Don't expect the Grizzlies to miss second-year center Hasheem Thabeet, traded to the Rockets on Thursday as part of the Shane Battier deal.
Thabeet, the Grizzlies' first-round draft choice, too often stood around and watched while plays happen around him. But that isn't the case with Hamed Haddadi, the Grizzlies' new backup center.
The 7-2, 265-pound Haddadi, from Ahvaz, Iran, has always been fairly productive when he got extended minutes. He's long, has great hands, knows his role and doesn't try to go outside of it. Haddadi had the first double-double of his career in Friday's win over the Kings with 10 points and 10 rebounds, collecting his first double-double ("I usually never get enough rebounds for a double-double," Haddadi said).
"Hamed has got to play for us to win," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. "He's the only seven-footer we have on the roster. He needs to get in shape, be more focused in practice. I don't know if he knows all the plays, but that's typical of a young player who hasn't played in games very much."
Against the Kings, Haddadi was the beneficiary of several no-look bounce passes from backup point guard Jason Williams that Haddad collected cleanly and dunked, or laid in.
"Jason Williams has played for a long time (in the NBA) and I'm so happy to be able to play with him," Haddadi said. "He knows how to play, knows how to pass."
SPURS 95, GRIZZLIES 88: The Spurs (49-10) jumped to a 20-point lead at 41-21 at home with six minutes left in the first half. But the Grizzlies (33-28), with a bench that added another scrappy piece on Thursday when it got Shane Battier from the Rockets, went on a 14-2 run to close the half and cut the San Antonio lead to a workable eight points. Memphis didn't lose a step in third, taking a seven-point lead. The Spurs kept fading, especially since point guard Tony Parker sustained a calf contusion in the first half and didn't return. Memphis couldn't pull away, because the Spurs' forward Matt Bonner (4-of-5 threes) finally warmed from three-point range. Down the stretch with no Parker, the Grizzlies saddled up Manu Ginobili and rode him in for the victory. He had season-high of 35 points, including 18 points in the fourth quarter.
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