Preview & Chat: The Memphis Grizzlies

Kurt —  March 27, 2007

Looking back at Elgin Baylor. I think a lot of younger fans have no idea that the guy who is now the Clipper GM is really one of the all-time great offensive forces, a guy whose game paved the way for Jordan, Kobe and many more. Thanks to a find by one of my favorite bloggers, Bethlehem Shoals, you can catch the highlight video of when Baylor dropped 61 on the Celtics in the NBA finals. Watch his game — defenders fear his drives to the basket so they play back, and he just elevates and hits the jumper over them. Sound familiar?

Déjà vu. Didn’t we just see the Lakers take on Memphis…. ah, yes, I remember. I remember that Kobe scored 60, the Lakers torched the worst defense in the league for 121 points, and they still only won by 2.

Two keys from that game. First, the Lakers got good play from their bench — Kobe and Odom were paired with Bynum, Sasha and Shammond for the little run the Lakers made at the start of the fourth quarter to cement the lead they never relinquished (but boy did they try). Not so coincidentally, those were the only Lakers in the positive for +/- for the game (for the new people to this site, +/- is how the team does while a player is on the floor; for example if you play just 10 minutes but your team outscores the opponent by five in that stretch, you are +5). The Lakers should get another good night from their subs.

Second, the Lakers played terrible defense — as a team Memphis shot 60% (eFG%), they shot 36.4% from three. Of particular trouble were Pau Gasol (35 points on 17 of 23 shooting) and Mike Miller (33 points and 6 of 8 from three). But the Lakers wanted to be fair so they played bad defense against everyone.

Two things to see if the Lakers carry over from Sunday. First is defense, the Lakers only played it in flashes in the win against Golden State but that was an improvement. Will they build on that, or is the Pau Gasol show back in town? Remember, the Lakers have given up 100 points or more for 10 straight games.

Second, as the Warriors did Sunday, look for Memphis to try to deny Kobe the ball and run doubles and triples at him. He’ll give the ball up if other guys hit the shots, will Odom/Walton/anyone step up again to that challenge as they did Sunday?



23 responses to Preview & Chat: The Memphis Grizzlies

  1. Check out Paul’s comment (the last entry in the previous thread).

    He made a very good point about Lamar and Smush cutting to the basket when Kobe is doubled on the perimeter, rather than the usual hanging out at the 3pt line. Like Walton, cutting is not only contagious, but opens up the passing lanes for Kobe.

    I definitely think the Griz will attack Kobe like G.S. did. If they have the same result I suspect it will be another win for the Lakers, but we must adjust quickly, not wait for 10 minutes before recognizing what is happening.

  2. Thanks for the link to Elgin. All b’ball fans – certainly all Laker fans – should be required to watch that tape. Elgin and Wilt were the beginning of the modern basketball and deserve to be remembered like Billie Jean King. Well, maybe more than that because they could hold up in today’s game as well.

  3. Craig and Paul, are you suggesting the that Lakers should run the offense as Tex designed it? Blasphemers!

  4. Craig, I agree on Elgin. Although, to be fair to Billie Jean, what she did off the court to completely reshape women’s tennis (and by extension men’s) is really her biggest legacy. When she first won Wimbledon women did not get paid for it, or for many other tournaments, yet they were a big draw making money for the organizers. She led the charge to change that, and doing so reshaped the sport.

  5. FB&G: Keeping kwame a. in the loop:

    Read this, from the far better connected than I Frank Burlison. He’s hearing the same things I am, apparently:

  6. Kurt,
    Thanks for the Billie Jean King correction. I had added the last words after I reread the post and obviously should have left it alone.

  7. San Antonio is looking scary good right now… and unless they pass Phoenix in the standings, it’ll likely be LAL v. SA in the first round. Earlier this year that excited me. Now though, I’d rather not see them anywhere in the playoffs.

  8. At this point, the Lakers can’t play to maximize their first round opponent in the playoffs. (I’m not so sure the Suns would be easier for the Lakers than the Spurs anyway. ) The important thing is to build up the most momentum possible and finish the regular season strong.

  9. a couple of weeks ago, mentioning the playoffs was like trudging off to the prinicpal’s office…
    I’ve got quite a bit more hope going into these last dozen games, and the posts here over the last few weeks seem to echo that.

  10. Welcome to the Western Conference, where a first round match-up is always hell.

    Ever since Duncan/Shaq came into the West, this conference has been like murderer’s row.

    Makes for exciting basketball, no doubt.

    One of our key to this playoff success will be the rebounding by Lamar Odom. I couldn’t believe the way Lamar was rebounding on the offensive glass on SUN. it adds an entirely different spectrum to our game, and might be his secret weapon. I really covet our threesome of Kobe, Lamar, and Luke. It’s a trio NO team wants to play in any round of the playoffs.

  11. 10- I agree with the trio thing. And we have great core players: Kwame, Smush, Shammond, Evans, Turiaf, Bynum, and Vujajic. I think we could get pretty far into the playoffs if those guys stay healthy.

  12. No Mike Miller tonight for Memphis, that’s a big plus.

  13. Hey Kurt..a few months ago I posted a link showing W/L records when teams pull off certain stats (I brought up a point about how the lakers almost always win with a 35+ 3pt%, and you talked about how the lakers were 10 points more efficient at home than on the road at the time) you have that link lying around by any chance? I can’t find the site again

  14. My condolences to any fans that saved up their hard-earned money to see that effort from the Lakers at Staples tonight.

    Nice play at the end to get Smush the open shot, but it wouldn’t have been fair for the Lakers to play that poorly for most of the game and be granted a miracle at the end.

    Is the zone really that befuddling to this team? Memphis has some tall and athletic dudes, who collapsed well on the few occasions on which we didn’t just pass the ball around the perimeter and jack up a three. It didn’t help that the refs were calling the game pretty loosely, which our guys don’t seem to respond to very well either …

  15. Goo, here’s the link to that comment thread:

    And that link you posted:

    And by the way, the Lakers lost to Memphis despite shooting 37.1% from three.

  16. Where was Kwame tonight (kwame B. that is)?

    The Lakers shot better from behind the arc than from inside. 37% vs. 34%. Ouch. (if not for Luke, they’d have shot badly from all ranges).

  17. Kwame scratched after warmups due to ankle pain. He needs to be back and ready to go against Yao Friday.

  18. The Lakers clearly didn’t survive the Smusher curse this time: Smushaphobes don’t even watch if Smush is playing in the last 3 minutes of a game.

  19. This far into the season and they still haven’t figured out how to play against the zone.

  20. Yech. What an unpleasant game to watch. Two teams playing badly, with one just playing a little worse than the other. I’m with AM–sympathies to anyone who paid to watch that. I’m not by nature a negative person, but I kind of felt like neither team deserved to win playing that kind of basketball.

  21. thanks for the link Kurt, don’t sell yourself short, you’re blowing up more and more, lots of folks link you these days too!

  22. Is Kwame the X factor on this team? No Kwame, Lakers loos and Kobe has a poor shooting night. Maybe, Kobe meant it when he gave Kwame all those kudos about his picks.

  23. God, what the hell happened to lamar odom tonight? he d just hung around the perimeter all game. no cuts to the basket or any kind of step back jumper he’s so silky smooth at.

    Memphis’ Kinzie and Junior Harrington, watch out for those two!

    Rudy Gay looks like a player in this league if he ever gets an outside shot.