This week's installment of Week in Review features Keith Edwards, Grace Baker, and myself (Joe Mullinax.)
The Memphis Grizzlies are 12-2 overall and went 3-1 this past week, with victories over the Houston Rockets (119-93), Boston Celtics (117-100), and Los Angeles Clippers (107-91), and their sole loss coming in Toronto at the hands of the Raptors (96-92.)
Grace Baker: Marc Gasol and Jon Leuer. This week, Marc had two 30-point games in back-to-back fashion. Over the past three games, he has averaged 28 points and 10.7 rebounds. He only had 9 points Monday when Memphis blew out Houston, but nevertheless, he's had a standout week. Aggressive Marc is in full force. Another great thing this week was the fact that Jon Leuer finally started making shots! In the games he played this week (he was out Wednesday), he averaged 13.7 PPG, whereas in all the games previously he averaged only 2.7 points. It seems Jonny Badger is back.
Keith Edwards: The bench came to life. Jon Leuer transformed back into the Pale Avenger we all know and love, and the Grizzlies' three wins came by an average of 19 points. The Grizzlies also won the rebounding battle in each of their games this week, which is a tremendous sign after their early season struggles on the boards.
Joe Mullinax: Zach Randolph's willingness to relent. During the Clippers game I tweeted out the following:
Marc Gasol has finally taken this team and made it his. #Finally.— Joe Mullinax (@JoeMullinax) November 24, 2014
The performance of Gasol is getting a lot of attention, as it rightfully should; a sixth of the way through the season, he is an MVP candidate. However, in order for Marc to be able to take such a step forward, someone was going to have to take a step back. So far it has been Z-Bo - he's had less shots per game so far in fewer minutes. Of course, part of this is the blow out nature of the 3 Grizzly wins this week; Zach averaged 27.3 minutes per game in those games. He also averaged a little more than 11 shots per game in those wins, about 3 shots less as compared to his career average in 5 less minutes.
Rebounding and physicality are Zach's strong suits at this point in his career, and while he can flash his super Z-Bo self every now and again, the emergence of "Aggressive Marc" must stay constant. Zach seems to understand this at this point in his career, which is a compliment to the leader and player he is. He's a key cog to this finely tuned Grizzlies machine, fewer shots and all.
Grace Baker: The Grizz sickness that spread through the team this week. This stomach bug spread like wildfire. The five players out for Wednesday's game had to fly back to Memphis on a separate plane. At one point, there were SEVEN players on the injury list due to illness. Yet, even with five players out Wednesday night, the Grizzlies nearly pulled out a win against a great Raptors team. But Memphis just didn't have enough to close it out due to some good shots by Toronto, some stagnant offense by the Grizz, and fatigue. Fortunately, we had the whole crew back Sunday to beat down the Clippers.
Keith Edwards: Marc Gasol. That's right. I'm hijacking the bad category to talk about how Max Deal Marc is a baaad, baaad man. The Big Fella averaged 28 ppg this week (not counting the Houston blow out) and was flat out dominant on offense. In addition to his scoring prowess, he's started to flash the skills that made him Defensive Player of the Year two years ago. He will get all of the monies.
Joe Mullinax: Vince Carter's shooting percentage. It was still a struggle for VC this past week, as he shot 8-26 (30.7%) from the field overall and 3-12 (25%) from beyond the arc. As Kevin Yeung explained so well on the site this week in this article it is likely that VC comes back shooting-wise eventually, but his cold streak still bears monitoring. Memphis will be that much stronger once Carter is back to being a consistent offensive threat.
Grace Baker: The last 3:45 of the Raptors game on Wednesday. In 3:45, the Grizzlies only scored one field goal. Toronto, in that time, scored 11 points. The Grizzlies tried to tie up the game with less than a minute left with a Randolph pull up shot, but it was off the mark. Kyle Lowry had the dagger with 8.9 seconds left in the game as they went on to win 96-92. In this stretch of 3:45, Gasol missed two free throws as well. Fatigue had to have contributed to the poor finish as Gasol and Conley logged over 40 minutes in the loss.
Keith Edwards: Powder blue sleeved jerseys. And all of the effects of the bear flu that infected the team this week.
Joe Mullinax: Toronto's assist-to-made shot percentage. Well, it was ugly for Memphis at least; it probably was beautiful to the Raptors. Toronto assisted on 24 of their 38 made field goals, or 63% of their shots. The Grizzlies, meanwhile, assisted on 16 of their 35 made field goals, or 46% of their shots. Things came too cleanly offensively for stretches of the Toronto game, more than likely because Memphis was undermanned, but that hurt the Grizzlies in their one loss of the week..
Random Bonus Question of the Week
From our own C. Grrrrrbrrr-
Upon seeing Big Baby in the powder blue sleeves, Boris Diaw turned to Tony Parker and, in French, said _____________________?
Grace Baker: "Davis needs to lay off the croissants."
Keith Edwards: Diaw: I'm not that fat, am I? Parker: You're not small...
Joe Mullinax: "He found the weight Gasol lost, it would seem."