Lace up the track shoes. Under Mike Fratello, the Grizzlies averaged 88.2 possessions per game, third slowest pace in the league. They also had the worst record in the NBA.
Under coach Tony Barone, things are different. Iâ€™ll let Kevin Pelton explain, in an article from Courtside Times:
In case youâ€™re curious, the Grizzlies have averaged 97.2 possessions per 48 minutes in five games under Barone, up 10.2% from the 88.2 they averaged under Fratello. Their Offensive Rating (points per 100 possessions) has gone from 105.0 to 118.7, their Defensive Rating from 109.6 to 121.2. If maintained over a full season, the Barone Grizzlies would have far and away the leagueâ€™s best offense and worst defense.
Whatever happened toâ€¦ Dancing Barry. Ever wonder what happened to the guy in the white tux who danced his way through the Showtime era at the Forum. Weâ€™ll, heâ€™s doing well, if a little bitter.
In case you missed it. After the Lakers beat the Nuggets Friday night, George Karl called the Lakers the best passing team in the NBA.
For what itâ€™s worth. These two met way back in the eighth game of the Lakers season, the Lakers winning a grind-it-out game 91-81. Lamar Odom had 20 points on 57.7% (eFG%) shooting, pulled down 16 rebounds and had seven assists. Kobe added 21. Pau Gasol didnâ€™t play.
Because of all the changes, Iâ€™m not sure that game means squat tonight.
What to expect tonight. Honestly, I donâ€™t know. I havenâ€™t seen the new-look Grizzlies. On paper, guys like Hakim Warrick and Stromile Swift and Rudy Gay should thrive in the more open, up-tempo system. The Griz have some athletes to start building around (the question is will they change team philosophies again next summer, or in two years).
Memphis is 2-3 since the coaching changeover, with wins over weâ€™ll-run-with-you Toronto and Golden State. The Lakers did a good job slowing the Nuggets in transition (by making shots, pounding the offensive glass then getting back) and they need to do that again tonight.
Pau Gasol is back and in his lat 10 is shooting 60% and is pulling down 6.8 rebounds per game. This will be a good challenge for Bynum defensively, here is a guy who can hit the outside shot (shooting 50% on jumpers) or get some points inside (74.3% close to the basket).
Last meeting between these two Mike Miller led Memphis with 21 points, shooting 71% (eFG%). Heâ€™s been a thorn in the Lakers side for a while, so slowing him would be nice.
Luke Walton said it after the Dallas game â€” the Lakers can beat the Mavs, Suns and Jazz of the world, but to be considered elite they have to stop losing to the Charlottes of the world. This is one of those game, the Lakers can and should win this one.