A rare Saturday edition of this week’s 3-pointer has me thinking about the way I spent my Saturdays as a child. Most Saturdays were spent on a diamond, field, or court playing with friends and foes alike. See I am a 90’s child we did not have text messaging, when we wanted to talk to our friends we had to actually go outside and play. What a wonderful time that was full of Ninja Turtle action figure and Sega Genesis cartridges. Perhaps the thing the 90’s is best remembered for are the boy bands. The decade was full of them from New Kids on the Block to 98 Degrees, and each group had a following of overexcited, sometimes irrational, screaming fans.
Fans were begging the Grizzlies to Quit Playing Games with our hearts this week as Memphis went 2-3 on the week. One game the Grizzlies look like the team that gritted and grinded their way through the playoffs and the next game they look like a team that does not know what they have to do to get wins in this league. The Grizzlies were wildly inconsistent this week, losing to the lowly Suns, getting blown out by the Spurs at home, then turning around to beat the Nuggets and Hawks, before losing a hard fought contest to the Thunder (not to brag but check out my over/under on this series). This inconsistency has to make Coach Hollins want to MMMBop some of his players on the head to get them to focus in and play harder. Memphis is two and a half games out of the division lead and sits in the tenth spot of the Western half of the NBA. It is time for 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?
Forcing turnovers. This team feeds off of turnovers more than ‘N Sync fed off of the screams of adolescent girls. Turnovers lead to easy buckets like this and for a team that is still trying to find their shot easy buckets are imperative to keeping them in games. Memphis leads the NBA in forced turnovers averaging 18.1 turnovers a game, and in their thrilling overtime win against Denver the 25 turnovers they forced made up for a particularly rough shooting night, in which Memphis shot 38 percent from the field. The Grizzlies are only shooting 44.6 percent from the field and an abysmal 32.4 percent from behind the arch so getting out in transition and scoring easy buckets helps alleviate some of their scoring woes.
2) What do the Grizzlies need to do?
Run the floor more. In the Grizzlies five games this week they had 20 or more fast break points just twice and both games resulted in wins (Denver and Atlanta). When you struggle shooting the ball easy buckets are a must. Memphis has the athleticism to create havoc for opposing teams with Rudy Gay, Tony Allen, and especially Dante Cunningham (who runs the floor exceptionally well for a big man. Just ask Josh Smith.) so they should take advantage of their ability to push the tempo. Mike Conley’s decision making with the ball is impeccable (12th in the NBA in assists per game and 9th in assist to turnover ratio) so he can handle the pressures of making quick decisions on the run. If they can continue to get easy buckets off of forced turnovers it will alleviate some of their shooting woes and help them win more.
3) What will the Grizzlies do?
Expect Zach Randolph back from injury when originally expected. The Grizzlies have some important players who are pretty banged up. Most notably is star power forward Zach Randolph’s injured MCL. However, every day that passes is a step towards getting Zach Randolph back, and that is something for Coach Hollins to be happy about. Z-Bo is progressing as expected, which is great news for the Grizzlies who expect to have their star big man back on March 2 when they take on the Raptors. He should begin noncontact drills real soon and has been cleared to start lifting weights again. With Randolph back in the line up the Grizzlies should be able to make a real push in the Western Conference. They just have to not fall to far behind everyone else until he returns.
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.
Other recent Grizzlies articles:
- Grizzlies Twitter Fancap: San Antonio Defeats Memphis 83-73 as Grizzlies Lose Fourth-Straight Game
- Z-BoING > Tebowing