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Round #2: Memphis Grizzlies (4-2) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (4-1)

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,The NBA Playoffs by admin on Saturday 30 April 2011 at 2:42 pm

The Grizzlies pulled off a shocking defeat of the #1 seed Spurs last night, so they are feeling pretty good about themselves.  The Thunder have been rested up a little bit after beating the Nuggets in five games.  Here is a look at the matchups in this series:

POINT GUARD:  Mike Conley only shot 39.5% from the floor against the Spurs, but he was solid overall going toe to toe with Tony Parker.  Conley played in 6 games (all starts) against the Spurs and he averaged 38.3 minutes, 14.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game.  Conley will have to make sure he takes his fair share of shots in this series to keep Russell Westbrook busy on both ends of the basketball court.

Russell Westbrook will need to shoot a little better in this series as he only hit 39.6% from the floor against the Nuggets.  Westbrook played in 5 games (all starts) against the Nuggets and he averaged 36.2 minutes, 23.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game.  Westbrook is a big key to this series, because when he’s on, he’s really hard to stop.

EDGE:  THUNDER

SHOOTING GUARD:  Tony Allen has been a really solid player this season for the Grizzlies and I look for that to continue in this series.  Allen played in 6 games (all starts) against the Spurs and he averaged 26.7 minutes, 9.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game.   Allen plays hard on both ends of the court.

Thabo Sefolosha only shot 37.5% from the floor against the Nuggets, but his game is defense.  Sefolosha played in 5 games (all starts) against the Nuggets and he averaged 21.4 minutes, 5.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game.  Allen is not a top guard offensively, so Sefolosha might not play as much as he did against the Nuggets.

EDGE:  GRIZZLIES

SMALL FORWARD:  Sam Young has been a solid player for the Grizzlies this season but he’s going to have his hands more than full in this series.  He’s going to need help on defense in trying to corral Kevin Durant.  Young played in 6 games (all starts) against the Spurs and he averaged 22.2 minutes, 9.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.2 assists per game.  He did shoot 51.1% from the floor against the Spurs, so maybe he’ll shoot a little more in this series to make Durant work more on the defensive end of the court.

Kevin Durant is the best player in basketball right now, period!  He proved it in the first round of the playoffs as he was taking and making all of the big shots for the Thunder.  Durant played in 5 games (all starts) against the Nuggets and he averaged 41.8 minutes, 32.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.o blocked shot per game.  I don’t see the Grizzlies being able to slow down Kevin Durant in this series.

EDGE:  GIGANTIC FOR THE THUNDER

POWER FORWARD:  Zach Randolph is the main man offensively for the Grizzlies and they need him to come up big in this series.  He played in 6 games (all starts) against the Spurs and he averaged 37.3 minutes, 21.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game.  He shot 50% from the floor against the Spurs but that might be a little tougher in this series.

Serge Ibaka is a beast in the paint and he will be all over Zach Randolph in this series.  Ibaka played in 5 games (all starts) against the Nuggets and he averaged 31.8 minutes, 10.2 points, 11.0 rebounds, 0.4 assists and 4.8 blocked shots per game.  Ibaka has really stepped up since the playoffs has begun and he’s likely to be a force in the paint, especially on the defensive end of the court.

EDGE:  SLIGHT FOR GRIZZLIES

CENTER:  Marc Gasol really stepped up for the Grizzlies against the Spurs and they will need another outstanding effort in this series from him.  Gasol played in 6 games (all starts) for the Grizzlies against the Spurs and he averaged 40.3 minutes, 14.2 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.5 blocked shots per game.  Gasol shot 53.3% from the floor against the Spurs as he was outstanding.  It’s going to be a battle in the paint against the Thunder, so the Grizzlies need Gasol to bring his A-Game every night.

Kendrick Perkins was brought in by the Thunder for a series like this one.  They need him to play good defense and to get a lot of rebounds, while playing really physical.  Perkins played in 5 games (all starts) against the Nuggets and he averaged 25.8 minutes, 5.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 0.2 assists per game.

EDGE:  GRIZZLIES

BENCH:  The Grizzlies have tightened up the playing rotation for the bench in the playoffs.  Shooting guard O.J. Mayo could get more P.T. than he did in the first round of the playoffs.  He played in 6 games (0 starts) against the Spurs and he averaged 22.3 minutes, 9.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.  Darrell Arthur will be the top big man off the bench for the Grizzlies in this series.  He played in 6 games (0 starts) against the Spurs and he averaged 16.5 minutes, 8.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 1.5 blocked shots per game.  Shane Battier is going to have a big role in this series because of his defense as he will get his fair share of minutes trying to check Kevin Durant.  Battier played in 6 games (0 starts) against the Spurs and he averaged 27.0 minutes, 6.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.  Rookie point guard Greivis Vasquez will get any scrap minutes if Conley gets into foul trouble or needs a break.  Vasquez played in 6 games (0 starts) against the Spurs and he averaged 10.2 minutes, 4.2 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.

The Thunder don’t use the bench much except for shooting guard James Harden.  Harden played in 5 games (0 starts) against the Nuggets and he averaged 30.0 minutes, 10.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocked shot per game.  He only shot 38.2% from the floor against the Nuggets and the Thunder need him to do better in this series.  PF/C Nick Collison provided some needed muscle against the Nuggets.  He played in 5 games (0 starts) against the Nuggets and he averaged 20.0 minutes, 5.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.6 assists per game.  Point guard Eric Maynor will give Russell Westbrook a break whenever he needs one.  Maynor played in 5 games (0 starts) against the Nuggets and he averaged 11.8 minutes, 5.8 points, 1.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.  Daequan Cook (2.8 points and 2.4 rebounds) and Nazr Mohammed (1.2 points and 2.0 rebounds) also could pitch in for the Thunder in this series.

EDGE:  GRIZZLIES

COACHING:  Lionel Hollins really has coached up the Grizzlies as they weren’t too good when he got there a few years ago.  But, he outcoach Greg Popovich in the first round of the playoffs which amazed me.  Hollins has a career record of 4-2 (66.7%) in the playoffs.

Scott Brooks outmatched George Karl in the first round of the playoffs, but he had the better team.  He likely has the better team again, but, he’s only 6-5 (54.5%) in his career in the playoffs.

EDGE:  EVEN

PREDICTION:  The Grizzlies will likely put up a good fight in this series, but they are outgunned in this matchup.  I like the Thunder to win this series in six games.

Game #6: Memphis Grizzlies 99, San Antonio Spurs 91

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Game Recaps,General,The NBA Playoffs by admin on Saturday 30 April 2011 at 1:51 pm

The Grizzlies shot 52.1% from the floor and they outrebounded the Spurs 43-32 which were the big reasons for the resounding win in Memphis last night.  Zach Randolph led the way for the Grizzlies last night with 31 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal.  Marc Gasol helped Randolph and the Grizzlies rule the paint last night.  Gasol had 12 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocked shots last night.  Tony Allen (11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals and 1 blocked shot) and Greivis Vasquez (11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 23 minutes) also pitched in with solid games for the Grizzlies.  The Grizzlies won their first playoff series in franchise history by defeating the Spurs 4-2.

Game #5: San Antonio Spurs 110, Memphis Grizzlies 103 in O.T.

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Game Recaps,General,The NBA Playoffs by admin on Thursday 28 April 2011 at 12:27 pm

Last night had an awful ending for the Grizzlies, who thought they had knocked out the Spurs.  But, rookie guard Gary Neal of the Spurs hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to get the Spurs into O.T., where they outscored the Grizzlies 13-6!  Zach Randolph led the way for the Grizzlies last night with 26 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 blocked shot.  Mike Conley (20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot) and Sam Young (18 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot) also played well for the Grizzlies last night.  Marc Gasol was very tough around the basket as he finished up with 11 points, 17 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 blocked shot.  The Grizzlies are still up 3-2 in this series against the Spurs.

Game #4: Memphis Grizzlies 104, San Antonio Spurs 86

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Game Recaps,General,The NBA Playoffs by admin on Tuesday 26 April 2011 at 12:50 pm

The Grizzlies shot 50.6% from the floor and they outscored the Spurs 56-36 to surge to a awesome home victory.  Mike Conley led the way for the Grizzlies in this game with 15 points, 2 rebounds and 7 assists.  Darrell Arthur (14 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 blocked shot in 17 minutes), Tony Allen (12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals) and Zach Randolph (11 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals) also had solid games for the Grizzlies.  O.J. Mayo pitched in with 11 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal last night.  The Grizzlies are now up 3-1 in this series against the Spurs, as they are firmly in the driver’s seat.

Game #3: Memphis Grizzlies 91, San Antonio Spurs 88

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Game Recaps,General,The NBA Playoffs by admin on Monday 25 April 2011 at 12:57 am

The Grizzlies overcame some issues yesterday, like getting outrebounded 48-37, and they still beat the Spurs in Memphis.  Zach Randolph led the way for the Grizzlies yesterday with 25 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.  Marc Gasol (17 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 blocked shot) and Mike Conley (14 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals despite only shooting 4 of 12 from the floor) also had solid games for the Grizzlies.  O.J. Mayo pitched in with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists yesterday.  The Grizzlies are now up 2-1 in this series against the Spurs.

Game #2: San Antonio Spurs 93, Memphis Grizzlies 87

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Game Recaps,General,The NBA Playoffs by admin on Thursday 21 April 2011 at 2:56 pm

The Grizzlies only shot 39.8% from the floor last night and it killed them on the scoreboard.  Sam Young led the way for the Grizzlies last night with 17 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 blocked shot.  Tony Allen (15 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 blocked shot) and Mike Conley (13 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists) also had decent games for the Grizzlies last night.  Zach Randolph was a tad off last night as he only shot 5 of 14 from the floor while finishing up with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals).  Marc Gasol was a beast last night in the paint as he had 12 points, 17 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot for the Grizzlies.  The Grizzlies got the split in San Antonio as the series now shifts to Memphis for the weekend.

Game #1: Memphis Grizzlies 101, San Antontio Spurs 98

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Game Recaps,General,The NBA Playoffs by admin on Monday 18 April 2011 at 3:52 pm

The Grizzlies were fired up yesterday as they shot a stunning 55.2% from the floor as a team!  They also outscored the Spurs 31-24 in the 4th quarter to put them away!  Zach Randolph (25 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocked shots) and Marc Gasol (24 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocked shots) led the way for the Grizzlies yesterday.  Mike Conley did a great job of running the offense with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 10 assists yesterday.  O.J. Mayo (13 points) and Shane Battier  (10 points) also pitched in for the Grizzlies yesterday.  The Grizzlies are now up 1-0 in this series after this huge road win.

#8 Memphis Grizzlies (46-36) vs. #1 Boston Celtics (61-21)

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,The NBA Playoffs by admin on Saturday 16 April 2011 at 3:17 pm

The Grizzlies come into this series pretty confident as this is the first time they’ve made the NBA Playoffs since the 2005-06 season and they are 0-12.  The Spurs are veterans of these kinds of wars.  Here’s a look  at the matchups in this series:

POINT GUARD:  Mike Conley really broke out for the Grizzlies this year.  He played in 81 games (all starts) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 35.5 minutes, 13.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game.  Conley is in a good matchup as he and Tony Parker are very similar.

Tony Parker is going to have to step up for the Spurs in this series if they are going to win it.  Parker played in 78 games (all starts) for the Spurs last year and he averaged 32.4 minutes, 17.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game.  With Ginobili hurting the Spurs are going to need Parker to look for his own shot more than usual.

EDGE:  SLIGHT FOR SPURS

SHOOTING GUARD:  Tony Allen has really played solid basketball for the Grizzlies this year.  He played in 72 games (31 starts) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 20.8 minutes, 8.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game.  Allen is bigger than any guard the Spurs can put on him, so he might have a really good series.

Manu Ginobili is hurting but I still think that he’s going to gut it out and play.  He played in 80 games (79 starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 30.3 minutes, 17.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game.  The Spurs will have a hard time winning this series if Ginobili can’t give it a go.

EDGE:  SPURS

SMALL FORWARD:  Sam Young will likely get the call at small forward for the Grizzlies in this series.  Young played in 78 games (46 starts) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 20.2 minutes, 7.3 rebounds, 2.4 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game.  Young will need to step up in this series for the Grizzlies.

Richard Jefferson will likely be asked to do more offensively in this series if Manu Ginobili can’t go.  Jefferson played in 81 games (all starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 30.4 minutes, 11.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.  I think he’s going to step up.

EDGE: SLIGHT FOR SPURS

POWER FORWARD:  Zach Randolph has really turned into a beast since coming over to the Grizzlies as he is the go-to man.  Randolph played in 75 games (74 starts) for the Grizzlies this season and he averaged 36.3 minutes, 20.1 points, 12.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.  If Randolph outplays Tim Duncan, the Grizzlies are going to have a great chance of winning this series.

The Spurs tried to limit Tim Duncan’s minutes during the season to save him for the playoffs.  Duncan played in 76 games (all starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 28.4 minutes, 13.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 blocked shots per game.  I think the Spurs are down watching minutes with Duncan due to all of the days off in the playoffs, so look out!

EDGE:  EVEN

CENTER:  Marc Gasol has turned into a pretty good basketball player as he’s no longer in his brother’s shadow (Pau Gasol of the Lakers).  Gasol played in 81 games (all starts) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 31.9 minutes, 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.7 blocked shots per game.  The Grizzlies don’t have a legit backup center so Gasol is going to have to log big minutes in this series.

Antonio McDyess will likely get the call at center in this series.  He played in 73 games (16 starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 19.0 minutes, 5.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.  His main job will be to battle Gasol for every rebound while playing solid defense.

EDGE: GRIZZLIES

BENCH:  The Grizzlies will likely have a tight bench but the guys that play will likely get their share of minutes.  SG O.J. Mayo might get starter’s type minutes in this series.  He played in 71 games (17 starts) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 26.3 minutes, 11.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steal per game.  He’s capable of so much more.  PF Darrell Arthur will be the primary backup big for the Grizzlies in this series.  Arthur played in 80 games (9 starts) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 20.1 minutes, 9.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game.  SF/SG Shane Battier is going to be asked to play defense and hit some long range bombs in this series.  Battier played in 23 games (0 starts) for the Grizzlies after coming over from the Rockets and he averaged 24.2 minutes, 5.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.  PG Greivis Vasquez will likely give Conley a break when he needs one.  Vasquez played in 70 games (1 start) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 12.3 minutes, 3.6 points, 1.0 rebound and 2.2 assists per game.  PF Leon Powe might also get some play in this series.  He played in 16 games (0 starts) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 8.8 minutes, 5.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 0.3 assists per game. 

SG/PG George Hill might start in this series in Manu Ginobili’s place if he can’t go.  Hill will do a good job in whatever role the Spurs need him to fill.  Hill played in 76 games (5 starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 28.3 minutes, 11.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.  C/PF DeJuan Blair might start at center in this series, but if not, he will play big minutes anyway.  Blair played in 81 games (65 starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 21.4 minutes, 8.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.2 steals per game.  SF/PF Matt Bonner is the long range assassin off the bench for the Spurs.  He played in 66 games (1 start) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 21.7 minutes, 7.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.9 assists per game.  Rookie SG Gary Neal will bring instant offense and energy off the bench for the Spurs in this series.  Neal played in 80 games (1 start) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 21.1 minutes, 9.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.  Rookie center Tiago Splitter might get some minutes in this series.  He played in 60 games (6 starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 12.3 minutes, 4.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 0.4  assists per game.  SF Steve Novak is a long range bomber just like Matt Bonner.  He played in 23 games (0 starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 8.6 minutes, 4.0 points, 1.0 rebound and 0.1 assists per game. 

EDGE:  SPURS

COACHING:  Lionel Hollins did a great job to get the Grizzlies to the playoffs this year.  He has a career record of 117-150 (43.8%) during the regular season.  Like his Grizzlies, Hollins will be getting his first taste of the NBA Playoffs as a head coach.

Gregg Popovich is one of the best coaches in the NBA.  He has a career record of 797-383 (67.5%) during the regular season and he is 106-69 (60.6%) in the post-season.  Popovich has led the Spurs to 4 NBA Championships so far in his career.

EDGE:  HUGE FOR SPURS

PREDICITION:  I have a feeling that the Grizzlies are going to push the Spurs to the brink before falling just a tad short in Game #7 in San Antonio.

The Memphis Grizzlies didn’t get much help from the rookies this year

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Rookie Reports by admin on Saturday 16 April 2011 at 2:27 pm

20-year old shooting guard Xavier Henry’s season ended early due to a knee injury.  Henry played in 38 games (16 starts) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 13.9 minutes, 4.3 points, 1.0 rebound and 0.5 assists per game.  24-year old SG/PG Greivis Vasquez played in 70 games (1 start) for the Grizzlies this year and he averaged 12.3 minutes, 3.6 points, 1.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.  He played a little better as the year went on.  22-year old PG Ishmael Smith came over along with Shane Battier in a deal with the Rockets.  He played in 15 games (0 starts) for the Grizzlies last year and he averaged 7.5 minutes, 1.8 points, 0.3 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game.  Smith played in 43 games (3 starts) for the Rockets & Grizzlies and he averaged 10.3 minutes, 2.3 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.  The Grizzlies hope that these guys will improve as players and help them down the road.

Los Angeles Clippers 110, Memphis Grizzlies 103

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Game Recaps,General by admin on Thursday 14 April 2011 at 8:05 pm

The Grizzlies rested most of their key guys last night as the Clippers shot 54.3% from the flo0r which was the big reason for the loss.  Sam Young led the way for the Grizzlies with 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals last night.  Greivis Vasquez (17 points and 4 assists) and Shane Battier (13 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists) also pitched in for the Grizzlies last night.  O.J. Mayo (13 points), Marc Gasol (10 points) and Hamed Haddadi (10 points) also helped out for the Grizzlies last night.  The Grizzlies finished the 2010-11 regular season with a 46-36 record.

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