Rudy Gay’s Return to Memphis

Rudy Gay returned to Memphis tonight for the first time since being traded last year.  When the trade first happened, the Grizzlies fan base was split.  Many people thought the Grizzlies’ front office was giving up on the season and clearing cap space.  Obviously they were not quitting on the season, and the Grizzlies had their best result in franchise history.  A popular topic on Memphis talk shows today was if the fans would cheer or boo Rudy Gay.  There were a few boos when he was announced in the pregame introductions, but it seemed like more people cheered.  Rudy was not the only Raptor coming back to Memphis to play.  Kyle Lowery and Austin Daye are both former Grizzlies that are now on the Toronto Raptors’ roster.  Lowery seems to always hurt the Grizzlies, but Austin Daye was inactive tonight.

When the game actually started, Rudy Gay stayed quiet through the first quarter letting DeMar DeRozan do most of the perimeter scoring.  Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson, Kyle Lowery, and DeMar DeRozan all had three pointers for Toronto.  Rudy Gay was 4/6 from the three-point line, and 8/18 overall from the field with 4 turnovers, 4 assists, and 6 rebounds.  Gay logged 41 minutes of playing time.  Amir Johnson had 14 points and 2 turnovers.  Kyle Lowery had 21 points ,and was 3/5 from the three-point line.  Lowery was 6/10 overall from the field.  DeMar DeRozan had 18 points, went 7/13 from the field, and had 4 assists.  This game was all Toronto from the middle of the second quarter on, with the exception of the beginning of the third quarter.  Rudy Gay had one his most efficient nights of the season, and he had an uncharacteristic 4 assists.

The Grizzlies did not look bad in the first quarter, and looked like last year’s Grizzlies for a good chunk of the third quarter.  Mike Conley had an excellent night, but the Grizzlies had no help at all from their bench.  The Grizzlies had four guys in double digits, but they were all starters.  Conley, Allen, Gasol, and Randolph all were in double figures, and Conley had a team high 29 points.  Conley had 5 assists and 3 steals to go along with his 29 points.  Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph each had double-doubles.  Gasol had an 18 and 10 night, and Zbo had a 10 and 10 night.  The Grizzlies bench looked absolutely awful.  The Grizzlies have been labelled one of the deepest teams in the NBA, but the bench has yet to prove they can be consistent night in and night out.

This game was just a dumpster fire for the Grizzlies.  Other than Conley’s great numbers, nothing went right for Memphis.  This was the second “grizzaster” the Grizzlies have had on their home floor in the past week.  The fans are hitting the panic button, and it is getting hard not to blame them.  The Warriors game is the only game this season that the Grizzlies looked like a good basketball team.  Something has to change soon or the Grizzlies will be in too deep of a hole to climb out of.  Like i have said before, Coach Joerger needs to shorten the rotation,and only play the 7 or 8 guys he feels gives the Grizz their best chance to win.  The Grizzlies also need to pound the ball inside and play through their big men.  The Grizzlies have obviously been the most successful when doing this so why did they stop?  This roster is not built to out shoot other teams, it’s built to push other teams around inside and score in the paint.  This team was built for grit and grind basketball, not run and gun and perimeter shooting basketball.  The Grizzlies have to make some changes quick  if they want to keep this season from going down the drain.  The Grizz start a west coast trip friday with a bunch of winnable games.  Memphis needs to take at least three of those four games before returning home to play the L.A. Clippers.  (all stats are from nba.com)

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