This has been a week full of excitement, entertainment, and intrigue! The GOP race is heating up, Google and Wikipedia are protesting SOPA, and most importantly I get new episodes of my favorite show Archer on FX. Nothing makes me happier than watching the quirky agents at ISIS deal with their strange personal issues while also being secret spies (or not so secret in Sterling’s case). The best thing about the show is when you count the ISIS agents out and believe there is no way for them to survive the mission because of their incompetence, Sterling Archer’s drinking problem, Malory Archer’s affairs with other spy agencies’ leaders, or Lana’s “truckasaurous-like” hands they find a way to complete the mission and save the day. This year’s Grizzlies are operating the same way and just when you count them out they come back with a vengeance. They lose Zach Randolph for 6-8 weeks, get beat by 40 against the Bulls, and lose three straight games. So you begin to think the Grizzlies are in the “Danger Zone” and the season is over right. Wrong, the Grizzlies bore down this past week and are currently on a four game winning streak, abusing opponents like Archer abuses Woodhouse.
They are now second in the division, just two games behind the Spurs, and looking to move up in the playoff race this week. It is time for the January 19, 2012 edition of our weekly Grizzlies 3-pointer, three things the Grizzlies are doing, need to do, and will be doing to improve upon their success as a team on a weekly basis.
1) What are the Grizzlies doing?
Currently Memphis is riding a four game winning streak, their longest streak of the season so far. Marc Gasol and Rudy Gay are two of the biggest reasons for the streak, as both have stepped up in the absence of Zach Randolph. In the four game winning streak Gay is averaging close to 19 points per contest with three games in which he has scored over 20 points. The rust is beginning to come off of his game and he is beginning to look more like super agent Conway Stern, (or whatever his real name is. Seriously am I the only one who hopes he returns in season three?) and less like Cyril Figgis. Gasol is too looking like an elite player, averaging a double double on the year. And in the four game winning streak he has just under 18 points and 11 rebounds. Defense has also been a key in this streak as the Grizzlies have allowed only one team in the last four games to top 90 points (New Orleans). The truly amazing thing is they are not even wearing the infamous turtleneck that has made Sterling Archer such a deadly assassin.
2) What do the Grizzlies need to do?
Not to be captain obvious over here, but extend their winning streak. They have a slight lull in the schedule with four of their next six opponents below .500, so the Grizzlies need to make the most of this chance to beat up on weaker opponents (much like Archer does to Woodhouse). It will not be easy as they are playing five games in seven days with four of those games on the road, but it is doable. This is the prime opportunity for Memphis to move up in the playoff hunt, as they are the eight seed now and just two games away from being as high as a two seed in the playoffs.
3) What will the Grizzlies do?
Find a way to win games on the road. Memphis is fine at home, averaging 102.9 points while posting a 5-2 home record. They are as comfortable at home as Cheryl is at being choked, but if the Grizzlies hope to be back in the playoffs they have to perform better on the road. Their road performance so far this season has been as ugly as Pam, going 2-4 so far and averaging just 82.7 points away from FedExForum. Part of the problem is both Gay and Gasol are combining to average 10 points less per game on the road. The Grizzlies will have several opportunities to improve on their woeful road performance, with four road games this week. Even Nikolai Jakov (or Major Jakov as his subordinates call him) of KGB knows that winning some games on the road is a must if the Grizzlies are going to get back to the playoffs. Too bad he does not know if he is Sterling’s father or not.
Did you miss last week’s 3-pointer? No worries click here to catch up on what you missed.
C.J. Hurt covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from FedExForum.
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