Posts Tagged ‘Zach Randolph’

Horry Scale: Lee saves Grizzlies


VIDEO: Courtney Lee reverses a lay-in off an inbounds pass at the buzzer to defeat the Kings

Courtney Lee’s mental clock must tick smooth like a Rolex … a real one!

Because the Memphis Grizzlies swingman didn’t miss a beat with his buzzer-beating heroics in his team’s epic 111-110 comeback win over the Sacramento Kings Thursday night at the FedEx Forum.

Lee’s beautifully-timed work not only secured the Grizzlies’ rally from a 22-point first quarter deficit that sent fans onto Beale Street feeling giddy about their Grizzlies, it also landed him a prime position on the Horry Scale.

Welcome, Courtney Lee, to the pantheon of clutch shot-makers who have helped make the modern highlight (and the game-winning bucket) the staple it has become in our daily sports diet.

Around here, such plays are evaluated according to difficulty, game situation, importance and celebration. Then they get an overall grade, represented with 1-5 Robert Horry stars, in honor of the vagabond marksman who helped the Rockets (two), Lakers (three) and Spurs (two) capture seven titles in his years with them.

Again, the Horry Scale does not measure only a game-winning shot; the Horry Scale measures several facets of a GWBB. So we’re talking about not only the shot, but also the play that creates the shot, the situation and the drama, the celebrations … basically, the total package

DIFFICULTY

Catch and shoot. It was the only option with so little time (:00.3 to be exact) on the clock. Well, try catching it under the basket and getting a reverse layup to go in over your head with the game on the line. It helped that the Kings fell for each and every jab step and head fake from each and every Grizzlies player, thus freeing Lee up to get to his spot unabated for the game-winning shot attempt.The catch and shoot part of it all was on Lee, and that was plenty difficult, considering the body contortion necessary tor completion of the play. The getting there, however, was courtesy of the Kings … who are clearly in a giving mood this week. This was their second straight come-from-ahead-loss of the week. They led Dallas by 18 points after the first quarter Tuesday and wound up losing 106-98. They are the first team in NBA history to lose back-to-back games that they led by 18 or more points in the first quarter.

GAME SITUATION

Perhaps everyone was still in shock that the Grizzlies had come all the way back. How else do you explain them having those precious .3 seconds to work with on a do-or-die shot? If Vince Carter’s pass is off every so slightly, it’s game over. If a defender knocks Lee off course as he makes his break to the basket, there’s no way he gets his hands on the ball and gets that shot off in time. The play worked in real time exactly the way Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger scribbled it up on the whiteboard in the huddle. Marc Gasol set the perfect screen on Darren Collison. When Jason Thompson and Collison crashed into each other trying to recover, it was already too late. Lee gathered himself and was in the air with his arms outstretched. He grabbed the ball and kissed it off the glass all in the same motion. Game over.

IMPORTANCE

For a Grizzlies team trying to stay atop of and set the pace in the Western Conference standings, stealing this game was huge. No team with designs on a top four seed in the playoff chase can afford to let a game like this slip away. Coming all the way back and not finishing the deal would have been a crusher.

CELEBRATION

It’s hard to tell if the look of disbelief on Lee’s face was based on his acrobatic layup going in ahead of the final buzzer or because he got completely wide open on the play. The crowd, already on its feet, went bonkers as the ball went off the glass and through the net. Lee made the rounds from the corner of the floor all the way to the Grizzlies bench, hopping in and out of the arms of his teammates along the way. It wasn’t the nifty leap onto the the scorers table we saw from Lance Stephenson. Lee had to get to the bench and watch the review on the jumbotron. He and Tayshaun Prince looked skyward and Lee raised both hands like a boxer who had just heard his name called as the winner.

GRADE

Courtney Lee is an unlikely hero on a Grizzlies team with several more high-profile options. It’s a testament to this Grizzlies team that no one minds sharing the glory. It could have just as easily been Tony Allen or even Zach Randolph on the receiving end of that pass from Carter…

Given the early deficit, the comeback and the extreme degree of difficulty on that final play, the catch and the kiss … off the glass, it’s hard to give anything high marks to Lee and the Grizzlies for a game-winning play that makes its namesake proud. Give it four Horrys.
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Memphis Grizzlies Step Up Their Giveaway Game

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last season, the Memphis Grizzlies had one of the more unique in-game giveaways when they handed out temporary neck tattoos in honor of swingman James Johnson.

This season, the Grizzlies are continuing the interesting giveaways. There’s a list of all the swag here, but here are a few nights worth singling out…

• Nov. 11 vs. Los Angeles Lakers — Ashley Furniture Military Salute Night, where the first 5,000 fans in attendance will be rewarded with a Grizzlies Camo Hat.

• Dec. 19 vs. Chicago Bulls — The Grizzlies will be helping fans prepare for the holiday season with fan-favorite Grizzlies Wrapping Paper, presented by Mercury Printing, to the first 5,000 fans.

• Jan. 31 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder — Grizzlies Wrestling Belts will be given to the first 3,000 fans as part of Wrestling Night.

• Feb. 27 vs. Los Angeles Clippers — Grizzlies Flip Flops will be handed out to the first 5,000 fans.

• Mar. 27 vs. Golden State Warriors — The first 5,000 fans will receive a Tree Sapling at the Grizzlies Go Green Game, presented by International Paper.

• Mar. 14 vs. Milwaukee Bucks — First 5,000 fans in attendance receive the Marc Gasol Growth Chart, presented by First Tennessee.

• April 3 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder — The first 5,000 fans will be given the Super Grizz Cape Set.

• April 4 vs. Washington Wizards — Z-Bow-Ties will be given to the first 5,000 fans in attendance.

(via Friendly Bounce)

J.J. Dynamites Clippers In Showdown


VIDEO: James Johnson crushes Willie Green’s layup attempt

When the Clippers marched into Memphis for a Friday night clash, the stakes were obvious. Prior to the contest, defensive stalwart Tony Allen was on the shelf for 21 straight games with a sprained left wrist. But when the Clippers, the Grizzlies’ first-round playoff opponent the last two years, came calling, he wasn’t going to sit out any longer.

The game lived up to its physically demanding, plenty of trash talk billing. Z-Bo, Marc Gasol and Allen made an impact, for sure, but it was the guy who was signed out of the D-League in December who beat the loudest drum.

A man who is no stranger to the spectacular, James Johnson arrived into the Grizz’ locker room December and has been wowing since. He is a nightly highlight machine, giving a hard-hat bunch a creative playmaker from the wing, thus another dimension as they get set to make a playoff push in the second half.

On a night the organization honored him by giving fans a temporary “GRIZZLIES” neck tatoo (Johnson has his son “NAYMIN” inked around his neck), he flat out showed out, executing a play that will be remembered in the Top Plays Theatre for the foreseeable future:


VIDEO: James Johnson gets creative and throws down dunk off backboard

Harden, Bosh Headline All-Lefty Squad


VIDEO: Lefties dominate throughout as Grizzlies cruise past Pistons

At tipoff of the vaunted meeting between Grizzlies and Pistons today, there were six left-handed players at center court.

Michael Conley, Brandon Jennings, Greg Monroe, Tayshaun Prince, Zach Randolph, and Josh Smith played a part in history. Never before has there ever been this many non-right-handed players to start an NBA game.

OK, maybe that’s not true. But if it has happened, I’ve never seen or heard of it. As a fellow left-handed practitioner, I won’t complain. It’s about time.

So how did the lefties fare? As the 112-84 score indicates, the odd ones in Memphis reigned. The Grizzlies’ southpaw quad — Conley, Ed Davis, Prince, Randolph — combined for 63 of their 112 points. The Pistons’ trio — Jennings, Monroe, Smith — put up 36 of their 84 points. Jennings struggled, scoring four points, but led both teams with 11 assists.

To cap off the seminal clash, Davis gave a lefty send-off to the diminished Detroit crowd:


VIDEO: Ed Davis finishes “lucky” dunk with left hand

Who starts on your 2013-14 All-Lefty team? My starting five: Conley (slight edge over Goran Dragic), James Harden, Manu Ginobili (maybe a stretch to play at the 3, but I’ll chance it), Randolph and Chris Bosh. There are a few to choose from in addition to the names above, including David Lee, DeAndre JordanIsaiah Thomas and Thaddeus Young.

Who starts for you?  

Memphis Grizzlies Get A New Theme Song


ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Memphis Grizzlies have taken the NBA postseason by storm, winning eight of their last nine games and grit-and-grinding their way right into the Western Conference finals. And, of course, no good postseason run by a sports team is complete without a theme song to go along with it.

The Grizz’s new song comes courtesy of a couple of Memphis-born hip-hop luminaries: Rapper/producer Drumma Boy, teaming up with Three 6 Mafia co-founder DJ Paul. The song is titled “We Don’t Bluff,” which has a dual meaning: It’s a nod to the city of Memphis’s longtime nickname, “The Bluff City” — Memphis was settled on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. But it also references Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, who after an altercation with Oklahoma City’s Kendrick Perkins back in November, said, “There’s a lot of bluffin’ going on the court, that’s all, you know. And I don’t bluff.”

And as we’ve seen this postseason, neither do the Grizz.
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NBA Style: Spotlight On The Modern Suit

NBA Style
By the NBA.com Style Crew

While many NBA players have different interpretations of high fashion and the latest trends, some are sticking with basic suits, while still mixing it up a bit. Perhaps the most important facet of today’s suit is an ability to break up the pieces and wear them with other items in your wardrobe. Let’s take a look at several different styles, including trends that can become part of any closet. Keep up with the conversation using #NBAStyle.

THE EXPERTLY TAILORED SUIT
Derrick Rose
, Amar’e Stoudemire and Zach Randolph are in favor of finely tailored, slim cuts.

1_Derrick Rose-Game 4

2_Amare Stoudemire_bench (more…)

Conventional wisdom: May 14th

by Micah Hart

Each day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is currently the favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on their jerseys.

Here’s how it looks for the weekend of May 14-15.

Start planning the parade:

Dallas Mavericks

You might think a long layoff between games might make the Mavericks rusty, but seeing as the core of their team is almost exclusively on the wrong side of 30, I’d say it plays right into their hands.

Whichever team wins Sunday’s Game 7 between Memphis and Oklahoma City is going to be drained come the start of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday, all the more so if it’s the Grizzlies, who will presumably stay on the road and head straight for Dallas.

Meanwhile Dallas gets to rest up, particularly helpful for a guy like Peja Stojakovic, who has been huge off the bench this postseason for the Mavs but generally speaking is as brittle as uncooked pasta.

Give it up already:

Oklahoma City Thunder

A friend of mine sent me an amazing statistic yesterday. The combined average age of OKC’s top four players in terms of minutes played is 21.5 years old. The combined age of the University of Pittsburgh’s top four this season was 21.75 years.

This is a young, young Thunder squad, and under the harsh lights and scrutiny of a Game 7 situation, that inexperience will lead to the team’s unraveling. That, and their continuing inability to hold double-digit leads.

The Grizzlies have shown themselves to be fighters in this postseason, and though Oklahoma City slowed Zach Randolph in several games in this series, he was back in full beast mode in Game 6 (30 points, 13 rebounds) and will keep it going on Sunday.

There is a bright future on the horizon for the Thunder, but it’s at least another year away.

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Conventional Wisdom Report: May 10

by Kevin McCormack

Each day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is currently the favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on their jerseys.

Here’s how it looks on the morning of Tuesday, May 10.

Start planning the parade:

Oklahoma City Thunder

It’s been obvious since Game 1 that the Grizzlies were a bad matchup for the Thunder. The inside power of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol has given the Thunder fits while OKC’s franchise player, Kevin Durant, has been good — but not great.

That all changed Monday night in the epic Game 4 that saw OKC’s two best players (Durant and Russell Westbrook) combine for 70 points (!) to tie the series and grab the momentum as the action shifts back to Oklahoma City for Game 5.

Charles Barkley made a good observation on Inside the NBA about the psychological implications of losing a triple-overtime game with the next game on the road. That’s what the Grizzlies face and if OKC can take the swing game on Wednesday at home, they could be one win away from the West Finals.

Give it up already:

Boston Celtics

Oof. That one hurt. With the ball in Paul Pierce’s hands and a shot to win the game and tie the series, the Celtics got a terrible look at the basket at the end of regulation and then got run off the floor in overtime for a crushing Game 4 loss. Now trailing 3-1 with the series back in South Beach, the end is nigh for the Celtics, no?

What has to sting even more as the Celtics try (somehow) to get back in the series is that Miami has been the better defensive team all series long. As our own John Schuhmann points out today:

The Heat have the best one-two punch in the league, with a third wheel who redeemed himself quite a bit on Monday. But they can close out this series on Wednesday because they did to the Celtics in Game 4 what the Celtics have done to every other team over the last four years. They shut them down.

With LeBron one win away from getting his Decision-induced revenge on the Celtics, it looks as though Boston is just 48 minutes from a tee-time at Brookline Country Club.

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Chris Wallace takes to YouTube to inspire Grizzlies

by Micah Hart

Though the Grizzlies fell in Game 2 last night in Oklahoma City, they shouldn’t hang their heads. They got Game 1, and a split is all they needed to grab control of homecourt advantage.

I doubt they are lacking in confidence right now, but just in case, Memphis GM Chris Wallace put together this montage on YouTube to inspire Hang Time’s favorites:

Wallace explains that this video was shown to the Grizz before the San Antonio series, so it must have been the catalyst for their amazing first-round upset. That or Zach Randolph. I give many bonus points for the splicing of the Rudy Gay hatin’ Raptors fan from earlier this season into the mix.

Can anything stop the Grizzlies now? We’ll see Saturday when the two teams meet in Game 3 in Memphis.

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Ranking the 8-1 upsets in NBA Playoff history

by Micah Hart

The Spurs dominated the NBA for most of the regular season, starting the year 13-1 and reaching the midway point of the season at 35-6, halfway to the rarified 70-win plateau. And though they suffered some injuries and stumbled down the stretch (including a six-game losing streak), they still finished the season 61-21, good for the second-best regular season mark of the Popovich/Duncan Era.

Memphis, on the other hand, began the year inauspiciously, with their owner getting into it with a local radio station over the team’s draft picks, and then seemingly panicking and overpaying their starting point guard. Then they lost their best perimeter player midway through the season.

Sounds like the recipe for a first-round sweep, doesn’t it? Except as we all know, that’s not what happened, as the Grizzlies dropped the Spurs in six games and became just the fourth 8-seed to topple a 1 since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1984. Not many people saw this coming this side of Sir Charles, but compared to the other 8-1 conquests, just how big of a surprise was it?

Here’s how I’d rank them:

1. 2007: Warriors (42-40) over Mavericks (67-15), 4-2

The “We Believe” Warriors flat-out embarrassed the heavily-favored Mavericks in 2007. Though the Mavs were nearly unbeatable in the regular season, they played right into Golden State’s hands by trying to go small in the series rather than using their height to their advantage. Some believe Dallas was a victim of a bad matchup (the Warriors won the season series 3-0) and might have won the NBA title had they faced any of the other 15 playoff teams. But the Mavs’ loss, coming on the heels of a collapse in the 2006 NBA Finals against the Heat, cemented their reputation as playoff chokers, a moniker they are still struggling to shed.

2. 1994: Nuggets (42-40) over Sonics (63-19), 3-2

Best remembered for Dikembe Mutombo‘s “I can’t believe it!” moment at the end of Game 5, this series marked the first time an 8 beat a 1. Making it all the more impressive, the Nuggets lost the first two games of the series before winning three straight to close out the Sonics, including the last one in Seattle. Amazingly, Denver would go on to nearly pull off the same feat in the next round, falling behind 3-0 to Utah before winning three straight to force Game 7, where they were finally eliminated.

3. 2011: Grizzlies (46-36) over Spurs (61-21), 4-2

Eerily similar in tone to the Warriors-Mavs series, the Grizzlies came out and won Game 1 of the series and never really looked back. From early on, it was obvious the Grizzlies were younger, faster, and more athletic, and the Spurs had absolutely no answer for Zach Randolph inside. Did injuries play a role? Perhaps. But Memphis didn’t have Rudy Gay either, so seems like that’s a wash at best.

4. 1999: Knicks (27-23) over Heat (33-17), 3-2

Uggh. I get tired just thinking about these two teams brutalizing each other on the basketball court. This was the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, so the disparity between the two teams may not have been much, and indeed they were only separated by six games in the standings. Allan Houston famously won the series for the Knicks with his runner in the lane with 0.8 seconds remaining in Game 5. New York would validate their win with two more upsets, eventually becoming the only 8-seed to make the NBA Finals, where they fell to the first of Tim Duncan‘s title-winning Spurs teams.

That’s how I see it. Which do you rank as the biggest upset?

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