next three seasons.

Give the idiot Sterling his due, he's at least asking rational questions of The Beard, such as "WHY ARE YOU IN THE GAME?" and 'WHY DID YOU TAKE THAT SHOT?!?" Sterling is also said to reminded the pleasingly plump Baron von Klank, "YOU'RE OUT OF SHAPE!"

Hmmm, ever hear of a hostile workplace environment, anyone?

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You'd think Donald Sterling, of all people, would be a little sensitive to a potential harassment lawsuit filed by one of his employees. It was Sterling, after all, who according to ESPN paid a record $2.725 Million to settle a federal lawsuit in 2009 regarding violations of the civil rights of ethnic minority renters of apartment buildings which he owned. According to the ESPN report, the complaint was filed against Sterling for having systematically harassed, threatened, and evicted minority tenants.

In conjunction with a previous civil rights suit, filed in 2003 and confidentially settled in 2005, Sterling was quoted as telling one property manager that the building had an odor because "all the blacks in this building, they smell, they're not clean. And it's because of all of the Mexicans that just sit around and smoke and drink all day."

Nice guy.

Since Sterling settled his civil rights complaints without a formal admission of guilt, the NBA declined to take action against one of their own, it was reported by YahooSports's Dan Wetzel back in November 2009.

Baron Davis, a decent enough guy off the court although a catastrophe on it, took the high road when asked for comment about the boorish behavior of the cretinous Clipper chief.

"I have no comment on that," Davis said. "You just get to this point where it's a fight every day. It's a fight. You're fighting unnecessary battles. I'm fighting unnecessary battles."

According to Yahoo's Stern, Davis is not the first Clipper player to have been subjected to the boss's wrath on the floor, with earlier targets including current Center Chris Kaman and former employees Bobby Brown and Mardy Collins. Sterling's MO seems to be to make his catty comments during stoppages in action when players are within earshot or when Free Throws are being attempted.

In his report Marc Stern cites an unnamed "team source" who indicated that Sterling "started getting a lot more vocal" at games during the second half of last season, making Baron von Klank into "his pet project" as a courtside heckler.

"He absolutely hates Baron," the source is quoted as saying, "[Sterling] wants to get his money back."

A lot of unfortunate Clipper season ticket holders feel the same way about Donald Sterling, I'm sure...

 

*   *   *

 

National Basketball Players Association States Position in Negotiations

Executive Secretary Billy Hunter of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) — the NBA players' union — has recently stated the union's opening position in discussions over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the owners' oligopoly, the NBA.

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The position was detailed in a confidential podcast sent out to union members during the first week of December. Unsurprisingly, contents of the podcast immediately leaked to members of the press.

Hunter indicated that while the owners are seeking a comprehensive overhaul of the NBA's revenue split and compensation system, the NBPA would be seeking only minor modifications of the agreement.

According to a report in the New York Times, the NBPA is seeking changes in league revenue sharing to reduce the income disparity between large and small market franchises.

The union also wants to relax the salary-matching requirements mandated of teams above the salary cap limit, roughly doubling the current standard that salaries must match within 125% to a new benchmark of 250%. Such a change would make it easier to construct trades, facilitating player movement.

The NBPA also wants to eliminate the current Base Year Compensation rule which makes it difficult to trade players after they receive lucrative new contract extensions, the Times report indicates.

The union also wants to reduce the minimum age for players from 19 to 18, thereby expanding the number of years in which they might earn an NBA contract and getting players in their prime out from under exploitative Rookie Scale contracts sooner. It also seeks to introduce a second Mid-Level Exception to the salary cap limit, eliminating the Bi-Annual Exception with a more lucrative annual Free Agent slot.

With regard to Free Agency, the Times reports the NBPA seeks to weaken Restricted Free Agency by boosting the size of contractually mandated Qualifying Offers for teams to retain matching rights — making it less onerous for 5th year players to accept the QO and to become Unrestricted Free Agents in their 6th year — and to further reduce the time teams have to match offer sheets from the current one week to make matching more difficult.

The players also seek enhanced pension benefits and the ability to appeal game fines and penalties to an independent arbitrator rather than making the league office judge, jury, and executioner for fines and suspensions of less than 12 games, as is specified in the current CBA.

Some background information.

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The NBA has been subject to two previous lockouts by the owners — a three month summertime dispute in 1995 which did not affect league play and a bitter battle which began on July 1, 1998 and terminated on January 20, 1999. The latter conflict resulted in a severely truncated season, in which teams played just 50 regular season games instead of the scheduled 82 and caused the cancellation of the 1998-99 NBA All Star Game.

The 1998-99 stoppage was widely viewed as a victory for the owners, in which a January 7 deadline for settlement set by David Stern to avert cancellation of the season caused a fissure in union ranks. The resulting agreement mandated the league's first rookie pay scale and capped veteran salaries between $9 and $14 Million, depending on years of league service and a further limitation of annual raises.

Attendance at games in the truncated system declined by a manageable 2.2%, with ticket sales dropping another 2% the following season.

Both sides sought to avoid a similar stoppage when that agreement ran out in 2005, with a new six-year CBA signed in June of that year. It is this deal which the NBA owners seem virtually certain to challenge with a new lockout in the summer of 2011.

President of the NBPA is Los Angeles Lakers PG Derek Fisher and Secretary-Treasurer is former Trail Blazer James Jones, now a member of the Miami Heat. Vice Presidents include Kenyon Dooling, Etan Thomas, Chris Paul, Theo Ratliff, Maurice Evans, and Roger Mason.

The NBPA representative on the Blazers, following the departure of Jeff Pendergraph, is Center Marcus Camby.

Analysis.

While the NBA owners are transparent in their desire to roll back existing contracts and reduce the players' share of the league's revenue, the NBPA is more subtle in its objective of enhancing player salaries. The combination of its objectives: stopping implementation of a hard salary cap, equalizing the revenue streams of the various teams, and making it easier to execute trades would seem to have a modestly inflationary impact upon player salaries. Weak sisters would be better able to compete with the Lakers and the Celtics of the world in the Free Agent market, thereby thereby bidding up prices.

The union seems to be reasonably satisfied with the current system, which transfers wealth to veteran players signing second and third contracts at the expense of rookies signing artificially low first contracts mandated by the CBA. This system effectively limits the number of Unrestricted Free Agents in any given year, thereby raising the average salaries of those players entering the market substantially. The 5 year/$35 Million deal signed by Free Agent Travis Outlaw, just as one example, demonstrates the disparity of what even average veteran players can receive on the relatively free Free Agent market compared to the much lower compensation rates mandated by CBA-determined rates for first contracts.

Introduction of a second Mid-Level Exception would greatly inflate player prices by making it much easier for teams to undermine the league's soft salary cap in chasing Free Agent talent. The enhanced ability of teams over the salary cap to pursue the very limited number of Free Agents in a given year would be expected to drive their price skywards. It would seem to be very unlikely that owners would agree to any such change.

The current Collective Bargaining Agreement serves veteran players well and the NBPA seems to be playing defense in this current contract negotiation, attempting to preserve the established system from an aggressive effort by ownership to fundamentally reshape the nature of the revenue split.


*   *   *

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Brandon Roy is dinged

But Rudy and Nic Batum

What is their excuse?

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Here's some more bent lines from our hero, Uncle Mike...

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How's the game, Mike Barrett?

"If you have youngsters at home, cover their eyes..."

 

Say what? Halfway through the 2nd Quarter, Memphis 34, Portland 31...

Rice: The game is more uptempo than any Portland game we've seen lately."

 

Rice needs to start Christmas shopping. MB asks him if he uses the internet...

"I should be but I don't trust on-line shopping... You hear one story and that ruins it. I'm a hands-on guy."

 

Play-by-play man Mike Barrett, baiting Rice into slagging off on Zbo...

Rice: "Zach still trying to get his big extension on his contract."

MB: "Are you saying that he has spent all the money from his old one. Is that what you're saying?"

Rice (chuckles): "There's a good chance that that might be..."

 

Zach Randolph gets poked in the eye. Rice thinks he's faking...

"Look at Zach, he looks like he got hit with a stick... Look at that — that's soccer!"

 

 

 

Game 25.

Blazers 73 at Grizzlies 86.

December 13, 2010.

Blazers' record is now 12-13, the Grizzlies are 11-14.

I'm gonna do this one Cowboy Style tonight — a bottle of whiskey and nothing but bullets, baby...

  • Memphis has a first-rate facility and 12th-rate fans. If there is an emptier arena in America, I don't want to see it. There is better attendance at the Las Vegas Summer League.
  • MB repeats the tired myth that the Grizzlies "gave" Pau Gasol to the Lakers. No, they exchanged his massive contract for rights to his thoroughly sufficient and far more economical brother. And the Lakers have since chosen to roll the dice big-big-big on Pau, essentially mortgaging their future on his continued health, putting themselves deep into Luxury Tax Land forever... There was no "gift" about either the transaction or Pau's continued presence on that team.
  • The Grizzlies are starting Xavier Henry over O.J. Mayo? God, if there's actually one franchise more idiotic than the Clippers, it's the Grizz.
  • At the first commercial break it was Memphis over Portland by one point, 9 to 8. Two offensive juggernauts locking horns...
  • Refs called a phantom 2nd foul on Brandon going against Gasol for a rebound and he had to go to the bench. Somehow, I don't mind.
  • MB: "Right now Portland getting outworked by Memphis, it's as simple as that." Grizzlies 17, Blazers 10. This team really does suck, you know...
  • Grizzlies an 8-0 run and a time out by Portland with 3:15 on the clock. If there were a crowd, it would have been cheering... Memphis plays 41 games on the road each year and 41 at a neutral site.
  • Out of the timeout Nate calls a play for Patty Mills, who hits a corner trey. Mind blown.
  • Nic takes an open corner 3 while "playing the Portland" and bricks it. Is there anything that he CAN do at this point?
  • MB floats rumor that Zbo and OJ Mayo may be on the trade block. I will take Mayo, thank you very much.
  • Przybilla looks really slow. I'm starting to wonder whether he's finished.
  • END OF THE FIRST QUARTER: MEM 23, PDX 18.
  • The last two games the Blazer bench is 11-for-41 shooting (26.8%).
  • Portland enjoys turning the ball over, I'm quite sure of it.
  • One good thing about OJ Mayo off the bench for the Grizz is they've got somebody that knows what to do with the ball on their second unit. At the first commercial break of the 2nd Quarter, Memphis had extended its lead to 11, powered by a 12-3 run.
  • Coming out of commercial Brandon Roy was back on the floor, ostensibly as the Small Forward, Rudy playing the 2.
  • Marcus Camby is a master of the tip rebound.
  • Marcus Camby has a goofball jumpshooting form.
  • Brandon Roy — selling Ford trucks with a built-in stair step in the tailgate for people who can't jump.
  • At the midway point of the quarter, two Andre Miller Free Throws cut the Memphis lead to 3. Blazers on a 12-4 run.
  • LMA is, ooooooh, just a little bit quicker up and down the floor than Zach Randolph. Sort of like a drag race between a tricked-out riceburner and a Volkswagen microbus full of sumo wrestlers.
  • Camby touch-passes to Sean Marks, running the floor on a Portland fast break. Marks ducks. Turnover Blazers!
  • Roy turns it over for Portland's 11th time in the half. OJ Mayo has a few seconds and lands a 3 point bomb at the buzzer to stretch the Memphis lead back to 7.
  • HALFTIME SCORE: MEM 49, PDX 42.

HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT: Big Hello "Today Will Be Yesterday Tomorrow"

  • LMA with a quick 4th foul and off he goes to the bench, damning the Blazers' hopes of a comeback. Dante Cunningham on Zach Randolph down low?!?  Gooooooooood luck!
  • Dante gets picked by Conley. Dante fouls Conley. That's three fouls on him.
  • Portland shooting 46%, Memphis 43%, but the Blazers' 7 fewer Free Throws and 5 more turnovers were decisive.
  • First "AAAAAAAY!!!" whiney squeal in the last two games at the 7:36 mark of the 3rd Quarter, when Brandon gets his first field goal of the game. AND ONE.
  • Blazers come all the way back lead shortly thereafter on a cut to the hoop by Wesley. It's a 9-0 Portland run to get them there.
  • It doesn't take long for that short-lived excitement to go away, with OJ Mayo once again dropping a trey on the Blazers' head as the 3rd Quarter moves to its scheduled TV timeout with Memphis back on top by 3.
  • The shallow Blazers keep with their same lineup, Nate knowing full well that neither Rudy or Nic could hit a refrigerator with a bowling ball.
  • Marcus Camby kept Portland in the game with his rebounding, picking up his 14th with just over 3 minutes remaining in the quarter. An amazing 8 of those were offensive boards...
  • Cunningham can't shoot so hot lately, but hustle makes up for lots of stuff.
  • Pryz in to relieve Camby inside of 2 minutes. In his first stint, which lasted 3:48, Pryz was Minus-5 in Plus/Minus.
  • Sean Marks and Joel Przybilla double-teamed Rudy Gay's last shot of the quarter from the corner as the buzzer sounded. I'll bet we never see that super weird coverage again...
  • Nice quarter for the Blazers, who were +9 in the period. Memphis had a mega-fail offensive quarter, with only 12 points scored. THIRD QUARTER SCORE: PDX 64, MEM 61.
  • An uncalled foul on Pryz against Gasol is recorded as a block, putting him into 5th place all time on the Blazer blocks leaders list.
  • Portland predictably went into FAIL mode in 4th Quarter, with the Grizz putting on a 8-0 run to take the lead. Turnovers, really bad shooting (¡Hola, Rudolfo!), and lack of hustle will do that to ya.
  • Rice: "Zach has really been big in this 4th Quarter." Zach is always really big, Coach...
  • Andre with a dangerous flagrant UFC armbar takedown of Memphis rookie Greivis Vasquez. The play is called a double foul. Hmmmm.
  • Vasquez answers Andre with a 3 ball and claps in his face. I don't know if I'd be messing with the man from Compton if I were you, youngster...
  • I would rather watch Wesley Matthews than Brandon Roy. Cut to commercial, Brandon selling us another Ford pickup.
  • After 7 minutes, it was a 18 to 4 Memphis run to open the 4th Quarter. Nice. Don't just be bad, Blazers, be EXCEPTIONALLY bad... There's no glory in mediocrity, be MEMORABLE.
  • Oh, crap, I forgot to drink whiskey.
  • Last 3 minutes and the Grizz were up 21 to 7 in the 4th Quarter. 
  • Rudy receives a pass for an open catch-and-shoot 3. He passes the ball. Nate goes berserk, 'SHOOT THE BALL!"
  • Rudy takes the next open catch-and-shoot 3. He narrowly misses firing an airball, catching the front of the rim.
  • MB and Rice sing the praises of Zach Randolph as a nice human being, despite his off-court escapades.
  • Portland with NINE, yes NINE points in the 4th Quarter... A NEW LOW!!! BLAZERS ROCK!!!
  • First Blazer loss in Memphis since 2005.
  • Lottery bound! 
  • FINAL SCORE: MIGHTY MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES 87, PORTLAND FAIL BLAZERS 73.

 

 


Let's take at this thang graphically, shall we?

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Okay, here's the latest does of Popcorn Machine profundity... You know the drill: CLICK THE LINK to see the graphs...

A. Wesley Matthews, team high — AGAIN — with 18 points on 8-for-15 shooting. He was actually even better than that, shooting 6-for-9 inside the arc and 2-for-6 (effectively 50%) from downtown. By way of contrast The All Star was 3-for-16 from the field for 7 big points.

B. Zach Randolph: 25 points, 20 rebounds. Those are All Star numbers.

C. Well, that was quite a 4th Quarter disaster, eh? The sad thing is the Mighty Grizzlies think it was their All Universe Defense that held the hapless Blazers to just 9 points in the 4th Quarter.

D. Maybe Rudy and Nic are trying to play their way into Europe, aware that the NBA season will be going down the toilet next year and stuck underneath artificially deflated rookie contracts. Wacky conspiracy theory, I know, but dig it: Nic, ZERO points scored and Minus-11 in Plus/Minus in less than 9 minutes of action; Rudy just 4 points on 1-for-7 shooting and Minus-6 in less than 15 minutes on the floor. Sucktastic!

 

Finally, let's gather round for another installment of THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD, eh?

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The Basketball Jones is a NBA blog and video/audio podcast, written and recorded five times a week by J.E. Skeets, Tas Melas, Jason Doyle  and Matt Osten. Assume that there will be a couple Not Suitable For Work words used in any given episode.



Free Association Sources: 

Donald Sterling: Marc J. Spears, "Shout It Out: Sterling Heckles Davis," YahooSports.com, Dec. 13, 2010. Jemele Hill, "Stern's Silence on Sterling Says a Lot," ESPN.com Page 2, Nov. 5, 2009. Dan Wetzel, "Sterling Suit Seems to Fit NBA Fine," YahooSports.com, Nov. 5, 2009.

Lockout: Howard Beck, "Union Plan Shows Gulf in NBA Labor Talks," New York Times, Dec. 9, 2010. "1998-99 NBA Lockout," Wikipedia, as of Nov. 2, 2010 update.

Photo Credits: Donald Sterling: NBAE via Getty Images. Billy Hunter: Associated Press. Derek Fisher: Dan Steinberg, Associated Press. All images heavily tweaked in Photoshop by Tim Davenport.

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