By Dave Searle (@Dave Searle)
Memphis Defense – Struggling?
Last year, the Grizz were often referred to as the “Pacers of the West”. Part of it was roster construction. From George Hill/Mike Conley down to Marc Gasol/Roy Hibbert, each team’s starting lineup featured highly similar players at each position (pre Rudy Gay trade, of course).
The other part was the stifling defense. After a season of battling each other for the best defense in the league, Memphis allowed the lowest number of points per game while the Pacers claimed the most efficient defense.
The Pacers have continued playing defense at an incredible level in the early part of this season. The elite defense of the Grizzlies has yet to show up this season.
Memphis is currently 17th in Defensive Rating. Granted, an overtime game with the Detroit Pistons is skewing this number a little bit. However, removing that overtime game still gives the Grizzlies a 97.8 PPG defensive average. They have allowed the Spurs and Mavericks to cruise past 100 points against them, and the Pelicans almost got there with 99 in a win over Memphis.
On Saturday, the Grizzlies held the Warriors to 90 points (and Klay Thompson to 5-13 shooting). Is their dominant defense back? Which Grizzlies defense will show up to the BiLF tonight? The answer will likely be the key to the game.
Remember when we made fun of Rudy Gay last week? First of all, we apologize. It seems pretty clear Mr. Gay caught wind of our article or listened to our podcast. Gay exploded all over the Pacers in the first half, scoring 20+ while keeping the Raptors in the game far longer than they deserved to be. We are sorry for giving Rudy the motivation to not suck for half a game.
We bring it up again to highlight the firing of Lionel Hollins. Hollins did not think Rudy Gay sucked, and he got fired for it. Seriously.
Memphis famously hired John Hollinger to play a key role in their front office. Hollinger himself is famous for inventing the PER stat, an all-in-one rating that slaps a number on the effectiveness of all players. In short, Hollinger knew Rudy Gay sucked.
Hollins disagreed. He thought Rudy Gay did not, in fact, suck. He thought Rudy Gay tasted like champagne. He was wrong.
Hollins lead the Grizzlies to a better record each season that he coached. He lead the team to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. He thought Rudy Gay was a good basketball player.
He got fired. The lesson as always? Rudy Gay sucks. Embrace it, or get fired.
Hey, what are you up to for the next five minutes?
Watching this Big Country Reeves Mix Tape, that’s what:
From Wikipedia: “Reeves played six seasons with the Grizzlies. After averaging 13.3 points per game in a solid rookie season, he averaged 16.2 points per game in 1997 and was subsequently awarded with a six-year, $61.8 million contract extension. The next season, 1997-98, was his best, when he averaged 16.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.08 blocked shots per game. During that season, he scored a career-high 41 points against the Boston Celtics. After 1998, weight-control problems and injuries began to take a toll on Reeves, and his numbers fell off dramatically.”
Hey Big Country, we just invested $62 million dollars in you, Do you want to maybe eat a salad or something?
Eating awesome food was more important than winning for Reeves, and for that we will always love him. Think about Big Country when you settle in your seat at the BiLF to watch the game. Do I want the grilled chicken sandwich, or the BBQ nachos? You want the BBQ nachos, my friend. You want the nachos.
The Hold Steady – Sequestered In Memphis
Listen to this. Seriously, you guys. This song is the best.
Mike Conley will make a good play. A small part of the crowd will roar, and everyone will be confused before remembering that Conley is an Indianapolis native. Marc Gasol will pretend to want to fight somebody for some reason. Lance will up his prediction to a 34 game win streak in a post-game interview. David West finds his stroke works Randolph for a 20+ point night.
Memphis has some defensive issues, but the offense has been surprisingly potent. The former holds true, but the latter falls apart a bit versus this Pacers squad. Pacers 95, Grizzlies 85.
PS. Never forget Grizzlies shooting sleeve kid. Ever.