These weekly reviews are always more fun to put together with the run these Grizzlies are on. Memphis went 3-0 this past week, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers (99-93), Portland Trail Blazers (112-99), and Sacramento Kings (97-85), all on the road. They are 15-2 heading into December, the best mark in franchise history.
Our reviewers this week are GBB staff writers Jonah Jordan and Matthew Bishop, and #GrizzNation member and writer for local, all-lady fan blog allheartinhoopcity.com Sharon Brown. Follow them on Twitter at the handles that accompany their names.
Sharon Brown @FoxxyShyD: Grizzlies have won three straight on the road. They also are now 11-0 against Western Conference teams. The Memphis Grizzlies being perfect in the West is a very good thing. This season of historic firsts is a thing of beauty, and this team's resolve is remarkable! I love it. An aggressive Marc Gasol is also spectacular to watch.
Matthew Bishop @TAismyhomeboy: Rotations. There was much hand wringing and blog posting (all 300,000 of us) about the rotations that Head Coach Dave Joerger (HCDJ) would send out on the court this season. So far, his decision to put Courtney Lee in the starting lineups has paid off, and his use of Beno with Mike Conley on the court has been revelatory as well. What I have been most impressed with is his use of minutes, especially this week. Check out the guys that have gotten more than 30 minutes during this road trip:
Wednesday at the Lakers: Gasol (37), Lee (31), Conley (30)
Friday at the Blazers: Conley (38), Gasol (36), Allen (34), Randolph (32), Lee (30)
Sunday at the Kings: Randolph (35), Lee (33), Conley (32), Gasol (31).
Think that's a lot? Compare it to these starters for the opponents:
Lakers: Bryant (36), Hill (33), Lin (32)
Blazers: Aldridge (36), Lilliard (36), Matthews (36), Batum (36).
Kings: McLemore (41!), Collison (38), Gay (33)...and add Evans with 34 in the place of the ejected Hollins
It seems like HCDJ has a strategy for managing minutes that is well balanced with winning games, and this will pay dividends towards the end of the season.
Jonah Jordan @jmj1757: The Grizzlies were 3-0 on what could be considered a tough road trip. It was 3 games in 5 days in which the team went from Memphis-Los Angeles-Portland-Sacramento. That's tough even if it did involve playing the Lakers. Handily beating the Trail Blazers at home is the best part of all of it. The Blazers are one of the other top teams in the West, and some people expected the Grizzlies to drop that game. Instead, they went in and took care of business. The win in Portland garnered some attention, and should give the Grizzlies that number one spot in the power rankings that Grizzlies fans so desire.
Sharon Brown @FoxxyShyD: Free throw shooting! Come on man, we cannot continue to leave points on the board! In the Portland game, they shot 61.5% from the charity stripe, and in the Kings game they shot 64.3%. That's just atrocious. I don't want to be a negative Nancy, but that may come back to bite them in a close game.
Matthew Bishop @TAismyhomeboy: The third quarter against the Kings. It is very hard to find something to complain about within a 3-0 West Coast trip and a 5-game winning streak. However, with the Grizzlies cruising in the first half against the Kings on Sunday, they had a good, old fashioned points drought in the third quarter. No FGs from a Mike Conley runner at 7:50 until a Courtney Lee layup with 3:40 left to go in the quarter.
This is particularly frustrating because the offense clicked so well for most of the game. It is just a weird game alogether when the turning point of the contest is Ryan Hollins getting ejected. I swear there have only been five Reggie Evans games at the most, and four of them have been against the Grizzlies.
Jonah Jordan @jmj1757: The game against the Lakers. The Lakers are not a good basketball team, plain and simple. The Grizz should have won that game by double digits, but messed around and only won by six. Playing down to your competition isn't a good look and will catch up with you at some point.
Sharon Brown @FoxxyShyD: Reggie Evans. He had 17 points and had 20 boards in the Kings game. He's one of the ultimate Grizz Killers we all know from his Clippers days. Memphis only scored 16 points in the 3rd quarter that game, and on the shots that the Grizzlies missed, Reggie surely grabbed the rebound. He was killing them on both ends of the floor.
Matthew Bishop @TAismyhomeboy: Chris Kaman.
U-G-L-Y/You ain't got no alibi/you ugly (clap clap) you ugly (clap clap.)
But seriously...tough guy...face only a mother could love.
Jonah Jordan @jmj1757: Vince Carter has been U-G-L-Y this week. He can't hit the broadside of a barn right now, and it's hurting some of the lineups he plays with. All the little things that he was doing to make up for his poor shooting have now stopped. It could be a slump, or his ankles are worse than we know. Either way, Vince has got to get going this week, or I see his already limited minutes decreasing going forward.
Bonus Question of the Week
So many Grizzlies have great nicknames but a big key to the great start is nickname-less. If you had your way, what would be Courtney Lee's?
Shanon Brown @FoxxyShyD: I already gave him a nick name and that's Offensive Assassin. His shots are like an assassin's; he rarely misses. Every shot he puts up, I think it's going in. His jumpers are smooth as butter.
Matthew Bishop @TAismyhomeboy: I was toying with "Leesus" after the Hoop City Miracle, but it's been done. So I'm going with The General, mostly because he makes the offense for the Grizzlies go and always hits a big shot when the boys are in a jam.
Jonah Jordan @jmj1757: I'm a fan of CL33PO. I think Austin Reynolds came up with that one. (Editor's note- Until proven otherwise, he did.)