NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 4:
Utah Jazz (1-2) @ Memphis Grizzlies (1-1)
You wouldn't love these if I did these 82 times a season (right?), well, we have an awesome Jam Session today with SB Nations Straight Outta Vancouver 's Marcus Privitt (@MarcusPrivitt). My answers to his questions are on their site over here -- so please check that out. So . . . let's start this jam session . . .
1. A number of national commentators have talked about the Jazz and their glut of talented bigs. I think the same could easily be said for the Memphis Grizzlies as well once Darrell Arthur returns. In a playoff series I know I don't want to mess with a group featuring Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Marreesse Speights, and DA. How's Arthur's rehab being going? Even if he's not able to come back and kill it, I'm still quite worried about how awesome your bigs can be.
The Grizzlies get a lot of light because of their bigs. We're no joke in the paint and can hang with the best of the league down low. Although I still think we're figuring out "how to mesh" all the size inside, there is tons of potential.
Darrell Arthur's rehab is going surprisingly well since the shocking news of the leg fracture. He went on the road trip with the team this past weekend and has been cleared for low-impact workouts. This past Friday, he worked out on the court with some of the players absolutely drenched in sweat. In my opinion, there couldn't be a better sign. Officials have targeted his return for somewhere around the end of November - beginning of December.
2. Was last seasons' first round exit a disappointment after making the second round the year before? What are your lasting memories from that tough seven game series?
The Grizzlies snagged the second round in the 2011 playoffs just at the right time: when we got hot and the Spurs got cold. We rode the hot streak and forced seven games in the series with the Thunder, but went home after a hard loss. Regardless, I was surprisingly pleased with the year's results - especially fighting through the entire postseason without Rudy Gay.
Because of this, no doubt loss this past year was a disappointment. Bias aside, I truly believe we were the better team in the series against the Clippers. We outplayed them on almost all areas of the court, unfortunately, just not at the right points in the games. The worst memory I'll take from the series (besides seeing Chris Paul and Blake Griffin complain with EVERY call) would probably be game 1 in which we lost after claiming a 27-point lead. When we lost THAT game, I knew the series would be a hard one mentally as well as physically. The best memory, though, came after Memphis fans booed Blake Griffin when he limped off the court. Readers over at ClipsNation weren't too happy with it and came to Straight Outta Vancouver to pick a bone. We worked through the argument and ended up developing several great relationships in the blogosphere world. Because of the exchange, I now frequent ClipsNation and have much respect for the blog's writers and readers.
3. This off-season O.J. Mayo signed with the Dallas Mavericks after four years in Memphis. Looking back, how will you remember Mayo? As the #3 pick that didn't dominate? A solid starter? Or something else? I'm interested to know because right now the Jazz team is filled with lotto picks who aren't dominating.
As a fan, I'd remember OJ as the "wild-card" player. When Lionel Hollins put him into the game, there was always a big chance he was going to light it up and score big beyond-the-arc. His doing this was always a sight for sore eyes when it came to Grizzlies fans, because our 3-pt shooting has been awful.
Because there was a chance to get hot, however, there was an equal chance he wasn't going to be a force when he stepped on the court. This happened more often than not, but, because he was frequently our only hope for a game OUTSIDE the paint, he was given a lot of minutes.
I'll miss him, but I think the bench is stronger and, with it, outside shooting. Definitely worth the trade.
4. On Monday we tangle. Which team has the better bench?
I gotta go with Utah. Memphis' bench has been notoriously horrific the past several years. Although recently we made some key additions to the bench (Jerryd Bayless and Wayne Ellington), we're only 2 games into the season. Haven't seen much from them to make any claims about their skill when lined up against the Jazz bench players. Plus, I've always been a big fan of Randy Foye and Derrick Favors. If the Grizzlies are going to win, it's going to be because of the starting lineup.
5. How many games do you guys have to win for Lionel Hollins to get some respect around the league, and possibly get a CoY trophy?
Interesting you bring this up - I wrote a piece earlier this month referencing the fact Lionel is just now starting to get respect from writers and media alike. He's a genius and has worked hard to develop Memphis into a team full of players who fully buy into the "grit n' grind" defensive mindset. But this means nothing if he can't win games. In my opinion, the Grizzlies need a top-3 western conference seed and a deep playoff run for him to start getting recognized. Look at guys like Rick Carlisle and Scott Brooks. To shine big, they needed the big stage. For Lionel it's the same way: what's more important here is results, not necessarily wins.
Thanks a lot Marcus, and once again, please visit Straight Outta Vancouver for all your Grizz coverage! And Go Jazz Go!