The Memphis Grizzlies will finally open the season tonight against the Atlanta Hawks at the FedEx Forum.
After going undefeated in the preseason, expectations are high from the fans and the organization. The Grizzlies hope to make the playoffs this year in order to stay true to owner Michael Heisley’s “three-year plan,” which is now entering its’ final year.
Rudy Gay earned his long-term, big money contract this off-season, and depending on which Zach Randolph shows up early this season for Memphis, he will get paid as well, probably around the All Star break.
Enough with the old information. If you are reading this blog, you already know about the Grizzlies. Let’s start the new season.
With 8 1/2 minutes left to go in the first, Z-Bo has went down hard on his tailbone after mixing it up with Al Horford for guess what, an offensive rebound. After a timeout it looks like he’ll be okay, but that is worth keeping an eye on, not just for this game but for the early part of this season.
Early injuries to star players will kill this team.
So far in the first quarter the Grizzlies have looked sluggish, indecisive and confused. Rudy Gay can’t buy a bucket and nobody wants to run. I’m not really seeing the playoff desire yet. That worries me because if there is a knock on this team, it’s the “want-to.”
Randolph was sent to the locker room. As a note, Marc Gasol did not start and will not play tonight, no word as to why on the broadcast. Also a note, Gay did not learn how to play defense yet. That apparently was not part of the contract.
Rudy picked up two fouls in eight minutes after missing shots and losing defenders. The crowd booed him as he walked to the bench and cheered new addition Tony Allen as he got his first real action in a Grizzlies uniform.
At the end of the first quarter, I find myself wondering if Hasheem Thabeet will ever make a shot two feet away from the rim. Also, nice play by Tony Allen at the end of the quarter; blown layup as time expired.
To make up for it, Allen stole the ball early in second and proceeded to miss two layups in a row.
The Hawks lead by 10 early as the Grizzlies can’t stop turning the ball over or start giving a crap. The crowd at the Forum has noticed. A resounding boo has been the response for opening night in Memphis in 2010. That is disappointing considering the crowd is pretty decent in size.
Sam Young can still finish! Nice to see a steal and a reverse jam on other end. Obviously you can’t expect that to translate on defense as Atlanta came right back and scored easily.
Surprisingly, Darrell Arthur seems to be the lone, consistent offensive performer halfway through the second quarter. Mike Conley contributed with some nice jump shooting, giving the Grizzlies a needed boost in the weakest phase of their offensive game.
Zaza Pachulia was all over the glass for the Hawks. Memphis had no answer for him throughout the first half. With two minutes left in the first half he had 11 points and eight rebounds with most of those coming against Randolph.
With under two minutes to play the Grizzlies attempted their first three-point shot, which was good from the corner by O.J. Mayo. He later missed the Grizzlies last shot of the half, which was a three from the elbow.
Rudy Gay picked up a technical foul with 27 seconds left in the first half for running with the ball after a foul call. Good call on the personal foul, but the technical was a result of the NBA and Commissioner David Stern cracking down on players complaining to officials.
At the end of the first half, the Hawks led the Grizzlies 62-50. How Atlanta is not up by 40 points I will never understand. Laughable effort in the first by Memphis.
The Grizzlies were on the court for the third quarter.
In the fourth, this one looks like a check-the-box-score-on-espn.com-the-next-day all over the place.
I found myself going back to the Bulls/Thunder game to see a couple teams that actually play together. The Grizzlies were less than impressive to say the least. They look more like individual players than a team than ever before.
Come to think of it, they only look like this when Marc Gasol doesn’t play. Can you say underrated?
Last year Gasol showed he had heart and skill. He willed the team to victory at least six times last season. That is significant considering it was his second year in the NBA and his first year not being overweight. He will be a legit center in the league for a long time, I just hope he does ALL of that time in a Memphis jersey.
Sorry about the tirade, I just needed to focus on the positive. I didn’t want to settle for a jumpshot before the defense settled in, so to speak.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t last all year, folks. Out of sync, out of mind. Grizzlies lose to the Hawks 119-104.
About the Author
Written by Jacob Wells
I grew up in Memphis and I have always been a Grizzlies fan, even back in the Vancouver days. When they moved to Memphis I was as excited as anybody. It has been tough for a long time, but I never get tired of looking forward to next season. I graduated from Middle Tennessee State University and still live in the area. Go Grizzlies.