LA Clippers, Meet James Johnson

Well, Comcast struck again.  The Hawks played last night, and many of us outside Memphis were screwed.  Normally, I would have improvised quickly, going straight to the computer in hopes of finding a janky feed to stream the game.  I didn’t.  It was Friday night, and I was clowning, hard.  My fanhood warranted questioning as the Hollywood caliber actors that are the LA Clippers were on the menu.  My mistake indeed.  Twitter users following the likes of Chris Vernon, Chris Herrington, Geoff Calkins and others saw their feeds effectively blow up as the Grizzlies took the fight to the Clippers, spearheaded by James Johnson on his night.  The Neck Tattoo giveaway was a great success.  Calkins put it well capping the victory:

Clippers coach Doc Rivers credited Tony Allen, James Johnson, and Mike Miller for changing the game with their energy.  The Grizzlies bench outscored the Clippers reserves 43-7, and that is the stat of the day…I don’t know if I have ever seen something like that in a Grizzlies box score.

Now, back to James Johnson:

Block on Green, 2 Dunks by Johnson

Alley oop off the backboard

Twitter traffic mounted when Tony Allen returned to a standing ovation and, paired with Johnson, proceeded to wreak havoc on the perimeter.  The bench manhandled their counterparts, then came the highlight plays and commentary to go with it:

David Stern was smiling somewhere, as Adam Silver continues his predecessor’s bidding of eternally dooming Memphis with horrible officiating. And we noticed:

In the end, there was just too much Grizz:

Highlights and social media aside, the Grizzlies have come out of the All-Star Break strong with two solid wins at the Forum. Now that Tony Allen has returned, the roster is near full strength (minus Quincy Pondexter), and continued health will be key to rising up the West standings.  The Grizz are currently 1 game behind the Mavericks who hold the 8th seed.  Tonight, Memphis travels to Charlotte for a quick 1 game road trip before returning home to play the Lakers on Wednesday.  Dallas plays at Detroit tonight, so by the end of the day the Grizzlies could leapfrog the Mavericks and claim the final spot.

Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

AP Photo/Lance Murphey

AP Photo/Lance Murphey

Tip off tonight:

7:00 ET / 6:00 CT

Time Warner Cable Arena

Charlotte, NC

-Travis Nauert

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Take it to Twitter

I mean what can I say? This just sucks. Mike Conley has been playing some of the best ball in the league right now. So, you can imagine the heartache of helplessly watching him roll his ankle on J.J. Barea’s foot in the 4th quarter last night. Unanswered questions filled my mind, and like any respectable member of Grizz Nation, I impatiently want my answers NOW. So, where do Grizzlies fans look for the most up-to-date info on our favorite point guard?

These days the answer will always be Twitter.

It’s fast, it’s simple, and right now, the list of credible and timely legitimate and self-proclaimed sports reporters (I’m guilty) is endless. From the moment Conley went down it took less than 24 hours for an accurate and thorough medical update. How cool is that?

Let me show you what I mean.

 

Pause for a night of restless sleep and a full day of constant Twitter refreshing.

 

Over the last 10 games, Conley averaged 18.2 PPG, 6.5 assists, and 1.5 steals. We desperately need numbers like this. At this point Grizz Nation knows how to patiently wait out a recovery, but that doesn’t mean we like it.

mike-conley-memphis-grizzlies-nba-playoffs-2013-lockerroom

(Robert Beck/SI)

BearsofBeale wishes you a safe
and speedy recovery, Mike!

-Casey Black

Bayless Traded as Grizz Down Detroit, Head Home

Bayless Joins Long List of Fallen Backup Grizz Guards

A weekend dominated by the NFL Wildcard Round has been breached with Grizz relevant headlines. Jerryd Bayless has been traded to Boston in exchange for Courtney Lee. The move could trigger subsequent deals as the Grizzlies search for answers in the crowded Western Conference. The NBA Trade Deadline looms a month and a half away (Thursday, February 22nd @ 2PM Central time to be exact), and the Grizz have underperformed compared to fans’ lofty expectations.

Lee is in his 6th year out of Western Kentucky. He was drafted 22nd overall in 2008 by Orlando and played for the Magic, Nets, and Rockets prior to joining the Celtics last season.

courtney-lee-dribbling-881x500

Following the acquisition of James Johnson, the front office continues to be proactive in improving the team’s perimeter play. This season, Lee has converted .422 on 23 of 52 attempts from 3 point range, while Bayless has struggled shooting .288 on 23 of 80…giving Bayless a minuscule 28 bonus attempts…and misses. For their careers, Lee still outshoots Bayless, although by a smaller margin of .387 to .343. Physically, Lee is listed at 6’5″, two inches taller than Bayless at 6’3″. Memphis remains last in the NBA in 3 pointers made and attempted per game, at 4.3 and 14 respectively, and are tied with Milwaukee for 21st in 3P% at .343.

Chris Vernon and Chris Herrington presented other noteworthy points:

Also of interest, the Grizzlies waived recently acquired Seth Curry, younger brother of Warriors PG Steph Curry. Seth made his Grizz debut late in the 4th quarter against Detroit today. However, ESPN’s Marc Stein believes Memphis will attempt to resign Curry the younger, if he clears Waivers, to a second 10-day contract. After a second 10-day contract, a decision will be made to sign him for the rest of the season or not.

Grizz down Detroit, win 2nd half 61-28

A Sunday matinée victory over Detroit puts Memphis at 15-18 on the year, standing 4 games behind the timeless Dirk Nowitzki and his 8th place Mavericks. The Grizzlies are in an exclusive club with Charlotte (which is never good, except Charlotte can actually lay claim to a playoff spot at the moment) as the only two teams in the league that have yet to defeat a divisional opponent. Memphis is 0-8 vs Southwest teams, while Charlotte is 0-5 against the Southeast.

The bullies on the block did the dirty work, despite Marc Gasol’s continued absence. Jon Leuer was the catalyst off the bench, leading all scorers with 23 points and collecting 8 rebounds split evenly between the offensive and defensive ends. ZBo was ZBo, going for 16 points, 16 rebounds, plus 5 assists. Ed Davis was an efficient 7-11 from the field, scoring 17 points to go with 11 rebounds. All of this was done against a long, athletic Detroit front court that consists of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, and Josh Smith.

James Johnson continues to turn heads and did so again with this dish to Ed Davis:

The last game for one Grizz…

(Photo by D. Williams/Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by D. Williams/Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

And the first for another…but maybe his last, but also maybe not.

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Back to the Grindhouse

The Grizz return to Memphis and FedEx Forum for a 4 game stretch, beginning Tuesday night against San Antonio.  The stand concludes a week from Tuesday against Oklahoma City.  This is another opportunity to improve an alarming 7-11 home record after going 32-9 inside the Forum last year.

(photo from basketball.ballparks.com)

(photo from basketball.ballparks.com)

Tipoff in Memphis:

Tuesday, January 7

7:00 PM Central

 

 

 

-Travis Nauert