Shouldn’t a Grizzly Bear dominate a Pelican? Also congratulations to Z-bo who left the game just in time to see the birth of his Z-baby.
The Grizzlies started off on an okay foot, with the offense looking good when we weren’t turning it over. Unfortunately for Memphis, we were turning it over, as by the midway point of the quarter the Pelicans had 8 easy points off 5 Grizzly turnovers. From the midway point onwards however, (with Q coming in for Tay) we lacked ball movement, either trying to feed the post as our first and only option, or from the result of weak screens (mainly from Gasol) – not allowing Conley to drive and kick along the perimeter. Joerger continued to slowly sub the bench unit in, notably with Leuer rather than Ed, and even though I thought Koufos played really well as a gritty big man, the 14 points off 8 turnovers were horrible for the Grizz, and the quarter ended 35-18.
J-bay, Q, Miller, Leuer and Koufos started the second quarter with nice transition play that ended with a nice Bayless 3. TA was subbed in for Leuer, as this unit played well against the C’s, but the shots just weren’t falling, as bench players were a combined 1/7 from the field. The defence was great this quarter, but they really missed Zach on the boards, as they gave up 2 consecutive offensive rebounds to Jason Smith (sigh) with Miller and Koufos up front. From the midway point the Grizzlies played with a Mike, TA, Tay, Koufos and Marc line-up that was great on the defensive side, but there was still no movement on the offensive side, through lazy entry passes and no one bothering to guard Tay and TA on the perimeter. This showed later on when Koufos was subbed for Ed, as Gasol was essentially triple teamed in the paint and his shot was smacked out of there by Anthony Davis. The Grizzlies started to get some rhythm and Marc finally made contact on a screen leading to a Conley jumper, but the Pelicans ruined the momentum with two quick transition buckets. The last play of the half was beautiful, leading to a Conley lay in and restoring my faith in Joerger (he also had a nice inbounds play earlier that led to a Conley mid range J that he missed). 51-41 Pelicans at the half.
The third had Ed starting at PF for Z-bo, and he still had that same kinda jumpy way of moving that makes him look uncomfortable out there. He did have some moments playing in the high post, however, feeding Gasol down low twice, but was getting dominated by Anthony Davis on the other end who scored around 4 buckets on him in 8 minutes. Marc made contact on another screen finally and hit a nice jumper, but still looked lethargic, and for the record, his one rebound was a Tyson Chandler offensive swipe that just went out of bounds. There wasn’t really much else to note except for a nice swing of the ball for an entry pass (more of these please) and Dave Joerger blowing up at the referees. 30 seconds left and a lineup of Calathes/Mike/Miller/Leuer/Gasol took the court in all their white/high IQ – ness and this is a lineup I like, Calathes and Mike together on the floor.
We were down by 20ish and the white flags were flown with a unit of Calathes, Jamaal, Miller, Leuer (later for Koufos) and Ed. Calathes showcased his great court vision again, throwing passes cross court for two Mike Miller 3’s in what looked like a nice combo, whilst Jamaal looked like he can fill his shoes of the Grindson for now, with nice D and a man’s offensive rebound and putback. Ed Davis showcased a bit more comfort in the high post, with two powerful drives on Anthony Davis, whilst this unit held the Pelicans starters + Tyreke (?) scoreless for 6 minutes to make things interesting. The lead was cut to single digits before the Pelicans scored two quick buckets and I switched off when Calathes through it over Koufos’ head (Miller also overestimated his jumping ability in the 2nd quarter with an oop). I can’t be bummed looking up the final score.
Played really nice again, it looks as though he’s worked hard on finishing inside, one of the weaker points of his game last season, with a few difficult finishes this game as well as against the C’s.
First minutes, first bucket, first time shutting down a player one on one (Tyreke).
JOERGER’S PLAY CALLS:
were all fairly sexy (except for the one that went straight to Ed, even though he scored).
He had a few nice spurts of action, but looked lethargic and disinterested tonight, hopefully just a one game thing. His screens really were awful tonight, and were the reason for the pick and roll breaking down, if no contact is made, then there can be no penetration. The commentators were saying they needed more straight up drives but they just needed Gasol to hit Conley’s man to create some separation so he can maneuver. Also 1 board is fairly hopeless for a 7-footer, but it was good to see he was pissed off about it as well.
After the first quarter the team seemed to want to stop moving the ball, and would either play a lazy entry pass into the post, or swing the ball slowly around the perimeter. One of these instances resulted in Bayless having to jack up a mid range jumper over his man and Anthony Davis, a horrible possession. Joerger’s coaching philosophy is all about ball movement, I think the players just need to stick with it throughout the whole game and get comfortable with it early, because it has really looked great in instances.
THE ‘STARTING EARLY IN THE SHOT CLOCK’ THING:
I do like seeing the bench players getting minutes, but I think sometimes the constant substitutions wrecked any momentum for the Griz. In particular, I liked the twin towers of Gasol and Koufos at the end of the second, as they were able to shut down the juggernauts of Stiemsma (?) and Smith, as well as the lineup with Calathes and Conley in the fourth. Both were tinkered with fairly quickly.
There was a big discussion over Ed Davis, so I thought I’d put some more thoughts about it now. He does look a little clumsy and robotic on the pick and rolls, but I think if he puts some more size on in his chest and hips, he’d be more effective, in stopping the guard from going through him. I thought his play on the high post was really interesting tonight, and he worked really well feeding Gasol down low. There were two nice entry passes and another instance where he came into the right spot perfectly to feed him again. The fourth quarter also featured two drives by Davis, and great finishes with his left (prominent) hand.
On defense, the other Davis was abusing him to start the 3rd, which demonstrated again why he needs more of that Z-bo mass at the hips and in the upper body. I thought his pick and roll rotations were a lot smoother tonight, with one particular great play coming when he got to the spot before Stiemsma, essentially ruining the pick and roll for that possession and forcing iso ball. Also, I do think he puts in the effort as he nearly threw Aminu to the ground to grab a rebound (became a jumpball) amongst three Pelican players.
(sorry for the poor editing and lack of pictures - still figuring it out)
You can also find my blog here : http://gritgrindgrizzlies.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/memphis-vs-a-bunch-of-pelicans/