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John Mills Grizzlies Blog

John Mills, 92.9 FM ESPN's official Grizzlies blogger, blogs about his experiences
behind the boards as on-site engineer at every home game. 
Posts from April 2012


2012 Grizzlies Playoff Picture
Well everyone, it has just about been decided.  We will play a team in L.A. whether it be the
Clippers or the Lakers (most likely the  Clippers) Memphis will, in all likelihood, be the 5th
seed in the Western Conference.  The only way that will change is if the Clippers go 0-2 and
the Grizzlies go 2-0 in the final two games of the season which would flip flop the seeds for
the two teams.

So for mathematical reasons, lets just assume the Grizzlies will play the Clippers in the first
round of the playoffs.

So first off, Chris Paul is really, really good.  That is widely accepted at least, and he is going
to be a handful for Mike Conley to defend, and impossible for Gilbert Arenas to man up with.  
CP3 averaged 36 minutes a game with the Clippers this year, so that's only gives the Grizzlies
about 6 minutes of game time that Mike Conley can safely rest on the bench.  Maybe a guy like
Quincy Pondexter, or  Pargo/Selby can jump in for a couple of minutes to give Mike some more
rest, but it's going to be scary for Grizzlies fans to see anyone but Conley D-up on Paul.  In my
opinion, the Clippers with fly on the wings of Chris Paul this series, and if the Grizzlies can shut
him down, the Grizzlies will win the series.

Chris Paul X-Factor:  Will we see Tony Allen on Chris Paul?  If Conley cannot handle him, the
answer is yes.


Next we have Blake Griffin, a fan favorite for the first year he was in the NBA, but then Blake got a
Virus, THE FLOPPING VIRUS!!!!!  Everybody hates a flopper, and Blake has become a bona fide
one if I've ever seen it.  

                                                    

Griffin is really talented, but also really annoying. I think that a combination of ZBo, and Marc Gasol should be enough to shut him down,  even if he flops a lot.  Griffin can out power anyone on our bench, maybe besides Haddadi.

Why don't we talk about Hamed Haddadi for a second.  The progression this guy has made this season is really incredible.  Just think about Haddadi from last year, and compare him to the one we have today.  I don't immediately clench up and worry as soon as he checks in the game.  It's not uncommon for him to have 6+ rebounds in 5 minutes of action.  And he doesn't look as awkward around the goal as he has in the past.  I can actually think of him as a guy that can give the Grizzlies 5 good playoff minutes per game.  And that's huge for this team.

When you look past Griffin and Paul, the Clippers are pretty sparse on offense.

Randy Foye SG/PG  This is what you call a glue guy. He averages about 11 points a game, but can go off for 24 like he did last night against the Hornets.  O.J. Should be able to handle this guy, and TA would shut him down.

DeAndre Jordan  C    This guy is not an offensive powerhouse, but he can host some block parties. Don't worry about him shutting down Gasol, it's not going to happen.  The Grizzlies are going to likely run more offensive sets with Gasol or ZBo against this guy.  He could be the weak link in the Clippers starting 5

Coran Butler  SF   Butler just suffered a hip contusion, and might sit out the first game or two of the playoffs, keep an eye on this..

Kenyon Martin  SF  If Butler is out, Martin will get more than his 20 minutes a game, but he is a bit long in the tooth, this being his 11th season in the Association.  Of course on the other side of that coin, experience goes a long way in the playoffs.  I just cannot see Kenyon Martin making much of a difference in the series, and I know he isn't going to slow down Rudy Gay.

Nick Young  SG  Young averages about 14 points a game this season, but not much else.  In the past month his high in scoring was 19 and his low was and 0. With a lot of 8's 11's and 12's in between.  I dont imagine the Grizzlies will have much trouble with this guy, but you never know. He is capable of 20 points.

This is going to be a fun series, and after this compacted season, the NBA playoffs are going to be wild.  Look for a lot of analysts to have Grizzlies-Clippers as the best First Round match-up to watch.

My Prediction: Grizzlies win in 6
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You can follow John Mills on Twitter @JohnMillss
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Revenge is Sweet, Playoffs are Sweeter
The Grizzlies got payback on the New Orleans Hornets last night.  At the Half, the Hornets were leading 48-47, and everyone in the forum had that sick feeling in the pit of their stomachs "Oh no, not again!"  Well, the Grizzlies came out after halftime and absolutely demolished New Orleans.  I have watched almost every minute of every Grizzlies game this year, and I have been present for every home game,  I have never seen the Grizzlies look as good as they did last night in that 3rd Quarter.

Never.

Every shot was falling.  Every play was run to perfection. Even the role players were making things happen.  The Grizzlies outscored the Hornets 37-12 in the 3rd, and never looked back. With last nights win the Grizzlies clinched a playoff birth for the second consecutive year.  My first impression was "Man, Lionel Hollins Must have really lit a fire under their asses, and dangled the playoff birth in front of their faces."  Or maybe it was just the players giving that extra effort to secure the playoff birth.  As it turns out, at least one starter had no idea that playoff contention was on the line.  Tony Allen tweeted this last night,




I dont know what Lionel told the guys at halftime, and I dont know what was going through their heads, but if the Grizzlies can play like they did in the 3rd quarter last night consistantly, the City of Memphis is going to get a NBA Championship this year.

Follow me on Twitter @Johnmillss
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Topics: Human InterestSports
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Making the T-Wolves howl
After suffering a terrible loss in New Orleans, the Grizzlies made the trek out to Minnesota to face the patched together T-Wolves.  Tony Brothers was officiating which means that the Grizzlies didn't get any foul calls, we took 3 foul shots in the first 3 quarters compared to the 24 foul shots the Timberwolves had in the same stretch.  Luckily, the Grizzlies did not start a losing streak, and beat the Timberwolves 91-84.Rudy Gay had one of his best games of the season with 28 points, J.J. Barea  also had 28 points on a team that essentially has him, Michael Beasley, and a bunch of glue guys.  Poor Minnesota, after losing Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio they don't seem to stand much of a chance to make the playoffs. But every win is a good win.

Did you know we traded O.J. Mayo for Ray Allen?  Well technically we didn't end up making the trade, but for about 20 minutes it was a reality.  Doc Rivers actually called Ray Allen to let him know he had been traded to the Grizzlies right before the trade deadline, but the deal ultimately fell through.  Shout out to my boy Adam Majors (@Amaj10) for the heads up, here is the original article on the trade that wasn't 

Last week ESPN had the Grizzlies at number 5 in the power rankings, only to drop us all the way down to 10 this week after the bad loss in New Orleans.  Luckily the Grizzlies have a chance at redemption tonight at the Grindhouse,  They will face the Hornets for one last time this year at 7pm.  It will hopefully be an easy win, but you know what they say, "There are no easy wins in the NBA"  I'm starting to believe that....


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Can the Grizzlies lose? It doesn't seem like it.
Wow.  This is just about as good as the Grizzlies have ever looked.  After beating Chris Paul and the Clippers it is safe to say our Grizzlies are on FIRE.  On Monday before the game, ESPN released their NBA power rankings and had the Grizzlies at number 5 overall.  This again, was before the big win against the #4 seed in the west.  Also with our best defender unable to play.  

Speaking of Tony Allen,  Royce Young who is a blogger for the Oklahoma City Thunder said he would pick Tony Allan as the Defensive player of the year if they had to pick today.  While that may be a bit of a stretch in a league with Dwight Howard, I think we are likely to see a first team all defense award for TA this year.  Sadly Tony is still out with his lacerated lip, and remains doubtful for tonight, although crazier things have happened.

Tonight the Grizzlies play the Phoenix Suns who are currently in 9th place in the West, and playing their hearts out lately for the all important 8th spot in the playoffs.  This is not going to be a cake walk for the Grizzlies, but I think we can all agree this is a very winnable game.

Grizzlies-Suns tips off tonight at 7pm at the FedEx Forum, so why don't you get off the couch and come out to support your Memphis Grizzlies?  

Follow me on twitter @johnmillss 
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Topics: Sports
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What a difference a weekend makes...
So this past weekend was pretty amazing, huh?  

Friday, the Grizzlies gave the Heat their 3rd loss at home, their first home loss since January. The Grizzlies never trailed, and the game wasn't close, the Grizzlies outscored the Heat 25-12 in the first quarter, and never looked back, Grizzlies 97 Heat 82.  

This was the first game where you could really see that Gilbert Arenas is back into form.  He shot 4/5 from deep and finished with 12 points on 14 minutes of action.  The Grizzlies needed a backup point guard badly, and Gil really seems like he has filled that void.

Saturday the Grizzlies hosted the reigning champion Dallas Mavericks.  In the 1st quarter the Grizzlies jumped out to another quick lead outscoring them 29-10 at the end of the quarter.  Dallas came back to make it a 1 point game, but for the second night in a row Memphis never trailed, Grizzlies 94 Mavericks 89.  

The Grizzlies beat the Eastern Conference Champions and the Western Conference Champions in back to back nights. That's pretty impressive, wouldn't you say?

Tonight The Grizzlies play Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and the L.A. Clippers in the battle for 4th place in the West.  With a win tonight, the Grizzlies can pull to within 0.5 a game of the 4th spot, and home court advantage in the playoffs, something we'd all love to see.  The Clippers match up pretty well against the Grizz, but this is as hot as we have ever played, I like our chances.  

No word on Tony Allen's status for tonight's game.  Right now he is a game time decision.  
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13-0 runs in 4th quarters will win you games.

Grizzlies played a sloppy 3 quarters last night at the FedExForum, but came back in the 4th quarter to seal the win.  This makes 3 wins in a row for the surging Grizzlies, looking to get some room between themselves and Dallas in the playoff race. It just so happens the Grizzlies will be playing Dallas twice in the next three games, tonight in Dallas and Saturday at the Forum.  

Gilbert Arenas appeared in the first home game as a Grizzly, and shined, scoring 10 points on 4/4 shooting off of the bench, and our boy Dante Cunningham added 13 points on 6/6 shooting from the field.   As a team, the Grizzlies shot 9/17 from three point range (52.9%) O.J. Mayo had 19 points, and was a large part of the Grizzlies outscoring the Warriors 28-15 in the fourth quarter for the 98-94 win.

This was a good win for the full strength Grizzlies after surprising the Thunder in OKC, if they dropped one to a sub-par Golden State team at home, the OKC win would mean nothing.  My buddy David Basham interviewed Gilbert Arenas last night and he had a interesting point of view on this team, I'll paraphrase, "This team does not know how good we are, we can go out most nights and give a lackluster performance, and still win.  This is something we have to work on, because that doesn't work in the Playoffs."  I couldn't agree more Gilbert.

Grizzlies play the Mavericks tonight at 7:30pm CST

Follow me on Twitter for some in-game thoughts/ramblings  @JohnMillss

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People: Dante CunninghamDavid BashamGilbert ArenasO.J. Mayo




 
Rockin in OKC!

Grizzlies ran it in OKC without Mike Conley and Dante Cunningham.  Gilbert Arenas played his best game as a Grizzly, and O.J. Mayo gave us a show once again as the Grizzlies beat the Thunder 94-88.  I cannot express how big of a win this was for the Grizzlies in my opinion.  After going 0-3 against the Thunder this year, it had felt like they had made good progression in the offseason, and left the Grizzlies (the team that took them to 7 games in the playoffs last year) in the dust.  But it surely did look like the Grizzlies were the better team last night.  Here are some things I learned last night

James Harden is the black Manu Ginobili.  

Tony Allen is officially my favorite player ever in the NBA.

Lionel Hollins may be a crazy genius by putting Gilbert Arenas against Kevin Durant on defense. (It kind of worked, somehow)

Rudy Gay isn't Kevin Durant, but he isn't that far behind him.

I have had the opinion all season that Mike Conley is the most important piece of the puzzle for the Grizzlies, if we lose him, it's over.  But after last night, It is clear that O.J. Mayo, Gilbert Arenas, and Jeremy Pargo can give you serviceable minutes at the point guard position.  It feels good to have back up point guards, finally.

Conley and Cunningham are still listed as Day-to-Day, so they may not play tonight against the Warriors, but that's okay, if the Grizzlies can keep the "next man up" mentality, they're going to be a stronger team for it.  

So this HARD 8 game schedule the Grizzlies began last night, started well.  1-0

Grizzlies tip off against the Golden State Warriors tonight at 7:00pm CST at the Grind House (A.K.A. FedExForum)

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Big 3rd Quarter gets Grizzlies past the Bucks


                                                                                                             (AP Photo)

O.J. Mayo scores 24 as the Grizzlies defeat the Bucks 99-95.  

Thanks goodness for good 3rd Quarters huh?  The Grizz came out after halftime and went on a tare outscoring the Bucks 31-20 to get the lead. Luckily the Grizz held on to the lead for the remainder of the game, and got the much needed win.  This was the only time the Grizzlies will play the new look Bucks with Monta Ellis now starting at SG.  Tony Allen held Eliis to 2-12 shooting and only 8 points.  The Grizzlies are holding tight to the 6th spot in the West, but there are plenty of hungry teams within reach of spoiling a return to the playoffs for the Grizzlies.

The Grizz have a rough schedule coming up,  

 

04/02 Grizzlies vs Thunder - 07:00pm (CT)-Tickets
   
04/03 Warriors vs Grizzlies - 07:00pm (CT)-Tickets
   
04/04 Grizzlies vs Mavericks - 07:30pm (CT)-Tickets
 
 
04/06
Grizzlies
vs
Heat
-
 
 
04/07
Mavericks
vs
Grizzlies
-
 
 
04/09
Clippers
vs
Grizzlies
-
 
 
04/11
Suns
vs
Grizzlies
-
 
 
04/12
Grizzlies
vs
Spurs
-

I count 7 playoff teams in our next 8 games which is going to be tough, but not impossible.  It is important to keep things into perspective here, going .500 in the next 8 games would not necessarily be a bad thing considering who we are playing. The Grizz are 0-3 against OKC this year, and tonight will mark the fourth and final time the Grizz play OKC in the regular season, and boy wouldn't a win be nice!?!?   Keep those fingers crossed.  Tipoff is tonight at 7pm.

In other news, Kentucky is playing Kansas in the NCAA Championship tonight in what will be looked at by most as a rematch of the game that shall not be spoken of (The 2008 NCAA Championship).  Look for Kentucky to dominate at both ends of the floor, and the deal with the devil Calipari made, to finally pay off.

Prediction:  Kentucky 87  Kansas 73
 

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People: Monta EllisO.J. MayoTony Allen




 
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