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Tag:Memphis Grizzlies
Posted on: December 15, 2010 8:33 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2010 8:34 pm
 

Stern says he expects Euro teams within decade

Commissioner says he expects NBA teams in Europe by end of the decade. 
Posted by Matt Moore

David Stern is in Memphis tonight, speaking to Grizzlies fans (yes there are those people, har-dee-har-har). And during that conversation, Eli Savoie picked up this interesting comment




Um, wait, what?

This from the Commissioner who is considering contraction, who just had to purchase the Hornets in order to stabilize their ownership group. This in a league that is claiming massive losses across the board for its franchises in its current CBA battle. And he wants to move teams to Europe?

Setting aside the logistical issues of incorporating European teams into the NBA schedule and the problems with free agency, this really isn't the time to be mentioning it. and if you're going to mention it? Are you going to mention it in Memphis, which is a target for possible relocation and/or contraction in favor of said European teams? A curious situation, and that's before you look at the idea of trying to get it done in the next nine years. 

Stern's bold, you have to give him that much.
Posted on: December 14, 2010 11:31 am
 

The Game Changer: Chicago keeps clamping down

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: I DARE YOU TO SCORE ON THE Bulls

Let's go over a few stats from the Pacers-Bulls game. Indiana's field goal percentage: 35.7. Indiana's turnovers: 15. Indiana's points by quarter: 18, 23, 17, 15. Indiana's total points: 73.

The lesson here we're learning is, it's not easy to score on the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls have won six straight and during that stretch are only allowing 88.0 points per game, and that's including an overtime win over the Rockets where Chicago gave up 116. In the last five wins, the Bulls are just allowing 82.4 points a game. Consider this: In games that ended in regulation, the Bulls have only allowed 100 points four times in their 23 games. And people didn't think Tom Thibodeau could transform the Bulls.

What makes the Bulls so incredible on the defensive end is their ability to help defend everywhere. Nothing ever goes uncontested. If the other team is taking a shot, you can count on a hand being in their face. The Bulls rotate as well as anyone, stuff the lane and force opponents to try and beat them with jumpshots. It's the classic Boston Celtic defense that Thibodeau became known for. And it's making the Bulls one of the premier teams in the East.

Since Carlos Boozer has joined the team after his injury, the Bulls are 6-1 with the one loss being to the Celtics in Boozers first game. Chicago is placing itself in the elite tier in the East and priming itself as a contender to the Magic, Heat and Celtics.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Zach Randolph gets the gold star as he Grizzly big man went for 25 points and 20 rebounds in a winning effort over the Blazers.

Dwyane Wade
gets a mention with 32 points on only 13 shots. Plus he added five rebounds just for fun.

Carlos Boozer continues to come around as he had 22 points and 18 rebounds for the Bulls in their domination of the Pacers.

Deron Williams and the Jazz cruised past the Warriors as Williams had 30 points on 8-16 shooting and 10 assists.

HEAT EAT UP THE Hornets

The Heat made it nine straight with a cruising 96-84 over the Hornets Monday night. And once again, Miami impressed. New Orleans was just overwhelmed by the Heat. Miami went on an 18-2 run late and completely took over the game. It just didn't seem like the Hornets could do anything to fix the Heat's run. Once Miami flipped the switch, it just felt like the game was over.

Here's what's most impressive about the Heat's winning streak. Every single game has come by double-digits. The last team to do that? LeBron's 2008-09 Cavs. In fact, the Heat are now just one off the record shared by five teams.

On top of that, all nine the Heat have held their opponent under 100 points. Against the Hornets, Miami gave up just 30 after the half and only nine points in the fourth quarter. Nine points for the Hornets in the last 12 minutes. That's just... insane.

Not to take anything away from the Heat's dominance, but what the crap is wrong with the Hornets and Chris Paul ? CP3 has completely disappeared down the stretch in games. He's not asserting himself into the offense and is completely drifting. As Paul goes, so does David West , Emeka Okafor and everyone else. Paul is fizzling late and it's killing the Hornets.

For more analysis on the Heat and Hornets, click here.

LEBRON GOES OVER THE BACKBOARD

No, he didn't jump over it. That hasn't happened, yet. But with the shot clock bearing down on him, LeBron got creative as he was forced deep on the baseline. He had a horrible angle on the rim, so naturally, LeBron improvised and shot the ball over the backboard. And of course, it went in.


THE Bucks STOPS HERE

The Mavericks winning streak is over at 12. Matt Moore with some thoughts:
Milwaukee badly needed the win, their third in a row, and needed to get their offense going. With both Jennings and Andrew Bogut scoring 20-plus and the Bucks dropping in a 114 efficiency mark, it's at least a step forward for the worst offense in the NBA. The loss will also do nothing to dispel the notion that Dallas still lacks the defensive acumen to compete in the playoffs. In truth, Dallas had the fifth best defense in the NBA coming into tonight. Just one of those nights, across the board, and an end to the win streak. During the streak, Dallas outscored its opponents by an average of just under nine points per game.

WHAT David Lee'S MANGLED ELBOW LOOKS LIKE

You've probably heard all about how serious David Lee's elbow injury was. And if you're like me, when you heard, "He could've lost his arm!" you thought, "I'm sure it was bad, but really? Because of a tooth?" But when you see what it actually looks like, it might make you think otherwise. Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group took a picture of it. Yeah, I'd say David Lee had a pretty significant injury.



Lee injured the elbow when Wilson Chandler's face basically assaulted his elbow. Chander ended up breaking off a tooth in the collison and Lee had to have surgery because of an infection that followed. Lee's been wearing a pad to cover the, uh, cut, but obviously it's not a comfortable thing to play through.

PARTING THOUGHT

The Grizzlies have quietly won three straight to get back to within striking distance of .500. The wins aren't the most impressive (Clippers, Suns, Blazers), but Memphis is at least playing better. The defensive domination over the Blazers Monday night is something for the Grizz to feel good about and with two more winnable games before heading to San Antonio, Memphis could stretch this out a little further.
Posted on: December 13, 2010 6:14 pm
 

Report: Grizzlies looking to trade Thabeet

Posted by Royce Young

Remember that one time Hasheem Thabeet was drafted No. 2 overall? Yeah, that actually happened.

Well in his two years in the NBA, Thabeet hasn't made much of an impact. He's only appeared in just 86 games, has averaged just 12.0 minutes a game when he's played, has career averages of 1.2 points and 1.3 rebounds a game and even was assigned to the D-League last season, making him the highest pick ever sent down. While Thabeet's shown some signs of being a good interior defensive presence and rim protector, really, his NBA career has been entirely disappointing so far.

And according to David Aldridge of NBA.com, Memphis may be ready to move on from the Thabeet experience.

Likely to no one's surprise, Aldridge says no significant offers have been made. Teams are calling, but nothing serious yet. But the Grizzlies want Thabeet moved so they can entirely move on to the future of Marc Gasol at center.

Draft night when Thabeet was taken, no one really understood why so high. Everyone had him there, but really, why? No signs of an offensive game, was soft in the post and really his only talent was blocking shots. And even there he hasn't done that well with that without fouling. Plus, the Grizzlies already had Gasol at the time but tried to convince everyone that Gasol was really a power forward.

Nobody was really sold on the twin tower combo of Thabeet and Gasol, except evidently Chris Wallace and Michael Heisley. In the end, Thabeet has been a fairly massive failure in Memphis. Some took to calling Thabeet "Thabust" before the draft and so far, the name fits.

The Grizzlies likely shouldn't have too much trouble moving Thabeet because a lot of teams out there would love the shot to try and develop a 7'3 big man like him. Roy Hibbert wasn't exactly NBA ready when he was taken a few years back but through hard work and develop, he's a force. So someone will most definitely be intrigued at the opportunity to have Thabeet.

But the Grizzlies won't be getting any kind of return on investment. Thabeet was a something pretty much destined to fail there. Memphis is making the right call though to just swallow their its medicine and try and move on.

Posted on: December 9, 2010 8:01 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2010 10:17 pm
 

The problem with Memphis

Why the downturn on Beale Street? We try and get a handle on the Memphis problem. Posted by Matt Moore



And things were going so well.

The Memphis Grizzlies made no substantial changes to their lineup this year, banking on the continued development of their core, mostly made of young players, to get them to the next level.  After all, last season they greatly exceeded expectations, going from what was widely considered to be one of the worst teams in the league to a near-playoff team. I mean, sure they were dependent on a core of players none-of-whom are considered league wide to be stars and their bench was the rough equivalent of a beached whale, but hey, no team's perfect. With projected improvements, it wasn't beyond belief to consider the possibility of the Grizzlies matching last year's success, if not exceeding it.

Only, that's not happening.

The Grizzlies are 9-14, even after a Rudy Gay buzzer beater to force overtime led to a solid win over the Suns on the road Wednesday Night. Mike Conley is playing much better than we thought he would. Rudy Gay has legitimately made the jump to franchise player, improving in nearly every statistical area and taking and making huge shots such as last night. The Grizzlies added Xavier Henry for offense, Tony Allen for defense, and Darrel Arthur looks like a real pro finally.

So then, what's the problem?

There's an idea that the problem is the offense, which has been 2 points worse in offensive efficiency this year, while the defense remains largely unaffected. The following table outlines the difference in this year's stats from last year's stats for those players who have played both years in Memphis. We're going with pace adjusted stats like rebounding percentage and PER which will also help us with the per-minute issues, though not all of them. All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com .

Player PER TS% eFG% TRB% AST% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg
Marc Gasol -1 0.043 0.034 -1.8 1.9 3.7 -2.1 2 -1
Rudy Gay 2.9 0.034 0.036 0.4 2.8 1.3 1 2 -1
Mike Conley 3.8 0.025 0.016 0.6 5.2 0.9 2.3 1 -3
Zach Randolph -1.7 -0.009 0.01 1.1 -1 0.8 -1.8 -5 -1
Darrell Arthur 4.3 0.102 0.089 -0.8 -1.2 0.7 1.8 10 -1
O.J. Mayo -3.6 -0.06 -0.054 -0.4 -3.2 -0.8 0.1 -12 -1
Sam Young -1.5 -0.04 -0.039 -0.9 0.1 -2 -3.3 -8 -8
Hasheem Thabeet -8.3 -0.109 -0.121 -6.8 -0.8 7.4 -2.1 -27 3
DeMarre Carroll 5.9 0.01 -0.063 6.6 1.2 -8.9 0.6 17 -2
Hamed Haddadi -2.5 -0.267 -0.387 13.1 2.4 3.7 -4.9 -34 -11


Okay, before you freak out, Hasheem Thabeet is averaging a mere 8.4 minutes per game this year, so that Offensive Rating (team points scored per 100 possessions while the player is on the floor) being 27 points worse isn't that bad (it's not good either, but let's move on). There's no way getting around it. The plummet of O.J. Mayo is a problem for this team. He's shooting worse, distributing less, rebounding at a lower clip, and using roughly the same number of possessions.

The move to the bench hasn't been phenomenally better for him but has slightly improved things. What's been odd is that coach Lionel Hollins elected to move Mayo to the bench, which he's obviously not big on, instead of supporting him through the slump. Zach Randolph also hasn't been his normal self, but he also dealt with early season injury issues. Let's try not to start directly at Hasheem Thabeet's numbers for fear they will sear all hope from our souls. That's a number two overall pick, ladies and gents.

The good news here is that Mayo's slump is unlikely to sustain over the course of the season. Even with a bad year, it's more likely that he'll find himself back on track. However, Mayo's body language has been pretty terrible, and you have to wonder if he's not trying to work his way out of town.

In the interim, the team is going to have to either improve defensively or find a more consistent option on offense. Xavier Henry has shown flashes of why he was drafted in the last five games, but Tony Allen's favorite album is the Tony Allen ISO Project's "Throw It Up and See What Happens." If the team were to figure things out, there's no reason this team can't compete for the playoffs. But as Grizzlies blog 3 Shades of Blue points out, that time may have already passed: 
To guarantee a spot in the Western Conference playoff picture a team has to win 50 games. To reach the 50 win plateau the Grizzlies would have to win just under 75% of their home games 30-11 and win 50% of their road games 20-21. So far the Grizzlies are 6-5 at home. That means the team has to go 25-5 the rest of the season in the half full FedEx Forum to reach the home win mark. The team that has lost 5 home games out of 11 this season still has to play San Antonio twice, Dallas once, New Orleans twice, Oklahoma City twice, Denver once, Portland once and Utah twice. Thats 11 tough home games and the Grizzlies can only lose 5 of them to reach the 30 win total for home wins.
via Are the Playoffs Already Out of Reach? | 3 Shades of Blue .

With Heisley already making noise about "changes" should the team not be on pace for the playoffs, what seemed to be a rising team could be headed for the scrapyard before it even got out of port. It's not the first time a team has looked to be on the path up only to fall backwards into oblivion. The concern has to be in the $180 million the team gave out to Rudy Gay and Mike Conley in the past six months. If this isn't the path, what is?
Posted on: December 1, 2010 8:08 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:10 pm
 

Shootaround 12.01.10: Rudy Gay is a jumping bean

Lakers lose three straight, Blazers lose four straight, Tracy McGrady continues to be delusional, Tim Duncan notches a triple-double, LeBron James is a "lost cause" and Doug Collins has some advice for Greg OdenPosted by Ben Golliver
  • The Los Angeles Lakers lost their third straight game, this time to the Memphis Grizzlies, and forward Ron Artest his last-second missed shot at winning the game to the Los Angeles Times. "Then this jumping bean, guy by the name of Rudy Gay, comes and blocks the shot," Artest said. "I thought it was going in. I'm like, 'Why is the ball going short?' I knew the wind wasn't blowing. The ball just stopped after he blocked the shot."
  • Detroit Pistons forward Tracy McGrady, who has been vocal recently about the Miami Heat's struggles and has looked washed up for at least the last year or so, tells the Orlando Sentinel that he has plenty left in the tank.  “I’m not what I once was, but I think I’m a smart enough basketball player to be able to modify my game. It’s just working on fine-tuning what I can and what I can’t do on the basketball court. Everything is an adjustment. As long as I’m healthy, I feel good about my future.” When asked if he feels he could play “a couple more years,” he responded, “There’s no doubt.”
  • The New York Knicks topped the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday, but Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov wasn't pleased with a Knicks ad that took a shot at his franchise. “I don’t think we want to be like the Knicks. I think we’d more like to resemble the Lakers,” the New York Times quotes him as saying.
  • Tim Duncan put up a triple-double (15 points, 18 rebounds and 11 assists, which tied his career high) in San Antonio's Tuesday win over Golden State. MySanAntonio.com has his coach, Gregg Popovich, paying tribute. “He’s been the heart and soul of our program for a long time,” Popovich said of Duncan, a 12-time All-Star. “He’s where it all begins, and after all these years we probably still take it for granted.”
  • Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins, a former player that dealt extensively with injuries, was asked by Philly.com about Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden. "The thing you worry about is what am I going to feel like the next day? It's hard to enjoy the game. When your health has been taken away from you, you lose the love of the game. Hopefully that doesn't happen to him because he's still very young and I hope he's going to be able to bounce back. It just seems like at every turn he's getting punched in the gut right now. I wouldn't wish that upon anybody."
Posted on: December 1, 2010 2:51 am
 

The Mike Conley apology post

Matt Moore does some self-criticism in light of Mike Conley's emergence as a legit point guard following the Grizzlies' win over the Lakers Tuesday night.
Posted by Matt Moore


I.... overreacted .

This is a tricky subject, but starting off with that makes it sound like I'm trying to get around the subject. I'm not. I will be telling you, in pain-staking, crow-eating, I-screwed-up fashion why and how I was wrong in my outright evisceration of Mike Conley, at least through the first month of the season. But I also can't approach this as simply a "Mike Conley has made the leap and everything I said was wrong" instance. I wasn't, about some things. This also isn't meant to be an outright capitulation of my opinion. But unlike a lot of sportswriters, who are justified in their approach, I don't believe it hurts me to admit when I'm wrong. My job is to try and entertain you and occasionally give you some level of insight into the league. To say that I'm never wrong is to buy into a culture which abhors the idea that we all have more to learn about the game, or that these players we watch and nitpick over can't surprise us. And they can. Mike Conley has.

Here's what I got right, still, at this point.

The 5-year, $40 million extension to Mike Conley was foolhardy, penny wise and pound foolish. In committing the money to Conley before he had played more than five games, the Grizzlies denied themselves the opportunity to see what the market would bear out for Conley in restricted free agency this summer. They bid against themselves and still managed to lose. They still likely overpaid in the  long run considering his importance in the long-term success of the team. Furthermost, it's still hard to see, despite assurances from Heisley himself to some of his favorite media outlets, how he's going to justify spending the money necessary to keep the core of this team together, the same core which took down the Lakers in impressive fashion Tuesday night despite a near-loss.

Doing so would require likely overspending on Zach Randolph, which is a much more justifiable over-expense than Mike Conley was back in the first week of November. It means finding a reasonable value for Marc Gasol, who is arguably the most important and second best overall player on the team behind Rudy Gay. And then it means still finding enough left to invest in O.J. Mayo, who despite his struggles, still has the capacity to light up teams for 35 on any given night, and whose clutch play down the stretch against the Lakers, particularly in his defense of Kobe Bryant's pull-up to tie (which forced a jump-pass to Ron Artest which was blocked) was an example of the performance he can give. Re-signing all those players seems unlikely, especially with a second overall pick used on Hasheem Thabeet and another first rounder taken on now-starter Xavier Henry.

I can't say that the money invested in Conley was wise at the time, or in the context of building towards the future in Memphis, no matter how relatively painless the extension may be to swallow . It was yet another example of Michael Heisley's misguided leadership and meddling in the affairs of a relatively shrewd talent evaluator in Chris Wallace.

And that about sums up what I got right. Wrong? I'm going to FJM myself now, if you don't mind (which I'm sure is nicer than some of the other things Grizzlies fans want me to do myself).

In the long history of terrible moves by the Memphis Grizzlies, mark my words, this one will reign supreme.

Worse than drafting Hasheem Thabeet .

Okay, stop, right there. Two sentences in, just stop. This was not nearly as bad as drafting Hasheem Thabeet. Know how I know? Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings, Stephen Curry, Darren Collison. Thanks.

Mike Conley is the worst starting point guard in the NBA. That's including Derek Fisher , who is at this point both a defensive signpost and a superior point guard.

Given the improvements Conley's made to his game (which we'll get to, don't worry), it would be ludicrous to assess him as the 30th worst point guard in the NBA. He's not a top 10. He is solidly in the 18-12 range, depending on the night and the matchup. He's still obliterated by the elite point guards in the NBA, but blaming him for that would be like blaming a cow moose for not outrunning a gazelle from the cheetah. It still has a better chance than the heifer grazing blissfully. Also, if you wanted evidence of Conley's superiority over Fisher, look no further than Tuesday's matchup where it wasn't just the numbers Conley put together (28 points, 3 assists), it was the vast array of ways he destroyed Fisher's "defense."

Conley's biggest problems involve things which are extremely hard to identify in the box score. His turnover margin is acceptable, if not stellar. He was 24th in the league last year in assist rate among point guards who played 25 minutes or more. That's not good, at all, but it's not horrific.
Okay, so he's only up to 23rd (going into Tuesday night's games). Considering his usage is at a career high, we can live with that.
Every point guard in the National Basketball Association is able to probe the defense. It involves stepping inside the arc, towards defenders, and maintaining your dribble to see how the defense reacts to penetration. It allows the point guard to evaluate spacing and set up the correct set of decisions. Mike Conley cannot. He will routinely turn his back to a post maneuver, just to avoid losing the ball. This is because he has tremendous difficulty in splitting defenders.
Yeah, all this is gone. While I know Conley read the piece I wrote about him, he no doubt didn't care or adjust his game based on my analysis. Players don't do that, because a. what do we know? And b. you can drive yourself nuts doing that. That said, it sure seems like he's almost deliberately showing off this ability with every game. His probe-dribble has become deadly, with a hesitation just inside the arc forcing defenders to close before bursting through and to the rim. It's gone from a massive struggle for him to a significant advantage against slow or inexperienced guards.
He struggles in the pick and roll according to Synergy Sports, averaging just a .79 PPP in the pick and roll and shooting 44% which is a great Field Goal %, but not in pick and roll.
He's raised his Points Per Possession to .812, shooting 46%. It's not worlds better, but it's an improvement from "bad." Likewise, his spot-up shooting has become brilliant with an adjusted field goal percentage (factoring 3-pointers) of 53%.

Conley surrenders a .96 PPP in Isolation, giving up free throws over 16% of the time. In pick and roll, a .82. It's not horrific. It's just miserably average-to-subpar. This at the most important position on the floor. Bear in mind that Conley plays in a high-octane, weapon-loaded offense that allows him to get out in transition and get easy buckets. Yet he turned the ball over in transition 16.7% of the time.

Okay, so not everything's improved. He's still turning the ball over 16.2% of the time in transition and is now surrendering a .95 PPP in the pick and roll. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Advanced stats don't look much better. Conley has never posted a +15 PER, the benchmark of an average player in the league.
Conley entered the night with a 15.70 PER . And that's after a mini-slump. And it's likely to rise after a high-efficiency, high-usage night against LA.


But none of these things can encapsulate the real improvements in Conley. He's made the jump to being a legit starting point guard who you can rely on to set the offense, make the right decision, and execute the play. He's no longer overwhelmed with pressure. On the Grizzlies' last possession, he navigated the Marc Gasol pick, and swung short to drive. His move was to lob the pass to Marc Gasol. Pau Gasol raised his boat-oar arms and snatched it away. Upon first watch, it looked like your run-of-the-mill Conley turnover. But his decision was sharp, it was correct, the move precise, the pass on target. Pau Gasol just made a great defensive play. Considering the disaster the Lakers ran in their final possession, it looks like a dream.

Mike Conley is not an elite point guard, but he's also not paid like one . But for a player who was decimated by fans and media, and most especially by me, after his extension, he's made good on it. He's become a starting-caliber point guard, and has been a huge part of why the Grizzlies find themselves... well, 8-10. The bench is still terrible. But point guard is no longer a position of need, at least right now, for the Memphis Grizzlies.  This can surely change as the months stretch on to become a season, but it's in our best interest for me to tell you, that provided he does not regress:

I was wrong about Mike Conley.
Posted on: November 26, 2010 1:53 am
Edited on: November 26, 2010 12:43 pm
 

Black Friday: Your NBA Shopping Guide

A list of NBA deals on the biggest shopping day of the year. Posted by Matt Moore




As we speak the hording masses are overrunning exhausted store clerks in a mad Turducken-leftover fueled crush of commerce that we call Black Friday. From sweatpants to hot pants to hi-def televisions and tablets with screens two sizes too small, the countryside is alive with the sound of financial transactions, and everything is on sale.

But what about in the NBA? Surely as your aunt is busy buying you long underwear that looks like it may have been part of Carrot Top's personal brand, there are similar discount deals available across the league, and indeed, we have some. If your team is looking for that perfectly holiday gift to complete their team, here's a few of the bargain Black Friday deals they can find on sale right now.

Expiring Veteran Power Forward, 50 cents on the dollar!
Troy Murphy is healthy. Troy Murphy has a good track record of production. Troy Murphy is not with the Nets. The Nets sent him home to "get in condition" even though he says he's good to go. It's partially because he's having trouble getting up to speed with his injury and partially because Avery Johnson is as temperamental as that dynamite they found on LOST . Just because it's not working out for him so far in New Jersey doesn't mean he wouldn't work fine. He's like that toaster with the beat up box that's sold as-is.

Numbskull Wing, Buy 1, get 1 pick free!
Speaking of Avery Johnson and his endless spring of patience, Terrence Williams is also at home , after being suspended for violating team rules. Now, Ben Golliver thinks Williams is just a knucklehead , and that's certainly possible. But this is the NBA. Knuckleheads make millions of dollars and wind up winning championships. Williams is talented but apparently doesn't have a spot in Averyland. Teams looking to snag a rookie contract with some talent can likely get Williams for a kind word and low first round pick at this point. Throw the Nets a bone with some actual talent and you can likely swing Williams and one of the Nets' picks. That is if Avery doesn't let him go on Black Friday all together.

Slumping Sub-Star, 75 cents on the dollar! O.J. Mayo is in a slump. He hasn't hit a wall, he's not regressing, he is still the third best player on the Memphis Grizzlies. But he's hit a slump. And instead of the endless amount of patience spent on Mike Conley over the past four years (which is working out brilliantly for the Grizzlies, despite my being a moron and blasting him as the worst point guard in basketball which is no longer true), apparently all those games O.J. helped win them mean less as he's been jerked to the bench. Lionel Hollins says it's just because he wants scoring punch off the bench . But Xavier Henry is now starting, despite him being approximately as prepared as a 9th grade pothead for organic chemistry. With Mike Conley's (totally reasonable!) extension, and Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph also due extensions, moving Mayo would simplify matters significantly for the Grizzlies. But they have to do so while he's in a slump. Trading a brilliant scrorer while he's lighting it up just won't do. Get 'em while the Mayo's... nevermind.

"Off-Limits" Superstar, Super-Secret Bargain Find! Denver's 8-6. Which ain't bad. It's also not great. And while there have been times when Denver looked decent, there have also been times when they look like they're inches away from utter implosion. and still... Melo doesn't have an extension.

And without an extension, he's still on the market. Denver's holding out hope, but they're also swaying. It just takes the right set of pressure applied to the right time to get a crack. And from there, you've got Melo. The idea of needing him with extension is fading as teams start convincing themselves they can convince him at season's end. So the trick is to apply the pressure and get Ujiri at the right moment before the offers start increasing, driving the value up. Melo's not off the table. And as long as he's not locked down, he's for sale.

Mega-Star Up for Grabs, Inquire For Availability
. Chris Bosh can't be on the market. Right? I mean, he can't be. He just got there. But if there's one member of the team that best represents the failures of the team's promise, it's Bosh. Bosh, who never waned to play center specifically because he's not made of steel and brawn, has been seen as a failure because he isn't those things on a team that needs it. He's less of a power forward and more of a grace forward. At least LeBron's got the numbers; Bosh has a few nice games and that's all.

Moving Bosh would be nearly impossible even if the Heat wanted to, due to the fact that right now he looks like a weak-willed third wheel with a massive contract. But if some team really wanted a superstar and had a package of talented bigs to offer, it's hard to see Pat Riley not at least writing the figures down on a notepad to kick around later.

Vintage Antique, Will Accept Best Offer. Juwan Howard is easy to make jokes about at 37 years old. But he got it done for the Blazers last year and wasn't the worst Heat player this year. If your team needs a big with experience, Howard's got it in spades. Just make sure you wipe the dust off the bottle.

Posted on: November 17, 2010 11:18 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:49 pm
 

Game Changer: Bucks fans get something back

The Lakers drop the Bucks, A Milwaukee fan gets revenge, Wesley Matthews goes off for a career-high, The Grizzlies melt down at home and the Toronto Raptors didn't do their coach any favors. Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer. 

THE BIG ONE: REVENGE FOR BUCKS FANS, DESPITE THE LOSS

Who could forget the Los Angeles Lakers' trip to Milwaukee last year given the controversial calls down the stretch that enraged Bucks fans and the eventual Kobe Bryant dagger to win it? Tuesday night's rematch wasn't as drama-filled, but that doesn't mean Milwaukee didn't exact a measure of revenge. First: the numbers. Los Angeles won by slapping a whopping 118 points on Milwaukee, thanks to 31 points from Bryant and four other Lakers in double figures. Shannon Brown really got it going off the bench, connecting for four three-pointers on his way to 21 points. Andrew Bogut and Drew Gooden did their part for Milwaukee, combining for 34 points, 31 rebounds and five blocked shots, but the Lakers' perimeter attack was too much. The Lakers cruised to the victory thanks to 10-16 from deep; take out Bryant and the rest of the Lakers combined for 10-12 from downtown. Anyway, back to the revenge play for Milwaukee. Here's video of Kobe Bryant's overtime dagger, that only came about because of some suspect calls that went L.A.'s way. And here's Milwaukee's "we didn't forget" moment, as a fan came well-equipped this year with a sign that reads "Stern Loves L.A." that found its way onto Milwaukee's television broadcast. stern-loves-la Sure, it's not as sweet a feeling as getting an upset win over the defending champs, but sometimes getting your point across feels just as satisfying.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

Wesley Matthews:   A career-high 30 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block on 11-19 shooting, 5-10 from deep in 43 minutes in a Portland road win over Memphis.

Honorable mention to...


Josh Smith:
 25 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal, SEVEN blocks on 9-16 shooting in 37 minutes in Atlanta's road win over Indiana. Landry Fields: 21 points, 17 rebounds, one assist, two steals on 10-15 shooting in 38 minutes in a New York road loss to Denver.

THE GRIZZLIES GO DOWN:

By Matt Moore

Here's the trick with the Grizzlies last night. To describe them as dysfunctional is to fail to give credit to how functional they were last season. Watching them slump out of timeouts, barely rotate to their man, and generally sleepwalk through another loss, this time to the Greg-Oden-less, Brandon-Roy-less, Joel-Przybilla-less Portland Trailblazers, it really hit you how far this team has fallen in a few months. Mike Conley took 14 shots last night, which is more than any other Grizzlies starter.

The Blazers were more than happy to oblige Conley with being the offensive weapon, as long as Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo didn't get in the act. Meanwhile, as Wesley Matthews poured in shots from every single spot on the floor, Rudy Gay simply couldn't be bothered to commit to defending him, running off screens or getting a hand up. After all, he had to carry the load offensively with the rest of the team out of sync. Tony Allen was brought in to shut down the Blazers' backcourt but instead spent most of his time going ISO.

Meanwhile, Andre Miller calmly and coolly backed down Conley and nailed a turnaround in his face. Mayo looks as if he's simply going through the motions in the hopes of accelerating what seems like an inevitable trade process, and Zach Randolph is drowning in his minutes while Hasheem Thabeet can barely stay on the floor.

But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

DON'T MISS:

 

ON Mike Bibby:

By Matt Moore

Mike Bibby's old. I mean old, old. It's time for him to move on, and yet, the old guy just keeps draining J's. Even as Bibby's pick and roll abilities on both sides of the ball erode into dust, his shot has become even more accurate. The Pacers for whatever reason saw fit to test that gunslinger's pistols and he wound up dropping 3 of 5 threes on them, including a trailing three pointer early which set the tone for the half. Bibby dropped 7 dimes tonight with zero turnovers, and yet will see nothing but scorn despite the win.

For being the most forgotten man in America, Bibby has certainly set himself up as a huge part of the Hawks' core. 

WHIMSY:

Grizzlies center Marc Gasol has a left hand that is bigger than his head, one that could quite possibly be the largest human hand ever. 

marc-gasol

 

ONE FINAL THOUGHT:

The Toronto Raptors lost an ugly one, 109-94, to the Washington Wizards who were playing without rookie stud John Wall. After a defense-less 2-9 start that puts Toronto tied for the second-worst record in the league, calls for coach Jay Triano's job can't be too far away.
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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com