When the Grizzlies went 40-42 last year, one of the problems was a lack of scoring pop off the bench. It certainly didn't help losing power forward Darrell Arthur for the first 50 games with a torn pectorial muscle.
"I was down on myself, because I wasn't playing," Arthur recalled. "I when I came back, my body wasn't feeling right. One day, I just busted out in tears. I wasn't playing well, but at the same time I knew it would take some time to come back.
"Sitting 50 games did give me a chance to watch Zach (Randolph) and Marc (Gasol) work in the post.
Arthur came back this year completely healthy, stronger and bigger than ever before. His development of a mid-range jumper has resulted in the best season of his three-game career, averaging 9.2 points and 4.2 rebounds. His vast improvement is one of the reasons why the Grizzlies have qualified for the playoffs.
"I really worked hard all summer on 15-to-18 foot jumpers, worked on strengthening my legs," Arthur said. "I wanted to make myself better and play more consistent. I wanted to make sure we made the playoffs."
BLAZERS 102, GRIZZLIES 89: The Grizzlies decided to rest starters Zach Randolph and Tony Allen on Tuesday night in Portland, and that was just enough to give Portland the edge that clinched sixth place in the Western Conference. Randolph's guaranteed double-double was missed, especially on the inside, where the Grizzlies hardly got any post scoring and rebounding. Allen's defensive spark of being disruptive in passing lanes, making steals that change game momentum, was sorely missed. The Grizzlies (46-35) now are deadlocked in seventh place with New Orleans, heading to Wednesday's regular season finales for the Grizzlies (at the Clippers) and the Hornets (at Dallas). The Hornets hold the tiebreaker over the Grizzlies of having more wins in the Southwest Division, so the only way for the Grizzlies to get the No. 7 seed is to beat the Clippers with the Hornets losing to the Jazz.
Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.