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Wrap-Up: A.I's Return Ruined by Martin, Kings

Allen Iverson finally made his season debut for the Grizzlies on Monday evening, but even his efforts were thwarted by Kevin Martin and Kings. Not a lot to take away from this one except to forget about it and get over it.

More on the other side, over The Jump.

Coming into this game, things had to have been looking up for the Grizzlies. They just took Denver, an elite squad to the brink, they have a game against the league's worst defense, the Sacramento Kings, and they had the return of Allen Iverson, a future hall of famer and elite scorer.

Kevin Martin of the Kings would have none of it. The guy went off for 48 points after a slow start to the 1st, including 7 3-pointers. That makes 2 games, 2 opposing scorers reaching the 40-point barrier in a row. The only defense that might be even worse than the Kings' right now, sadly, might be the Grizzlies. The offense is flowing and they are scoring a load of points, but I feel that is because they aren't giving an effort defensively, thus turning games into a run-n-gun affair. There's some other things I took away from this game as well:

  • First and foremost the bench. A total of 14 points, 11 from A.I., while the Kings' bench scored 67 points. In fact, Kevin Martin was the only starter above 7 points. The bench did everything.
  • Iverson was efficient, and should probably be inserted into the starting lineup eventually. Mike Conley would be less pressured coming off the bench and would provide a little more flexibility in the rotations.
  • Rebounding was actually a plus for the Grizz as they dominated the boards, which typically leads to a lot of W's, but not in this case. Rudy Gay hauled in 13, Zach Randolph took down 16, and Marc Gasol had 16 as well. They out-rebounded the Kings by 17, a huge amount. And on the topic of Gasol, he continues to prove that he may be the Grizzlies most important and valuable player thus far.
  • One final negative is the 3 point percentage. I know it is inflated a bit due to Martin's extremely hot shooting night, but when an opponent shoots over 50% from 3, you will lose so much more than you will win. The whole defensive effort is just a joke right now.
Don't get me wrong, it was a good effort, but they yet again let a one-man show be the difference maker, similar to the Carmelo Anthony effect. They started off the game really well through most of the 1st quarter, but a young team needs to learn how to finish out games.

The Grizzlies have the Golden State Warriors coming up, which should be another high scoring affair with little defense. Look for some kind of improvement in some areas, however. If not, this could be the beginning of something bad. There's too much youth and talent to be giving away games such as the one vs the Kings.