Jason Kidd responds to soda cup incident before Saturday’s game against Memphis

MOVING FORWARD ---Brooklyn Nets rookie head coach Jason Kidd said before Saturday night's game versus the Grizzlies that his soda cup incident that resulted in a $50,000 fine by the NBA is behind him. Brooklyn beat the Memphis, 97-88, to hand the Grizzlies their fourth consecutive loss in FedExForum. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

MOVING FORWARD —Brooklyn Nets rookie head coach Jason Kidd said before Saturday night’s game versus the Grizzlies that his soda cup incident that resulted in a $50,000 fine by the NBA is behind him. Brooklyn beat the Memphis, 97-88, to hand the Grizzlies their fourth consecutive loss in FedExForum. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Jason Kidd insists he has said all he’s going to say about the shady soda cup incident that forced the NBA to impose a hefty fine on the Brooklyn Nets rookie head coach.

“Well, I can only think about the Memphis Grizzlies,” Kidd told MemphiSport before Saturday night’s game in FedExForum. “So I’m just focused on what we can do. The league took care of whatever happened in the past, so we’re moving forward.”

Kidd, 40, who played 18 NBA seasons for four different teams before retiring last year while with the New York Knicks, was responding to Wednesday night’s incident against the Los Angeles Lakers in which he appeared to say “hit me” to point guard Tyshawn Taylor with 8.3 seconds remaining to force a stoppage of play so his team could draw up a last-second offensive play. The NBA on Thursday announced that Kidd was fined $50,000 for appearing to intentionally drop a beverage on to the court.

The Nets were out of timeouts at the time Taylor bumped into Kidd, whose cup tumbled on to the court in front of his team’s bench. While the spillage was being cleaned up, the Nets coaching staff drew up a play. But to no avail, veteran small forward Paul Pierce misfired on a potential game-tying 3-point basket with 2.2 seconds left and the Lakers escaped with a 99-94 win to drop the struggling Nets seven games below the .500 mark.

Although video footage appeared to show Kidd uttering the words “Hit me” to his reserve point guard, Taylor denied that Kidd said nothing of that nature. However, on Saturday, Taylor said the Nets’ primary focus is to break out their early-season slump and that they have put Kidd’s controversial incident behind them.

Brooklyn (5-12) seized its second win in its last three outings with a resounding 97-88 victory Saturday to send the Grizzles (8-8) to their fourth consecutive defeat in FedExForum.

“That’s a league matter for sure, man, so I can’t speak on that,” said Taylor, when asked if thought Kidd’s fine was excessive. “It was what it was. That’s a decision that they made. I mean, we can go back and forth about how I feel about it. It’s not going to bring the money back. Like I said, that’s a decision the league made, so we’ve got to live with it.”

Though Kidd’s apparent staged cup spill attracted national headlines — the incident was the lead story on ESPN’s SportsCenter following Wednesday night’s game — for a Nets team that made a number of notable offseason trades with the acquisitions of veterans Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry, but have struggled immensely through the first month of the season, there were a number of NBA players who hastened to various social media sites, applauding Kidd for his intentional late-game stunt.

“I didn’t actually see it, but I heard the stories and from what they told me,” Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley said of Kidd’s soda cup incident. “You know, it was pretty clever, a clever move. But obviously, I don’t think the league liked it pretty much because they fined him pretty heavy for it. But it is what it is.”

Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger acknowledged before Friday’s practice that he heard about the stiff fine the league imposed on Kidd. However, he declined to comment further, saying Kidd’s situation isn’t remotely connected to the Grizzlies organization.

“I don’t really have anything to say about it,” Joerger said. “I’ve got enough issues coaching my own team.”

Andre Johnson covers the NBA for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist

MSL: Thanksgiving Weekend 2013

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 5.44.14 PMHOUR 1:

(Segment 1) A Black Friday breakdown and a recap of the week’s big stories during the Starting 5.
(Segment 2 & 3) Maria Garay calls in with her weekly College Football Gossip Report.

MemphiSport Live

HOUR 2:
(Segment 1) The debut of Talk Smack to Clipper Darrell
(Segment 2 & 3) The Memphis Flyer’s Film/TV editor Greg Akers joins Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter to preview the holiday movie season and to tell us why Nashville Sucks this month. Plus, Woohoos and Boos.

MemphiSport Live

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Radio Show in the 2010, 2011 & 2012 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll.

Follow the MSL hosts on Twitter @cerrito & @MHunter_GAMME

Grizzlies hope to atone for home struggles during six-game stretch in FedExForum

For the Memphis Grizzlies, there has been nothing sweet about playing at home in recent weeks.

HOMEWRECKERS ---Playing in FedExForum hasn't been pleasant for veteran Tayshaun Prince and the Grizzlies in recent weeks. Memphis, which opens a five-game homestand Saturday starting with Brooklyn, has dropped three straight and four of its last five at home. (Photo by Christopher Davis/MemphiSport)

HOME WRECKERS —Playing in FedExForum hasn’t been pleasant for veteran Tayshaun Prince and the Grizzlies in recent weeks. Memphis, which opens a six-game homestand Saturday starting with Brooklyn, has dropped three straight and four of its last five at home. (Photo by Chris Evans/MemphiSport)

Given the Grizzlies’ lethargic play of late in FedExForum, what veteran shooting guard Tony Allen labeled the “Grindhouse” two years ago has become virtually an establishment that has brought about much criticism among spectators, given Memphis has found it difficult to protect its home court in what has become one of the toughest places for opponents in recent years.

The Grizzlies (8-7) have been dealt three consecutive defeats at home and have dropped four of their last five outings in FedExForum, this after managing a 32-9 home record last year.

“You know, we caught some boos early in the season,” Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said before practice Friday morning at the team’s practice facility. “That doesn’t feel very good. And I think there’s extra pressure playing at home and we want to do well at home. And our guys have played their hearts out the last three or four years or whatever and laid it on the line, so I’m sure that hurt them a little.”

Fortunately for the Grizzlies, they will have a golden opportunity to erase the memory of their recent home court struggles beginning Saturday when they host the Brooklyn Nets at 7 p.m. CST to start a six-game homestand, their longest home stretch this season. While playing in their building proved to be an enormous advantage, of sorts, last year for the Grizzlies, which enabled them to generate their best winning percentage (.683) in franchise history by posting a 56-26 mark, Memphis surprisingly has enjoyed more success on the road, having won five of eight games away from FedExForum.

So how to explain Grizzlies’ constant woes in what had become an unfriendly environment for opposing teams in years past?

“We get out there and feel like it’s just us,” Joerger said. “We’re not worried about winning or losing. On the road, it’s just you. But you have that expectation on the road, to just go compete and we need to carry that into the homestand. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing an Eastern Conference team or a Western Conference team. It doesn’t matter. We’ve just got to keep plugging away and getting better. By and large, we’ve improved over the last couple of weeks, but we’ve just got to continue to get better.”

Before Jeorger switched to a tighter rotation during the Grizzlies’ recent West coast road trip that resulted in four consecutive wins, among Memphis’ notable issues was its inability to close out games and, most importantly, acquire the essential defensive stops that allowed the Grizzlies to blossom into one of the NBA’s most efficient defensive teams last year.

Also, before producing a season-best four-game undefeated streak, the Grizzlies’ struggles surfaced, in large part

Dwight Howard (far left) and the Rockets overcame a 14-point deficit Monday night to hand the Grizzlies their lastest home defeat, which was Memphis' third in as many games in FedExForum. (Photo by Christopher Davis/MemphiSport)

Dwight Howard (far left) and the Houston Rockets erased a 14-point deficit Monday night to hand the Grizzlies their latest home defeat, which was Memphis’ third in as many games in FedExForum. (Photo by Chris Evans/MemphiSport)

because veteran big men Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, the team’s top two scorers, were ineffective offensively, averaging a combine 26.6 points and 14.9 rebounds per game. Additionally, Memphis surrendered 99.4 points to the opposition while committing 16.9 turnovers. However, during the team’s recent road trip, Gasol and Randolph returned to form, averaging a combined 43.8 points and 21 rebounds for a Grizzlies team that suddenly mirrored the proverbial “grit grind” squad that advanced to the Western Conference Finals last year.

“I think consistent effort,” said Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, explaining Memphis’ recent home struggles. “I think we’ll play great in a half, three quarters, and then one of those quarters, we let down and we don’t come with the same focus and consistency. We let team back in games. We let teams play harder than us and that’s not in our nature. And we can’t do that at home.”

The good news for a Grizzlies team Joerger contends is trying to find its identity with the key loss of Gasol — who is sidelined indefinitely with an MCL sprain to his left knee — is that there is still much basketball to play in a season that is only 15 games old, one in which the Grizzlies have an ample amount of time to atone for the scattered boos that have been heard throughout their building in recent weeks. After Saturday’s contest against the Nets, the Grizzlies then welcome Phoenix, the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State, Orlando, and Oklahoma City to FedExForum.

Of those six teams, four advanced to the postseason last year with Memphis eliminating the Clippers and Thunder in the playoffs’ opening two rounds before falling to the Spurs in the conference finals.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Joerger said of the unfavorable reactions from Grizzlies fans of late. “It was a small percentage of people, so it’s not something to go on and on about. It was what it was. We’re going to play as hard as we can. We certainly enjoy playing at home. We’ve had a nice advantage at home in the past. But we’ve caught some teams that had been playing very well. New Orleans came in and played a must-win game. Rudy Gay kind of had his revenge game, which is what most NBA guys will do, so hopefully he got that out of his system. And we played some good teams in San Antonio and Houston. Like I said, it doesn’t matter who we play. We’ve just got to keep getting better.”

Not to mention help re-establish the Grindhouse as a hostile environment for the opposition.

Andre Johnson covers the NBA for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist

MSL Podcast Exclusive: Bushwhacker Luke interview

Bushwasher Luke

In this MSL podcast exclusive,  Kevin Cerrito and Dustin Starr talk with Bushwhacker Luke who will be appearing on Nov 30 in Humboldt, TN. Topics include licking heads, Steve Urkel and more.


SEE ALSO:

Click here for more MSL interviews.

MemphiSport Live

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Radio Show in the 2010, 2011 & 2012 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll.

Follow the MSL hosts on Twitter @cerrito & @MHunter_GAMME.

MSL Podcast Exclusive: Men on a Mission Reunion

MOM_win_titles

In this MSL podcast exclusive,  Kevin Cerrito and Dustin Starr talk with Mo and Oscar from the 1990s WWE tag team Men on a Mission who will be appearing on Nov 30 in Humboldt, TN. Topics include discovering Oscar’s real name, hazing in WWE, and more.

SEE ALSO:

Click here for more MSL interviews.

MemphiSport Live

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Radio Show in the 2010, 2011 & 2012 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll.

Follow the MSL hosts on Twitter @cerrito & @MHunter_GAMME.

MSL Behind the Scenes: Episode 101

Watch what went on behind the scenes at Flnn Broadcasting during the 11.23.13 episode of MSL with Kevin Cerrito, Marcus Hunter and the crew:

Click here to listen to the full 11.23.13 episode of MSL.

MemphiSport Live

Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter host MemphiSport Live (MSL) on Sports 56 & 87.7 FM every Saturday from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. MSL was voted 3rd Best Sports Radio Show in the 2010, 2011 & 2012 Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis poll.

Follow the MSL hosts on Twitter @cerrito & @MHunter_GAMME.

Throwback Thursday Thanksgiving Edition: The Rock as Flex Kavana

Bart & FlexThanksgiving has always been one of the biggest days for professional wrestling.  When WWE launched Survivor Series in 1987, it quickly became a huge hit.  Not only has Survivor Series become the 2nd longest reigning pay-per-view to date for WWE, but it has also hosted some of the biggest, most memorable matches and debuts ever.

From the debut of the infamous Gobbley Gooker in 1990, to the Montreal Screwjob of 1997 – Survivor Series has been a staple in die-hard wrestling fans’ Thanksgiving experience for many, many years.

This week’s Throwback Thursday sends us back to August 24, 1996.  It was a mere three months before WWE Survivor Series.  A young, up-start rookie by the name of Flex Kavana had made an impact in the Memphis-based USWA.  He captured the Southern Tag Team Titles with his partner Bart Sawyer in June of 1996 by defeating Brickhouse Brown & Reggie B. Fine.  Now, Flex was ready to put it all on the line for a shot at Jerry “The King” Lawler’s USWA World Championship.

Take a look at this week’s Throwback Thursday clip, which features a young Flex Kavana who has gone on to become not only one of the most famous wrestlers of all time… but one of the biggest action movie stars of all time, as well.

Three months after Flex Kavana lost the loser leaves town match-up against The King, he debuted for WWE at the 1996 Survivor Series under the name of Rocky Maivia.  As we all know by now, Rocky Maivia eventually morphed into the jabroni beating, pie eating, trail blazing, eye brow raising – you get the point – he morphed into the most electrifying man in all of entertainment – The Rock.

Fun Facts:  Also featured in this week’s clip along with The Rock, were several other Memphis Wrestling legends.  Dave Brown conducted the interview portion, while former WWE Women’s Champion Harvey Wippleman refereed the contest.  The King had Scott Bowden in his corner and in Flex’s corner was none other than former Tag Team Champion Bart Sawyer.

“Throwback Thursday” is a weekly Memphis Wrestling post at MemphiSport.com.

Dustin Starr is an active sports entertainer and regular contributor to MemphiSport and MSL. Follow him @DustinStarr.

SEE ALSO:

Egg Bowl 2013: Which Mississippi team will be giving thanks this year?

(Photo by Terry Davis)

(Photo by Terry Davis)

This year’s Egg Bowl between Ole Miss and Mississippi State, played for the first time in several years on Thanksgiving night, should be an entertaining game. No matter how good one team is or how bad the other needs a win, this rivalry always produces some crazy moments and this year’s game has some high stakes for both teams.

Mississippi State:

Mississippi State comes in to the game needing a win in the worst way. They won all the games throughout the season that they were “supposed to win,” but unfortunately for the Bulldogs, that puts them on the outside of the bowl landscape right now. If they were to pull an upset over the Rebels, they would get that much needed sixth win and a likely berth in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

Mississippi State has had a rough year at the quarterback position and as of right now plans to start freshman Damian Williams against Ole Miss. Starter Dak Prescott is out for the season, unless the Bulldogs make it to a bowl game, and backup Tyler Russell is listed as day-to-day, so he may see some action Thanksgiving night. But for Williams to be making his first start in such a big game for his team should make for a compelling storyline. First he is playing in a game that State fans look forward to, no matter what the implications are, and second the implications are enormous this year with that bowl berth on the line. Can the freshman handle the pressure? It helps that he is playing this game in Starkville, but I imagine he is feeling pretty nervous.

Another interesting story coming into this game is the regression of Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen. When Mullen got to Starkville in 2009, he immediately added some energy to a program that desperately needed some. Mullen had a mediocre first season but came out of nowhere to upset Ole Miss in that year’s Egg Bowl preventing the Rebels from gaining a berth in the prestigious Capital One Bowl. Despite not getting his team to their own bowl that year, beating Ole Miss instantly gave him some notoriety and he spent the next few years continuing to take it to the Rebs. But over the past two seasons, it has become clear that Mullen might not be capable of leading State much further than a middle tier bowl game in good years, and not getting them to a bowl at all in the bad years. If Mullen, after letting the Bulldogs get humiliated in last year’s Egg Bowl, can’t pull out a win over Hugh Freeze and company this year and get his team to a bowl, you might start hearing the words “hot seat” associated with his name.

Ole Miss:

The Rebels on the other hand come into the Egg Bowl looking to take the next step towards becoming a serious SEC contender. Last year’s surprising 7-6 season capped off by a BBVA Compass Bowl win was pretty great for Rebel fans, but most of those fans expected this year to be one when a jump was made into the upper section of the SEC West. If the Rebels were to lose the Egg Bowl, they would finish the year 7-5, a fine record, but a little disappointing given that many thought nine wins was a realistic goal.

Ole Miss, after a disappointing showing against Missouri are hoping to make a statement this week to the various bowl committees watching around the country. Bo Wallace should be back to 100% after struggling with a case of the flu last week. The Rebs will be healthy and ready to go into Starkville to get a win.

Hugh Freeze has his team bought in to his philosophy, and winning a second Egg Bowl in as many years will go a long way in the offseason in state recruiting battle. It would also help to get to eight regular season wins with a chance to get a ninth win in the bowl game. But are the Rebels going to feel they have enough to play for? Will Mississippi State’s must-win situation give them the upper hand this year? Last year, Ole Miss needed the Egg Bowl win to become bowl eligible and they got it. Will the same happen for Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs this year?

On paper, Ole Miss holds pretty much every advantage. More talent, better coaching, etc., but Mississippi State has home field advantage and a little more to play for. It could be a year for an upset, and crazier things have happened in this rivalry than a potential Mississippi State win this week. But honestly I think Hugh Freeze and the Rebels desperately want to keep the Bulldogs out of a bowl and give Dan Mullen his first losing season since 2009, so that’s why I’m going with Ole Miss to win on Thanksgiving night.

Prediction: Ole Miss – 31  Mississippi State – 27

Warner Russell is a regular contributor for MemphiSport and The Wise Guise. Read his non-sports stuff here. Follow him @uncle_warny.

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The Week Of Redemption For Tiger Basketball

The season is still young however the University of Memphis Tigers basketball team is in redemption mode.  After starting the season in the Associated Press Top 15, the Tigers have dropped 11 spots to No. 21 after a humbling loss at Oklahoma State.

Michael_Dixon_vs_Nicholls_State

Micheal Dixon Jr. is looking to lead the Memphis Tigers’ in the right direction. (Photo by Terry Davis)

It is not bad to lose to a higher ranked team on their home court, but it is another thing to be embarrassed on national television from the opening tip to the closing horn.  The Tigers were soundly defeated by the No. 5 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys, 101-80.

Last season, the Tigers had to defend their record because of the perceived lack of competition in Conference USA.  The Tigers now are playing in the first year of the newly formed American Athletic Conference.  The Tigers have gone one step further this season by scheduled a tougher non conference schools to play.

The loss to Oklahoma State was not unexpected, but it how the team lost that was shocking.  Super sophomore guard Marcus Smart lit the Tigers up for 39 points.  The Tigers will have the opportunity to regain some respectability in the Old Spice Tournament being played in Orlando, FL this week.  The Tigers will play three games in 4 days.  If the Tigers are able to get past Siena 2-4 in the opening round and defeat the winner of the LSU 3-1 / St. Joseph’s 2-1 game, the Tigers will more than likely face the Cowboys for a second time this season.  The LSU Tigers are coached by former Tigers assistant and interim coached Johnny Jones.

Last season, the Tigers played in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament and had a total meltdown, only winning one game in the three-game tournament. Memphis can not afford another holiday tournament melt down this season.

3 things the Tigers can do to relieve some of the pressure from the home fans:

1) Improve guard play:
Some analysts had the Tigers’ guards rated as one the best back courts in the country.  Chris Crawford, Michael Dixon Jr., Joe Jackson and Gerron Johnson shot only 8-34 and had 10 turnovers in the loss to Oklahoma State.  This group can’t have such numbers in order to be successful.  This team is a guard based team and as they go the team will follow.

2) Defend the perimeter better:
Defending outside shooting was a problem for the Tigers last season in the early going it is a problem this year also.  The problem does not necessarily come from lack of defensive play, but because of lack of rebounding.  The ineffective rebounding by the Tigers allows the opponents multiple chances and increases the energy required and ultimately affects the team’s offense.

3) Freshmen play:
The highly rated incoming freshmen class is having an immediate impact.  Austin Nichols had a monster game against Nicholls State.  Austin had 20 points and was the major focus of the offense for the Tigers.  Nick King has scored in double digits in each of the three games played by the team.  King scored a season high 23 points in the loss to Oklahoma State.  King has been a vital piece in helping the team rebound better.

Terry Davis is a regular contributor for Memphis Sport.  You can follow him @terryd515.

SEE ALSO:

 

Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley expresses support for Bulls star Derrick Rose

Mike Conley can’t recall the last time he played a regular season game against Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose.

Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley was among the NBA players who expressed support for Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose, who will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury he suffered last week against Portland. (Photo by Christopher Davis/MemphiSport)

REACHING OUT — Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley was among a host of NBA players who expressed support for Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose, who will miss the remainder of the season with a severe knee injury he suffered last week against Portland. (Photo by Chris Evans/MemphiSport)

“It’s been a while,” the Memphis Grizzlies point guard told MemphiSport following Monday night’s loss against the Houston Rockets in FedExForum. “I got the chance to play against him in the preseason. But it’s not the regular season, so it’s weird not having played against him in the last two or three years.”

The Conley-versus-Rose matchup will be delayed at least until sometime during the 2014-15 season. That’s because the Bulls on Monday announced that Rose, the 2010-11 league MVP, will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a meniscus tear to his right knee.

Rose, a former University of Memphis star who led the Tigers to the 2008 national title game, injured his right knee in the third quarter of last Friday’s game against the Portland Trailblazers. The 25-year-old Rose had the medial meniscus repaired Monday in Chicago and the surgery was successful, according to various media reports.

Rose’s season-ending injury comes 18 months after the Chicago native tore his ACL in Game 1 of the opening round of the playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers. He missed the entire 2012-13 season, although he returned to full contact drills in January 2013 and doctors cleared him to play approximately two months later.

Rose’s latest injury sent shock waves around the league, most notably among a number of NBA players, who immediately turned to social media sites and posted complimentary messages and well-wishes to show support for the three-time All-Star.

Prior to his injury, Rose was the Bulls’ second-leading scorer, averaging 15.9 points and 31.1 minutes per game.

“You know, everybody was wishing him well,” said Conley, who also expressed his support for Rose via Twitter.

But after witnessing Rose play inspired basketball by scoring 13 points in the Bulls’ 106-87 win over the Grizzlies in Memphis’ preseason opener Oct. 7 in St. Louis, Conley sensed that Rose was on track to return to form much like his MVP campaign two years ago.

Besides the Bulls-Grizzlies preseason game last month, Conley said he can't recall the last regular-season meeting between he and Rose, who has endured a number of injuries in recent years. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

Besides the Bulls-Grizzlies preseason game last month, Conley said he can’t recall the last regular-season meeting between he and Rose, who has endured a number of injuries in recent years. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

“I told him I was happy to see him,” Conley said of Rose. “I told him he looks like he’s getting stronger and getting better. He was happy; obviously, he was playing hard. It was good to see him out on the court.”

After word spread that Rose would miss the remainder of the season due to yet another devastating injury, Conley, like a number of Rose’s peers, found the news difficult to stomach.

“You know it hurts man,” Conley, the longest-tenured Grizzly, said when asked how he reacted after learning that Rose would be sidelined for the remainder of the year. “I don’t take injuries lightly at all. And for a guy like him with talent, it’s got to be frustrating. It’s tough. It’s got to be tough with him carrying so much on his shoulders. I mean, he’s carrying that franchise. He was expected to turn that franchise around and he’s done that, and because he can’t play because of his injury has got to be tough on him. We all feel for him, will pray for him, and hopefully he comes back healthy.”

The Grizzlies, who travel to Boston Wednesday night at 6:30 CST, will play the Bulls Dec. 30 in FedExForum. Memphis travels to play Chicago March 7.

Andre Johnson covers the NBA for MemphiSport. To reach Johnson, email him at andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist