Game #29: Memphis… you dirty, dirty town…

Sixers go on the road against the dark horse, Grit and Grind Memphis Grizzlies. The first stop on their Murder’s Row west coast trip. Turner and Holiday combine for 14 points on a poop-sicle 5 for 20 shooting. Sixers win by 10…

WWHHAAATT?!?!

wright drive

a 99 to 89 WIN in Bluff City, Sixers bring their A GAME to kick off Kwanzaa, as the Quaker founded Philadelphians take a 1-0 season series lead on the Andrew Jackson founded Memphians (a founding presumably consummated by shooting some Indians…)

andrew jackson shooting tecumseh memphis chickatow indianspeacable kingdom

While the Grizzlies brutish, All-Star frontcourt presented Doug Collins with the  classic “I better start Kwame Brown, I need some size…” trap, he showed some real growth in trusting a smaller line-up made up of actual basketball players, and one of those wavy inflatable arm guys..

In spite of a valiant defensive effort from Young/Allen/Hawes, the Memphis bigs got theirs, powered by 23 Dancing Bear points from Zach Randolph (more on him later…) and 18 from Gasol. But the rest of the Griz roster shoots an impossibly bad 15 for 57 from the field, suffocated by an aggressive Sixers defense who played another Doppleganger game, mimicking the pressure cooker Memphis D to great effect, racking up 9 steals and a season high 12 blocks.

doppleganger 2

THE GOOD:

Dorell Wright, guess he found his shot… Wright goes bananas for 28 points on 11 shots, 5 3’s and 7-8 from the free throw line. He also grabbed 6 rebounds and blocked 2 shots, looking very, very, for real and even shoring up the defense.

The impressionable Sixers D: their ability to play exactly as hard as their opponent is staggering. The D shows up twice in the last three games against #2 ranked Memphis and #5 ranked Atlanta. In between they take a nap against 18th ranked Brooklyn.

Holiday on Conley: Not much of shooting night for Holiday, but he smothers the swift footed Conley, stalling the Memphis offense.Conley shoots the Griz right out of the game, going 3 for 17…

holiday defense

the Thaddues Young/Spencer Hawes Block party: combining for 9 swats, and a pumped up Spencer Hawes joins Thad in running all over the court, grabbing 3 steals a piece. Must have been all the energy he’s saving with his new Segway…

Zach Randolph, Spencer Hawes

If all it takes is less walking for Spencer to play like this, I recommend that Kwame Brown and Arnett Moultrie start carrying him in on a litter…

Sixers Bench: Nick Young nets an effortless dozen, combining with Hawes’ 20 to comprise the bulk of the Sixers 38 bench points, doubling up the Grizzlies 19.

THE BAD

Memphis frontcourt attack (bad for the Sixers at least): Damn these guys are good, the twin post attack reviving images of the NBA circa 1990 and in brazen defiance of the small-ball renaissance.

San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Six

Can I wax poetic about the Dancing Bear, Zach Randolph? 

dancing bear Randolph

I find his game utterly beguiling, a deluvian 280 lbs mass of fat and muscle, paired with ballerina feet, unquestioned madness, and some of the softest hands in the league. A hypnotic mixture of brutalism and grace.

Here’s the greatest performance of his career, crushing the #1 seeded Spurs in the 2011 Playoffs.

THE UGLY

Evan Turner: Matched up against an elite defensive maniac, Tony Allen, he plays 41 minutes, scores 1 measly point, commits 6 turnovers. In fairness he notched 9 assists and 6 rebounds, but on most nights, a performance like that will doom the Sixers.

evan-turner crazy 2

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