Posts Tagged ‘Hang Time Grizzlies’

Paul Shows His True Value As Clippers Drop Grizzlies, Move On To Face Spurs





HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS – Now you know why the Lakers were in such an uproar when that Chris Paul trade fell through.

With a playoff series on the line in a Game 7 on the road in Memphis, a beat up and worn out Paul dragged the Los Angeles Clippers to the finish line against the Hang Time Grizzlies by sheer force of will. Then, the Clippers’ bench gave the final push Sunday at the FedEx Forum in the 82-72 win that sealed their date with the San Antonio Spurs in one Western Conference semifinal.

Through three quarters, however, it was all Paul. It was his toughness and relentless attacks on both ends of the floor that set the tone for the visitors and kept the home crowd from overwhelming the moment.

“I felt like we should have won earlier,” the always confident Paul said after leading the Clippers to just their third playoff series win in 41 years. “But it doesn’t matter. As long as you win, I think it is a step in the right direction for our franchise.”

He was so confident he bought plane tickets to San Antonio for his wife and son on Saturday. You don’t operate with that kind of confidence unless you know your will to win is greater than that of your competition. And time and again in this series, Paul showed himself as the superior competitor to anyone else on either side.

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Hang Time Grizzlies On The Edge





HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS – The uneasy feelings started around here in Game 1, when the Hang Time Grizzlies squandered that 24-point fourth-quarter lead and allowed the Los Angeles Clippers to snatch a tone-setting victory away from the home team.

Everything that’s happened since, even the one win our Grizzlies managed in this series, didn’t produce the sort of cosmic confidence expected or even seen during last season’s magical playoff run that included an upset win over the top-seeded Spurs in the first round. The same finishing kick that paved the way for that run a year ago has evaporated.

The Grizzlies have been brutal in the fourth quarters of three of the four games played in this series against the Clippers and should not be surprised to find themselves on the ugly end of a 3-1 ledger that sets up Wednesday night’s Grind-Or-Go-Fishing Game 5 in Memphis.

“It’s a shoulda, woulda, coulda deal when you look at the film,” Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley said before Monday night’s overtime loss in Game 4. “Sometimes you just don’t know how we lost. We’ve got to find a way to correct our mistakes because we’re right there. We can still win this series.”

Forget the film young fella.

We’ll just give you the raw numbers. The aggregate score so far in this series is Grizzlies 289, Clippers 284. But the fourth-quarter scoring, on the other hand, is Clippers 87, Grizzlies 58.

The glaring defense down the stretch of these games has been Chris Paul. The Clippers have the player who rises to the occasion repeatedly at winning time while the Grizzlies can’t seem to get themselves together at crunch time.

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LA Story: Brown Benches Bryant





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – It’s still not clear what is more surprising: Lakers coach Mike Brown benching Kobe Bryant late in Sunday night’s home loss to the Grizzlies or Bryant’s (non)reaction to being benched.

We have to admit, Brown did something we can’t remember any coach doing to Bryant since his earliest days in the league … and come to think of it, we’re not really sure he was ever “benched” back then. And in Brown’s mind, he had a perfectly reasonable explanation for benching Bryant in favor of Metta World Peace, telling The Los Angeles Times:

“There was not one particular thing. I just made the sub, went with Metta, sat [Bryant] for a couple of minutes and tried to go back to him. But it didn’t work.”

Bryant was clearly upset about being benched, and we’re certain it wouldn’t have mattered who he was benched for. He chose to try to take the high road, refusing to criticize Brown’s decision while clearly frustrated with the move:

“It’s his decision to make. He’s the coach. If you guys are looking for a story, I’m not going to contribute to it,” Bryant said. “I can’t sit here and criticize his decisions. Leading this ball club, that’s not something I can afford to do. I had his back the whole season. I can’t start doing something crazy now. It would make no sense.”

Of course, punching a chair on the bench in frustration during a timeout and then walking out of the huddle while the coaches were still drawing up a play could be seen as “insubordination” on many levels.

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The Best Bargain Of This NBA Season





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The first victim of the amnesty clause in the new collective bargaining agreement will have yet another distinction before this NBA seasons ends.

And we’re calling it right now: Gilbert Arenas will be the best bargain of this NBA season. After signing with the Grizzlies, Arenas is being welcomed into the Hang Time family with open arms. And it makes it even easier to show him love when you realize that the Grizzlies are paying him $300,000 for the remainder of this season.

That’s a minimal investment (by NBA standards) with the potential for some ridiculous rewards, if Arenas still has some of that old Agent Zero magic left in him.

He certainly fills a glaring need for the Grizzlies, as Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal points out:

It’s a move that was called a win-win proposition for both parties as the Griz prepared to face the Sacramento Kings Tuesday night in the Power Balance Pavilion.

“We need shooting and that’s something he’s been able to do throughout his career,” forward Rudy Gay said. “He’s somebody that’s battle tested who can help us out.”

Reserve guard O.J. Mayo worked out with Arenas in Chicago about two years ago. Mayo learned two things about the 30-year-old Arenas.

“He’s a hard worker and he wants to win,” Mayo said.

The Griz are also confident that Arenas understands the situation. He’s being added to spell backup point guard Mike Conley and occasionally play shooting guard off the bench.

Arenas, a 10-year veteran and three-time All-Star, expressed a willingness to play a limited role. And there is no fear in the Griz front office, on their bench or in the locker room that Arenas will balk at being a reserve.

If Arenas is willing to be a role player, he’ll be one of the few capable of the exploits he’s shown he can accomplish throughout his career. And for a playoff team — any playoff team — to have a lethal scorer coming off the bench whenever they need him, that’s a luxury everyone wants.

Sellout Streak In Jeopardy?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Ask anyone that’s covered NBA games for a living to name the three best home court atmospheres and the Rose Garden in Portland is sure to make their short list.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the regular season or a playoff game. Folks in Portland love their Trail Blazers (and sports teams in general). So you can imagine the immediate reaction I had when I saw this ditty from the Oregonian‘s John Canzano questioning whether or not the Trail Blazers’ 166-game sellout streak might be in jeopardy when they return from their current six-game road trip for back-to-back games against the Kings (Jan. 23) and Hang Time Grizzlies (Jan. 24):

… insiders at One Center Court tell me that there’s some minor angst internally about the streak surviving those back-to-back games against chronic lower-tier opponents.

“You have no idea how difficult it is to pull off a sellout,” one high-ranking Blazers official told me. “It’s a siege to pull off a single sellout.”

Team president Larry Miller said he’s looked at those two games and feels, “we have a pretty good shot at a sellout, but it’s not easy.” And the Blazers are hoping a productive road trip and some smart marketing will move Blazers fans to buy tickets and keep the streak alive.

“You definitely have to look at certain games and try to figure out how to position them and market them,” Miller said. “But I think the community feels connected to the players and views the arena as the place to be on a game night.”

As much as I’d hate to see the streak come to an end, the realities of what’s going on around the country right now economically are staring us all in the face. Sitting in Philips Arena Monday afternoon — on a holiday — and seeing thousands of empty seats brings home the bottom-line impact this recession is having on the game.

Miller is right, it’s not easy … even in a hoops hotbed like Portland (or anywhere else right now).

But if I had to break the piggy bank here at the hideout and put some money on any one fan base rising up and making sure their sellout streak continues, I’m going with the folks in Rip City!

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About Last Night: In The Groove

– Rock Your 2012 All-Star Vote — 

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We had too many games and way too many sick highlights from Wednesday night for us to waste your time this morning yapping.

So instead of lowering the boom on the Knicks or Wizards about their feeble showings or celebrating the Clippers … or the Hang Time Grizzlies … or the Heat … or the Bulls for looking great again. While some teams are struggling to find their way, some teams are already in the groove!

You can check them all out on the Daily Zap:

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Heat fans will insist that we don’t dole out the proper love for their team around here on a regular basis. But don’t confuse us keeping two car lengths behind the Heat bandwagon with us not respecting their power.

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About Last Night: Super Tuesday?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The Iowa caucus results mean little around here, beyond providing the perfect title for this morning’s lookback at last night’s action around the league.

And it was Super Tuesday indeed for some teams, like the Bulls, Cavaliers, Trail Blazers, Hang Time Grizzlies, Jazz and Lakers. For others like the Hawks, in particular, it was a night to forget. The Hawks fumbled a 19-point lead over the Bulls at the United Center, crumbling down the stretch behind their own free-throw woes and the crushing weight of Derrick Rose being well, Derrick Rose.

Fan Night tends to deliver on the drama and this one certainly did, complete with another monster night from Andrew Bynum (21 points, 22 rebounds and 3 blocks … his first 20-20 games of his career) and a 37-point barrage from Kobe Bryant in the win over the Rockets.

Perhaps we shoveled dirt on these Lakers a bit prematurely?

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You Wish Your Owner Talked Like This

– For the latest updates check out: NBA.com’s Free Agent Tracker

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Our years of devotion to the (Hang Time) Memphis Grizzlies paid off handsomely last season in a magical run to the Western Conference semifinals.

While most of the so-called punditry were busy making fun of that unwavering allegiance to a team that had never won a playoff game, let alone a series before last spring,  we were hard at work trying to convince anyone willing to see what we saw.

Now that the Grizzlies have taken a bite out of the league, their owner (the real one, Michael Heisley, we just serve as his proxy here at the hideout on a daily basis) is setting his aim a little higher than just making noise in the playoffs.

Heisley didn’t hide his goals in an interview with Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal, stating that he fully expects the Grizzlies to contend for championships in the immediate future with the one of the best young rosters in the league. You wish your owner talked like this:

Q. You recently said for the first time publicly that you’re committed to winning a championship. How close are you to winning an NBA title?

A. The players are going to determine how close we are. I can honestly tell you that I think we have a real chance over the next two or three years to win the NBA championship if we get some breaks and a couple of our players develop into their potential. We’ve got a few years where Zach (Randolph) will be playing at a high level. Rudy (Gay) is young and just beginning to come into his own. (Mike) Conley is young. We’ve got a team that’s young and they like each other. The chemistry in the locker room is good. I’m not sure what is going to happen, but I feel like we have a good, deep team. It isn’t like we have five players and then we drop off a cliff. I’m not telling you we’ll win a championship but I’m saying I won’t be surprised if we make a big run for it. That’s honest. I haven’t gone around saying that my whole career in Memphis. I feel like we have something special.

You have to remember, when the Grizzlies knocked off the San Antonio Spurs and then took the Oklahoma City Thunder to the limit in a thrilling series, they did so without Gay in uniform. Randolph, Marc Gasol, Conley and Tony Allen led the charge then, with plenty of help from a solid supporting cast that included inspired effort from O.J. Mayo.

If Lionel Hollins can harness what this team did in the playoffs and unleash it during this abbreviated season, there could be more postseason fury in store for teams facing these Grizzlies.

And while the championship talk from Heisley is probably a little early, we admire his unbridled ambition. Not every owner is willing to speak so clearly about such things.

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Donuts For Rubio In EuroBasket Opener

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Twelve games in one day is a bit much to chew on when you’ve been away from live game action for nearly two months.

We’re admittedly a little rusty around the hideout.

But we can’t thank the basketball gods enough for delivering us this smorgasbord of hoops when we needed it most. Day 1 of EuroBasket 2011 was filled with action and plenty of surprises, both good and bad.

In case you were worried, Dirk Nowitzki hasn’t lost a step since his triumphant playoff run and Finals MVP showing. Pau Gasol looked good and rested. And the host nation team, Lithuania, didn’t disappoint in their opener.

There was even a Ricky Rubio sighting this morning, although I’m still trying to figure out how he pulled off the performance he did. In fact, Rubio stole the show here at the hideout, posting donuts across the board (save for a couple of steals) in 16 uninspiring minutes in his international debut as a bona fide NBA player.

More on that later in the rundown of games we saw … (some more than others) …

Serbia 80, Italy 68 (Box Score)

You know it’s going to be a good competition when you tip off group play with a game like this one. Italy chewed into an 18-point deficit in time to make Serbia work for this one in the fourth quarter. Serbia made just nine of 26 shots from beyond the 3-point line to Italy’s 2-for-17, another advantage for a team that finished as the silver medalist in this competition in 2009. Having superior depth is what made the difference for Serbia as they got 30 points off the bench in the win.

  • Italy’s 18-10 lead early on didn’t hold up, not with center Andrea Bargnani contributing just two points on 1-for-6 shooting in the first half (he came off the bench). He warmed up after halftime and finished with a game-high 22 and nine rebounds. Danilo Gallinari turned his right ankle midway through the third quarter and came out of the game a couple of minutes later. He did return in the fourth.
  • Milan Macvan came off of the bench for Serbia and dropped 10 second-quarter points as they erased that early deficit. He chipped in with four more during an 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter to help put the game away. He found all the holes in the Italy’s zone defense, making six of his seven shots from the floor. As we learned from the Dallas Mavericks during the playoffs, bench play is often the difference between winning and losing in a tournament setting.
  • Serbia’s starting guards, Milos Teodosic and Milenko Tepic, put on a show of their own. They combined for 30 points and 12 assists and combined to shoot a wicked 6-for-10 from beyond the 3-point line.

Spain 83, Poland 78 (Box Score)

One Gasol is enough to keep defending champion Spain in the hunt for a repeat title. Having two, however, is a luxury that no doubt every other team in the competition would love to have. Pau Gasol scored 12 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter as Spain had to hold on to squeeze past Poland in the final seconds to win their opener. Marc Gasol finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in just 23 minutes of action.

  • Rubio was still the one guy we were most eager to look at in this game and something was clearly missing from his game. He missed a wide-open, second-half layup and was not a factor in his limited minutes on the floor. Piling up zeros across the board the way he did after all the hype that has accompanied him the past months (and years) was definitely a disappointment.
  • Seeing Serge Ibaka work as a role player behind the Gasols was interesting, especially after seeing him play such a huge role for a Thunder team that made its way to the Western Conference finals during the NBA playoffs. Ibaka was his usual workmanlike self, though, scoring seven points on 3-for-4 shooting in his 14 minutes.
  • HT-fave and former Hang Time Grizzlies point guard Juan Carlos Navarro is always a welcome sight on the court. We jokingly nicknamed him the “Stockbroker” a few years ago (the logic being that he’d look like a Wall Street-type in street clothes). It’s a term of endearment for a player that always shows up the way he did against Poland (23 points). His free throws and a crucial 3-pointer in the final seconds were the difference in what turned out to be a much tighter game than most expected.

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Preseason Schedule Ready To Go

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – In a perfect, lockout-free NBA world, our first glimpse of the Mike Brown-led Los Angeles Lakers will come early this season.

The Lakers and Golden State Warriors kick off the 114-game preseason schedule on Oct. 9 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. The complete preseason schedule (click here to view it) was released this afternoon. The exhibition season concludes Oct. 28; the NBA’s 66th regular season tips off — or it’s supposed to, anyway — Nov. 1.

Brown’s Lakers promise to be one of the most interesting teams to watch early on, as do the new-look Warriors with their new head coach, Mark Jackson, running the show.

TNT’s preseason games include the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat visiting the Memphis (Hang Time) Grizzlies on Oct. 20 (8 p.m. ET), and the Lakers hosting their intra-city rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers, Oct. 27 (10 p.m. ET) in a game scheduled to be played in Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, Calif. ESPN will air a doubleheader the following night, with the Heat hosting the Washington Wizards (7 p.m. ET) followed by the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks visiting the New Orleans Hornets (9:30 p.m. ET).

Israel’s Maccabi Haifa is slated to play a friendly against the Magic in Orlando on Oct. 23. Maccabi Haifa secured a Top 16 finish in the 2010-11 FIBA EuroChallenge. It would be a return trip for Maccabi Haifa, which visited the the states for the first time during the 2010 NBA preseason, dropping a contest to the New Jersey Nets, 108-73.

Dive in here for a look at the entire 114-game preseason schedule!