Mr. Belding visits MSL to talk about his campaign to be WWE’s Raw GM

Dennis Haskins
(aka Mr. Belding) joined  Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter on MSL to talk about his campaign to be the next WWE Raw general manager, his time on Saved by the Bell, TMZ naming him the “Greatest TV Principal of All Time”, plus much more.


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Click here to download the Dennis Haskins interview from the December 31, 2011 MSL 

Click here to sign the Mr. Belding for Raw GM Twitter petition 

Click here to listen to Dennis Haskins previous visit to MSL

Click here for more MSL interviews.

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm on Sports 56 WHBQ. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Radio Show in the 2010 & 2011 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll. 

Follow the MSL hosts on Twitter @cerrito @marcus_hunter

Grizzlies win using Grit and Grind mixed with Flash and Finesse

The Grizzlies got their first win of the season in convincing fashion at home, beating the Houston Rockets by 20 points 113-93.  It looked like there was going to be a close contest in FedExForum after the first quarter, as there were 8 lead changes in the first quarter alone.  However, the Grizzlies made sure that no more lead changes would happen after Josh Selby drove the length of the floor and made a layup to put the Grizz up by two with little more than a second left on the game clock to end the first quarter.

The grit and grind that fans grew accustomed to watching during last year’s run was evident throughout the game.  Coach Hollins made his game plan clear early on.   Pound the ball inside, and give your star big men a chance to do some serious damage.  Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph dominated inside offensively and defensively, combining for 43 points and 17 rebounds while holding Luis Scola and Samuel Dalembert to just 8 points.  Gasol tied a career high in blocks with five, and Z-Bo’s defense was the best that head coach Lionel Hollins has ever seen him play.  “I can’t agree with that,” Randolph said laughing at his coach’s comments about his defensive play.  The two starting big men for the Grizzlies outscored the entire Rockets team in the paint, as Houston was only able to score 36 points.

Yet grit and grind was not the only style the Grizzlies showed us during this game.  When Gasol and/or Randolph were on the bench Memphis looked more like a flash and finesse team, with Jeremy Pargo and Josh Selby pushing the ball.  The tempo increased and the Grizz looked to run every chance they got.  Dante Cunningham played extremely well (filling in for Darrell Arthur), logging 19 minutes and bringing some much needed energy off of the bench.  Memphis went to a full court press with him in the game and this gave Houston fits.   The press took the ball out of the Rockets’ point guards’ hands, disrupting their offense and forcing them to take poor shots.   Other bench players also contributed to this up-tempo style of play. O.J. Mayo had 10 points off of the bench, and Quincy Pondexter (or Q-Pon as we like to call him here at MemphiSport) added a much needed 13 points.  The bench played so well that Coach Hollins was able to rest Gasol and Randolph for almost all of the fourth quarter.  Memphis will need similar production from their role players if they want to go deep into the playoffs this year.

Although Memphis dominated the game, the Grizzlies did have two glaring issues, scoring and guarding the three point line.  They did not make a single three and allowed Houston to score 33 points from long distance.  This is in issue that must be fixed if the Grizzlies are going to make it deep into the playoffs, because you cannot be outscored 33-0 from three and expect to win many games. When asked why his team struggled from behind the arch Coach Hollins simply stated, “We do not have any three point shooters.  You have to have shooters to make threes and we do not have any.  It is as simple as that.”

Overall this was an impressive win against a team in the division that has given Memphis problems in the past.  They will need to carry this momentum into their next game on Sunday against the reigning MVP and the Chicago Bulls if they expect to get their second win of the season.  Team grit and grind is back, but this flash and finesse unit coming off of the bench looks pretty good too.

CJ Hurt covers the NBA for MemphiSport.  Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from FedExForum all season.

Grizzlies Adjusting to Return of Rudy Gay and New Rotations

Rudy Gay injured his shoulder last season on Feb. 15 in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Through 56 games with Gay as the primary scorer and leader on the team, Memphis was 30-26. In the last 26 games without him, the Grizzlies went 16-10 – not much of a difference.

So far this season, it has been hard to tell how having Gay back in the lineup will work with the Grizzlies’ hard-nosed mentality. Gay is considered to be a ball-stopper on offense, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most superstars are just that because they perform best with the ball in their hands.

However, Memphis hung its hat last season on not having one of those types of players and instead relying on team production over individual performance. The Grizzlies defeated San Antonio in the first round of the playoffs last year using a dominating inside game. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph each averaged a double-double and more than 39 minutes per game.

How does Gay fit into the Grizzlies gameplan? Right now, that question is the elephant in the Memphis locker room. Did Memphis win 9-of-11 games last March and April and then go on to a playoff series victory in spite of not having Gay in the lineup? Did his injury inspire his teammates to work harder? Or, did his absence allow a team to coalesce into a better working machine?

They are questions worth asking, especially if the Grizzlies continue to struggle early this season. It’s not so much that they are losing games, but how their offense looks on the court. Gay has taken 42 total shots in the first two games, including 24 two nights ago against the Thunder. To be fair, Randolph took 20 of his own and also got to the free throw line eight more times than Gay.

As seen during last year’s playoff series with the Spurs, Randolph was the unquestionable go-to man on the floor when the team needed a bucket. He was the energy guy, the player inspiring his teammates and willing a city to a much-needed victory.

This season, when the game is on the line and Memphis needs a bucket, who gets the shot? Grizzlies’ fans saw a glimpse of that last night against the Thunder. Randolph hit shots to give Memphis its only leads at 66-65 and 76-75 and also hit a long three-pointer to narrow the deficit to 96-95 late in the game. Gay also had his chance to prove himself as the team’s superstar, nailing a 17-foot jumper over Kevin Durant to bring the Grizzlies within 92-90 with 58.6 seconds to play.

Down the stretch, Gay and Randolph seemed content to defer to one another and let the open man be the go-to man (to steal a phrase from Memphis Tigers coach Josh Pastner). Hopefully, the duo can continue to work together like that down the stretch as the season continues.

Even with all of the criticism, figuring out how to work a superstar into your lineup is a nice problem to have. In fact, many teams in the NBA would love to have that problem. I think the Grizzlies will get better and more acclimated to having Gay back as each game passes. Gay being back in the lineup isn’t the only major change, and it takes time for teams to adjust to new rotations.

Preston McClellan covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. Follow him on Twitter @p_mcclellan.

Other recent Grizzlies articles: 


Thunder Outlast Grizzlies, 98-95, in Home Opener

Despite double-digit performances from four different players, including 24 points and 12 rebounds from Zach Randolph, the Oklahoma City Thunder (3-0) outlasted the Memphis Grizzlies (0-2) 98-95 Wednesday night at FedExForum.

Memphis showed heart to fight back in a game in which it struggled throughout, but it’s clear this Grizzlies team has issues it needs to address. Memphis gave up 10 three-pointers against the Thunder and have now been outscored 60-15 beyond the arc in two games.

Zach Randolph led Memphis with 24 points and 12 rebounds.

“When they started making threes, it was the difference in the game,” Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins said. “They took nine more threes than us and five more free throws than us, and we only lost by three points.”

Gay finished with 19 points and eight rebounds but took a team-high 24 shots. It’s still unclear how Gay will fit into the scoring rotation. Gay is a player that dominates the ball and is a ballstopper. Part of that makes him the great scorer that he is, but part of it also inhibits the Grizzlies’ ability to rotate the ball to find easy looks inside for Marc Gasol and Randolph. Perhaps, Memphis will look at using Gay in more situations where he can score quickly rather than using mostly isolation moves and jump shots.

Memphis struggled to find its groove early in the first quarter and didn’t score a bucket from the field until a layup from Zach Randolph nearly eight minutes to the game. Oklahoma City took advantage of the cold shooting to take an early 20-11 lead, but Memphis responded to get within 23-20 at the quarter’s end.

The Thunder used a similar strategy as the Spurs in game one, packing the paint and forcing the Grizzlies to make jumpers to create space. The lack of shooters on the roster again hurt Memphis, and Oklahoma City led by as much as 12 after a three-point play by Kendrick Perkins.

Backup point guard Jeremy Pargo, playing extensive minutes due to an early injury suffered by Mike Conley, provided a spark for Memphis in the latter half of the second quarter. The 25-year-old NBA rookie scored back-to-back buckets in the paint and helped Memphis close the deficit to 54-49 at halftime.

Sparked by four points from Pargo and tough defense, Memphis opened the second half on a 12-6 run to take its first lead at 61-60 after a fadeaway jumper by Randolph. The teams traded buckets until a Durant triple gave the Thunder a 72-67 lead. Josh Selby made an appearance with a fancy scoop for an old-fashioned play at the end of the quarter to cut the lead to 72-70 heading into the last quarter.

Another contested jumper from the right wing gave the Grizzlies a 76-75 lead with 9:38 to play, but OKC nailed two triples in the next three series as part of a 14-1 run that gave the Thunder an 89-77 advantage. Marc Gasol capped a 6-0 Grizzlies run with a strong drive down the lane to cut the lead to 89-83 with 3:47 to play.

Memphis refused to quit, playing with the grit and grind which became famous last season, and cut the lead down to 92-90 on a Rudy Gay fastbreak jumper with 58.6 seconds to play. Durant silenced the crowd on the next possession with a contested jumper that made it 94-90, but Memphis wasn’t done. Tony Allen came up with a steal on the next inbounds play that led to a slam by Gay and cut the lead to 94-92 with five seconds left. The Thunder hit clutch free throws, however and closed out the game 98-95 despite a late flurry by Memphis.

Durant led OKC with a game-high 32 points on 10-of-17 shooting, while James Harden added 20 points off the bench, Kendrick Perkins was the only other Thunder player to finish in double figures with 10 points to go along with four rebounds.

The Grizzlies return to action Friday when they host the Houston Rockets (0-1). Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at FedExForum.


– Jeremy Pargo: The sting of losing Greivis Vasquez may not be as bad as some people originally thought. Pargo gave Memphis huge minutes tonight, essentially playing as the starting point guard. He finished with 15 points and seven assists in 37 minutes. Pargo also played stellar defense on Russell Westbrook, limiting him to just four points.

– Points in the paint: Memphis finished with 44 points in the paint and 23 second-chance points. It seemed that Memphis came in to its own as the game went on and started to pound the ball inside.

“We started to find out pound the glass; we had 23 second-chance points,” Hollins said. “We played our game more as the game went on.”


-Three-point defense: As I mentioned before, Memphis has given up 10 triples to each of its first two opponents. On the flipside, the Grizzlies have only made five threes combined in their first two games. Memphis not only has to defend the arc better, but it also has to make some trifectas of its own.

-Lack of bench scoring: Not counting Pargo, Memphis only got 12 points off the bench, including seven from OJ Mayo. On a team desperate for shooters, Memphis is looking for him to fill that role and he just hasn’t been able to do that so far.

Preston McClellan covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. Follow him on Twitter @p_mcclellan.

Grizzlies Missing Grit and Grind in Season Opener, Fall 95-82 to Spurs

Perhaps it was rust from the lockout. Maybe the players weren’t used to the new rotations. Either way, the Memphis Grizzlies looked more like the team that squeaked into playoffs last year rather than the squad that outmatched the Spurs in the first round.

Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay led the team with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Rudy Gay scored 19 points on 8-of-18 shooting, and three other Grizzlies finished in double figures, but it wasn’t enough as Memphis fell 95-82 on the road to San Antonio. A game which saw Memphis leading 22-14 after one quarter quickly turned into a dichotomy of a team struggling to adjust to each other and one that had been together for years.

The Spurs’ “Big Three” of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili combined for 49 points, including 24 form Ginobili alone, en route to the victory. Fueled by triples from Ginobili and Richard Jefferson, the Spurs reeled off a 9-0 run to cut the Grizzlies lead to 22-21 early into the second quarter. Teams traded buckets for most of the first half, and Memphis found itself with a 44-43 advantage heading into halftime.

Turnovers got the best of Memphis early in the second half as the Spurs took advantage of the Grizzlies’ miscues to stretch their lead to as many 68-49 after Ginobili used a behind-the-back pass to find rookie Kawhi Leonard for a corner triple with 3:29 to play. San Antonio used a 21-3 run while outscoring Memphis 29-14 in the third quarter alone and took a 72-56 lead going into the final quarter. Memphis finished with 25 turnovers in the contest.

Gay tried to keep Memphis in the game in the fourth quarter, driving the lane and cutting the lead to 82-72 with 6:27 to play on an authoritative dunk. Turnovers again proved too much for Memphis to overcome however, as the Spurs went on to close the game out 95-82.

Zach Randolph, who was the dominant player in Memphis’ first-round playoff victory over San Antonio last season, was limited to just 10 points and six rebounds in 28 minutes of play. Marc Gasol was effective in the first half, but finished with 13 potions and a meager six rebounds.


  • Frontcourt: Memphis has to figure out how to utilize its frontcourt starters better. Randolph and Gasol have to combine for more than 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Grizzlies to have a successful season. San Antonio packed the paint and tried to force Memphis to beat it from the perimeter, something the Grizzlies were unsuccessful in doing.
  • Bench play: Someone has to emerge as a prominent scorer off the bench. Hopefully, OJ Mayo simply had an off game and will fill into this role just as he did last year. For this game, no reserve player scored more than eight points and Mayo finished with only four points in 17 minutes.
  • New Acquisitions: Newly acquired Dante Cunningham finished with eight points in 17 minutes off the bench, while Quincy Pondexter chipped in six points and five rebounds. Memphis will hope to get similar production from Pondexter as the season goes one.
  • Where’s the Grit and Grind?: Tony Allen’s energy and toughness are important qualities, but he has to produce more if he’s going to start. He finished with just two points and four turnovers in 15 minutes.

Memphis returns to the Bluff City for its home opener on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Grizzlies will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder (2-0) in a rematch of the 2011 NBA Western Conference Semifinals.

Preston McClellan covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. Follow him on Twitter @p_mcclellan.

Click here to read about the Grizzlies 2011-12 roster

Click here to learn how NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement will impact the Grizzlies

Bowl Game Preview 2011: TAMs teams

It is the most wonderful time of the year for every college football fan, and it is not just because of the holidays. Bowl season is now underway, with five of our nine area TAMs (Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi) teams participating in this year’s festivities. Conference pride is on the line, and this year’s bowls are full of great matchups and intriguing storylines involving our TAMs teams. The bowl season is sure to be a memorable one, but for a preview of this year’s TAMs bowl matchups, look no further than MemphiSport:

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Nevada
Two of the best rushing attacks in the nation will go head to head when these two teams face off on Saturday at 8 pm ET. The Golden Eagles are 14th in the nation in scoring and are looking to build off their upset win over Houston in the C-USA championship. This is Coach Fedora’s last game before taking over at North Carolina, so expect Southern Miss to play motivated football and send their coach out with a win.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Wake Forrest
Mississippi State sneaks into a bowl game after a very disappointing 6-6 season. They will face a Wake Forrest team that got throttled by Vanderbilt in their last game. Thankfully Wake Forrest is not an SEC West opponent, otherwise Dan Mullin’s squad would be in trouble. Points will be hard to come by as the Bulldogs are giving up less than 20 points per game.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt
Not the matchup that we wanted at MemphiSport (Mississippi State vs. Southern Miss in the “Battle for Mississippi” is what we wanted), but you cannot argue that a matchup between the Big East co-champion and an up and coming Vandy squad will be a good game never the less. Vanderbilt has one of the best bowl win percentages out of any major university at .625. The catch is the Commodores have only been to four bowls in 121 years. Coach Franklin has a contract extension and is looking forward to facing off against the Big East Coach of the Year Butch Jones. If the Big East wants to be taken seriously their co-champion cannot lose to the eighth place team in the SEC.

AT&T Cotton Bowl: Arkansas vs. Kansas State
This is a great matchup with two top ten teams facing off. Arkansas has the misfortune of being in the same division as LSU and Alabama, so they missed a chance to play in a BCS bowl. The Razorbacks have one of the most potent offenses in the nation ranking 13th in the nation in passing yards and averaging 37 points per game. If you take away the Razorback’s games against Alabama and LSU, they are averaging close to 42 points per game. Kansas State will be the Razorbacks third top ten opponent, and hopefully they will fare better than they did in their first two games. Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Northern Illinois
This is one of only three bowls that will include two conference champions facing off. The Red Wolves are without Coach Freeze, who is now the head coach at Ole Miss, but they are still looking to get to 11 wins for the first time since becoming an FBS school. Ryan Aplin is still under center so the Red Wolves are still a dangerous team offensively. Arkansas State will have to stop one of the most potent rushing attacks in the nation as the Huskies average 247 yards per game. Chandler Harish and Jasmin Hopkins lead the nations 9th ranked rushing attack, and the Red Wolves must contain the ground game if they want to come out on top of this one.

Click here for the 2011 College Football TAMs Awards

The Mid-South is full of fans with allegiances to different area college football programs. Which FBS program in the three states surrounding the Memphis area is the best? To help end some arguments and start others, every week MemphiSport ranks all the college football teams in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi . We call it the TAMs Rankings.

CJ Hurt covers college football for MemphiSport.  Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from the Liberty Bowl on December 31.


Grizzlies 2011-2012 Season Preview: Over/Under

With Grizzmas just around the corner, here is a look at some of the expectations for the shorten 2011-2012 season.

2.5 wins vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder: Under

After last year’s heartbreaking loss to OKC in the playoffs, the Grizzlies finally have a rival.  There is little change in personnel with these two teams, so it will be the same players from last seasons thrilling playoff series, which should add some fuel to the fire of this rivalry.  The Grizzlies went 3-1 against OKC during the regular season last year, and these two teams will face off early this year in the Grizzlies’ first home game of the year on December 28.  As long as number 35 suits up for the Thunder it is hard for me to believe they will loss three games to any one team during the regular season.

5 seed in the playoffs:  Under

Last season Memphis was a game away from the Western Conference Finals as an eight seed.  If they are going to go deep into the playoffs home court advantage in a series or two will not hurt.  With the Spurs and Lakers getting older, the Mavs losing core pieces left and right, the crazy situation the Hornets are in with Chris Paul, and still relatively young Thunder and Trail Blazer teams the Grizzlies could climb as high as a three seed this year.  With the return of Gay, the Grizzlies are a much more dangerous team and should be competing for the fourth spot in the Western half of the NBA.      

15 dunks and .5 alley oops for Zach Randolph: Under (way under)

There is no doubt that Z-Bo is the Grizzlies most dangerous low post offensive weapon.  While he measures in at 6’9”, Randolph does most of his damage beneath the rim with baby hooks, lay-ups, and 15-footers.  At the Grizzlies’ opening day press conference Randolph and teammate Rudy Gay joked about how many dunks Z-Bo had last season.    The bar was set at ten last year, and Z-Bo got 11 in 75 games played.  At the Grizzlies opening day press conference the terms of this year’s friendly wager was set at 20.  That is twice as many dunks in nine fewer games, not to mention more back to backs and one back to back to back.  No offense to Randolph, but I can not remember the last oop he caught, and I am going back to his days in college at Michigan State.  There is no way he gets 20 dunks this season, and I doubt he gets 15.

5.5 assists per game for Mike Conley: Over

While Conley is not an all star, he is a solid and emerging point guard, with quickness and decent court vision.  Last year he averaged 6.5 assists per game, but for his career he averages only 5.2 assists per game.  Conley appeared to have turned the corner with his play last year, especially during the playoffs.  If the Grizzlies are going to be successful they will need their starting point guard to facilitate the offense and hit the open man in a position to score.  Expect Conley to hover around the six assists per game mark this year and continue to build on last year’s performance.

21 points per game for Rudy Gay: Under

The return of Gay is a welcome one, as it brings back the Grizzlies’ most versatile offensive weapon.  However, with the continued growth and improvement of his teammates in his absence, Gay might night get the same number of touches.  He has only averaged more than 20 points per game in one season during his career and was only averaging 19.8 points before his season ending injury.  Gay will not get 21 points per game this year, but he is still the most dangerous offensive weapon that Memphis has.

50 points per game in the paint: Over

Last season, Memphis averaged 51.5 points in the paint to lead all NBA teams.  With crafty big men like Marc Gasol and Z-Bo constantly bombarding the rim at every chance they get, expect much of the same.  Add to it the return of Gay, a slasher in Sam Young, and an increasingly improving Conley and you have a starting five that will look to work inside out for the entire season (click here for a more comprehensive look at the Grizzlies’ roster).   Also, with players who do most of their damage around the rim coming off of the bench, like Tony Allen and Darrell Arthur, teams are going to struggle to keep the Grizzlies out of the paint.  Memphis dominated the paint last year, and will need to dominate it again this year if they want to be successful.

What other Over/Under scenarios can you think of? How many sellouts? How many trades? Comment below with your thoughts….

Click here to read about the Grizzlies 2011-12 roster

Click here to learn how NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement will impact the Grizzlies

Click here to read what Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley have to say about the 2011-2012 NBA season

CJ Hurt covers the NBA for MemphiSport.  Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from Grizzlies games.  

New Orleans Too Much for Memphis as Grizzlies Fall 95-80 in Final Preseason Tuneup

Rudy Gay had 20 points to lead the Grizzlies.

Rudy Gay scored 20 points and Zach Randolph added 15, but it wasn’t enough as Memphis fell to New Orleans 95-80 on the road in the final preseason game of the 2011-12 season.

Memphis jumped out to an early 4-0 lead behind buckets from Rudy Gay and Tony Allen, but the Hornets fought back and took an 11-8 lead after a three-point shot by newly-acquired Ben Gordon. The Grizzlies led by as many as 11 after Zach Randolph converted a reverse layup on an assist from Gay to make it 28-17. However, the Hornets rebounded with an 11-2 run to close the first quarter, and Memphis took a narrow 28-26 advantage into the second quarter.

Chris Kaman made a jumper on the first play of the second quarter to tie the game at 28, but Josh Davis responded with a triple for Memphis to retake the lead at 31-28 with 10:37 remaining in the half. Several defensive lapses by Memphis allowed New Orleans to make a strong run and take a 55-45 advantage into halftime.

Both teams started cold in the second half with two empty possessions before Allen buried a jumper on a Conley feed to narrow the Hornets lead to 55-47. The Grizzlies came within two points at 57-55 after a Conley bucket at the 8:06 mark, but two free throws from Jarret Jack and two baskets by Quincy Pondexter helped the Hornets regain a 63-55 lead with just over six minutes left in the quarter. New Orleans kept its foot on the pedal and took a 76-61 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies seemed content with giving their reserves some good minutes and accepting the loss. At one point, Memphis put the following lineup on the floor: Jeremy Pargo, Josh Selby, Greivis Vasquez, Davis and Sam Young. Really. Memphis never got closer than 11 points in the final quarter and ended up losing 95-80.

The Grizzlies officially begin the 2011-12 season on Dec. 26 with a road game against the San Antonio Spurs. It’s the first meeting between the two teams since Memphis defeated the Spurs in six games in the first round of the playoffs last season.

Thoughts on the game:

  • It’s hard to get a real feel of the team’s performance right now because Marc Gasol hasn’t played a single minute yet. When he’s on the floor, the Grizzlies are so much better, especially on defense. Gasol erases mistakes made by the guards on the perimeter.
  • Rudy Gay is as healthy as he’s been in a couple of years. Gay started the game on a hot streak and finished the first half with 18 points while going a perfect 6-for-6 from the field.
  • Jeremy Pargo has shown some true potential in the preseason. The rookie guard finished with nine points, four rebounds and zero turnovers in 23 minutes.
  • Bad news: Only one Grizzlies player had a positive +/- stat – Brian Skinner. The lack of positive stats in this category show a need for the team to work better together. The +/- stat looks at point differentials when certain players are in the game and how the team performs with different player combinations on the floor.

Click here
 to read about the Grizzlies 2011-12 roster

Click here to learn how NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement will impact the Grizzlies

Click here to read what Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley have to say about the 2011-2012 NBA season

All I want for Christmas is a win

This year, the feeling of Christmas is getting to me. Maybe it’s the twinkling lights on the tree. Maybe it’s the hustle and bustle of the shopping centers.

We all want that special gift under the tree. The questions is, do you deserve it ?

My Wish List…

How about a new car: Not really 100% necessary now, but hey, this is a wish list right? Don’t know how much longer the old ’77 Ford Granada’s going to hold out. 

How about a new laptop, in case you were wondering, honey — it isn’t going to last forever.

 A new phone… do you know how infuriating it is to see so many people using their iphones with Skype and taking cool screenshots and I’m stuck with my dumb original cell? It’s just plain embarrassing walking around with this  thing.

How about a clean house.  I don’t want a cleaning service. I kind of have issues with people coming into my house. Just a clean house will do, thank you. Can’t show you pictures of that.

 The new 80” flat screen tv, awesome man, can you imagine watching Brady and the Pats.

Enough with the kidding around…

I just want to wish everyone and your entire families a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. May 2012 bring health and prosperity. A few wins for the Kings are welcome as well!

All the best.

Joe Sports

Now to the serious stuff…

Let’s just say it, the Kings are not good. This team is ground chuck to the Riverhawks T-Bone steak.

Are we going to get any help from the hockey Gods.  No I don’t think so, we could use help from the owner.

Last weekend was ???

The RiverKings were edged by the Augusta Riverhawks 3-2 on Friday night at the James Brown Arena.

Saturday didn’t turn out much better, the Kings were beaten again by the Hawks 4-2 in Augusta.

Hilariously enough, there just aren’t words to express what this season’s Kings are. Schizophrenic could be used.

Frustration has set in for the Kings faithful.

The Kings put on a half #@##@ performance against Augusta last weekend. It was gross, frankly.

The Kings were listless, lazy and just plain slow last weekend. No jump in their step. Seriously I could go on and on. But like I said last week, it’s not the players, it’s the coach, this team has no game plan. Last week’s games had zero intensity.

No powerplay, a leaky PK, just pathetic.

The games were slow, dull and excruciating to watch.(Did I spell that right?)

This season is going to be a long one. It ends at the end of the regular season. Unless???

Joe Sports thoughts…

Even when the Kings are playing well (now come on, they play well for about 15-20 minutes of a 60 minute game). In those 15-20 minutes I honestly believe it’s the opposition playing bad making the Kings look good.

What can we do?

I know, we are not going to fire anybody, just blame it on the players.

Maybe watch a video of Don Cherry’s rock em sock em hockey.

It is tough watching your team lose like this? – Definitely I don’t see things getting a lot better.

Again, my sense is the players have ceased buying (if they ever did) into Landmines theory on how to play the game.

After arriving home from the Spot last weekend, I went into the TV room at home around 1:15 am and started sipping a cold one.

I thought to myself Scotty Bowman or Toe Blake could squeeze Ws out of this lineup. I knew at that point , I had enough pops.

All I want for Christmas is a win!

 That’s the way I see it and I’m Joe Sports.

Last week I got a lot of emails about my Quote “ This team is in Stinko-mode.”

Ok, I take that back, hockey fans. They are in Stinko-Stinko-mode.

That was the main topic of the emails I got, not one person questioned me about letting the coach and general manager go. The fans have spoken.

Email Joe at:

Up next for the Kings

This Friday, December 23, the Louisiana IceGators come to town, game time at the DCC is at 7:05pm.

Game night

Standings – We are dead last.

Kings Notes:

Kings’s Mark Magnowski  was called upto the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees of the Central Hockey League.

Sich is gonso!!

Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL have signed Sich. Now, was he let go by the Kings? Haven’t heard anything from the Kings office. But that  isn’t  strange, I get more of my info from friends and hockey forums. I know the Wings are desperate for players(callups,injuries)

Have a great Christmas and Holiday season. See you at the game on Friday.


Grizzlies Sign Restricted Free Agent Dante Cunningham to Offer Sheet

The Commercial Appeal reported this afternoon that the Grizzlies officially tendered a three-year offer sheet to Charlotte’s restricted free agent Dante Cunningham. The contract is reported to be a two-year deal with a team option for the third year. The deal would also keep Memphis under the $70 million luxury tax threshold.

Cunningham played his first season in the league with Portland  after being taken as the 33rd overall pick in the 2009 draft coming out of Villanova. He was traded to Charlotte during the 2010-11 season. In two years, he has averaged five points and three rebounds per game while logging just under 17 minutes per outing. Cunningham has a mid-range game that is comparable to Darrell Arthur’s, which is why the team became interested.

As Chris Herrington of the Memphis Flyer pointed out today on Twitter, Cunningham also has the ability to log minutes at the small forward position and provide a longer player to back up Rudy Gay, which is something head coach Lionel Hollins has advocated.

If Charlotte decides to keep Cunningham, Memphis will have to look elsewhere. Let’s look at some of the other options the Grizzlies are pondering to bolster their frontcourt.

  • Tillery also reported that Memphis is looking at a possible trade with the 76ers for Marresse Speights. He was the 16th overall pick in the 2008 draft and has averaged seven points and nearly four rebounds during his time in Philadelphia. Speights also stands at 6-10, while Cunningham is 6-8. Speights would also become a restricted free agent after the season.
  • The problem with the deal for Speights is how much the 76ers may ask for in return. Speculation has been that Philadelphia would ask for some combination of back court players from Memphis, most likely Greivis Vasquez and Xavier Henry. I think Memphis would be okay parting with injury-prone Henry, but Vasquez showed a lot of potential last season, and I don’t think Jeremy Pargo is ready to be the go-to backup at point guard.
  • Cap issues also further complicate the trade. Grizzlies’ owner Michael Heisley has been emphatic in saying Memphis will not go over the $70 million luxury tax threshold. In order to avoid this and pick up Speights (scheduled to make $2.7 million this season), the Grizzlies will probably have to sacrifice Henry – at least.
  • Reggie Evans, a nine-year NBA veteran, has also surfaced as a potential option. According to NBA writer Chris Tomasson, Evans is considering Boston and the Clippers along with Memphis. Evans
  • Kris Humphries is off the market. The restricted free agent has signed a one-year deal with between $7 and $8 million with the New Jersey Nets.

Memphis has two of the more dominant big men in the game with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, as each averaged a double-double during last year’s playoff run. However, the Grizzlies announced yesterday that the team will be without power forward Darrell Arthur for the duration of the season after he suffered a torn achilles.

With Arthur gone, the Grizzlies roster will stand at 12, and Randolph is currently the only healthy power forward Memphis has on its payroll. If owner Michael Heisley is dead set on not paying luxury tax as he has indicated, the team will have to sign three cheap big men, carry a roster of 15 and hope one of those bigs shows promise and earns minutes.

Memphis seems to be trying to solve its roster problems without moving OJ Mayo, which will be a difficult task. The Grizzlies are also being forced to consider their long term financial future in these deals. As it stands now, the team is on the hook for more than $60 million in salary next season for just seven players – and that doesn’t include Arthur and Mayo.

The Grizzlies also have to deal with the fact that other teams in the league know Memphis is in a tough position. Because of the franchise’s desperation, other organizations are asking for a lot in return for big men in an effort to capitalize on Memphis’s misfortunes.

Memphis plays its final preseason game Wed. Dec. 21 on the road agains the New Orleans Hornets. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Click here to read about the Grizzlies 2011-12 roster

Click here to learn how NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement will impact the Grizzlies

Click here to read what Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley have to say about the 2011-2012 NBA season.

Preston McClellan covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. Follow him on Twitter @p_mcclellan.