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Lakeshow Episode 10: The View from Houston

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God, I love the Memphis Grizzlies!

They learn nothing from mistakes and they are committed to a public relations strategy of topping the last lie with a bigger one. It's pure hilarious entertainment, a soap opera crossed with a political scandal crossed with the incompetent and self-absorbed management style of Dunder Mifflin.

They funny!

The Grizzlies are such an embarrassment to their local community that they get 4th billing on the local newspaper's website, behind Memphis Tigers basketball, Memphis Tigers football, and the paper's own columnists rambling about miscellaneous everything. If semi-pro women's softball ever comes to town, the Grizz will most assuredly slide down to 5th place on the totem pole.

Memphis is a one-pro sport town that seems to earnestly wish it was a NONE pro sport town... And really, who can blame them? Unfortunately for Memphonians, they've now got a big money modern arena there, (David Stern doesn't need Viagra, he just uses his imagination about such facilities and their bountiful luxury boxes) so they're probably stuck with that crappy franchise indefinitely.

So in the spirit of spreading the joy, I'll let long suffering Grizzlies beat reporter Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal be the one to make you giggle today...

Click on through for the joke of the day from the NBA's jokes of the year...

Griz Sign Former Pacers' Point Guard Jamaal Tinsley

Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace oversees a team that is shaky at the point and has little to no leadership in the locker room.

The hope is that veteran floor general Jamaal Tinsley provides an upgrade in both of those areas. * * *

Wallace insisted Saturday that signing Tinsley to a one-year, veteran's minimum deal had nothing to do with Allen Iverson's weeklong leave of absence due to personal reasons. * * *

"We just felt that (Tinsley's) experience and playmaking ability could be of benefit to us," Wallace said. "So we reached out to him. ... He's an accomplished playmaker. We felt that it was a chance to buy some insurance at that position." * * *

Asked whether Tinsley was signed to supplant Conley as the starter, Wallace said the Griz made no promises. Tinsley, though, was guaranteed that he'll have a chance to compete for the leading role.

"I told him this is an open-ended invitation," Wallace said. "He has to come and compete. It's a process coming back after a year and a half off. ... But we feel that Jamaal has a tremendous desire to play and resume his career. He can help make us a better team." * * *

Isn't that precious?!? Addled Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace is looking to Jamaal frickin' Tinsley to provide locker room leadership for Memphis!!!

HAW HAW HAW HAW!!!!!!!!!!

 

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You remember Tinsley? No?

Never you mind, here's a quick recap from Bleacher Report at the time of his joyously celebrated departure from Indiana:

Tinsley was the last remaining Pacer to take part in the hideous 2004 brawl at the Palace in Detroit.

Legal problems and injuries have been the main story behind Tinsley. He was owed approximately $14.7 million over the next couple years.

In a 14-month stretch, he was involved in three different late night conflicts: A strip-club incident in '06, a bar fight in '07, and a gun fight by a downtown Indianapolis hotel in December of '07. *  *  *

Sounds like an absolutely perfect "team leader" for the amalgam of thugs, egos, and incompetents that owner Michael "Family Problems" Heisley and his toady Chris Wallace are putting together in Memphis!

Can Jamaal Tinsley Night at the Fed Ex Mausoleum be far behind?

Stay tuned for additional entertaining developments, absolutely certain to follow...

 


Channel Surfing

Saturday, Nov. 14.

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Portland (7-3) at Charlotte (3-5).

When the two teams playing at the slowest pace in the NBA get together, you know there's not gonna be a lot of running and gunning. When you combine that with the fact that Charlotte puts up the fewest average points per possession of all the 30 teams, you know that the existence of the third digit on the scoreboard is probably superfluous. This game was true to form.

Why does Charlotte have so much trouble scoring? That's pretty easy to see, they've got no reliable perimeter shooters, with Gerald "Crash" Wallace, Boris Diaw, and the offensively challenged Raymond Felton their "go to" guys. That just ain't gonna git 'er done in this league...

So how did Larry Brown's Bobcats keep the back-to-backing Portland Trailblazers close? One word: defense. Time and time again, Charlotte got back fast and packed the key, forcing a cavalcade of lame jumpshots. Oden got in fast foul trouble and it became a slog. If a team is hot, Charlotte is going to lose via blowout every time. Against a team struggling to find their shots on the 4th road game in 5 nights, things become very interesting for them.

Portland was further hampered by the loss of not one but two players from its 10-man rotation in this game. Prior to tipoff, reserve Guard Jerryd Bayless twisted his ankle missing a bottom stair in a dimly-lit hallway and had to be carried to the locker room. "Rex" should be back on the floor shortly, but the Blazers could certainly have used his SuperSkill against Charlotte, driving the lane in traffic and getting to the rack. Travis Outlaw, the jumpshooting Small Ball backup 4 was lost to a much more serious injury, a broken metatarsal bone in his left foot — the same injury that caused the team to lose Martell Webster for the full season last year. It is his contract year and we shall see if Injury = Opportunity for Blazer GM Kevin Pritchard as it was a year previously with Marty.

Portland led by 8 at the half and by as many as 16 in the second half before Charlotte cut the lead to 4 in the final quarter. The Blazers managed to hold on, however, extending their NBA-longest winning streak to 6 games with the ugly victory. Blazers 80, Bobcats 74.

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Oklahoma City (4-4) at San Antonio (4-3).

The Spurs were at home and they had their Tony Parker back and even old Grandpa Bankshot was feeling spry, kicking up his heels and getting his exercise. No excuses: the San Antonio Spurs just got beat by a younger, hungrier, more athletic team, plain and simple.

The Thunder have taken the Lakers to OT and beat the living shit out of the Orlando Magic. They do not suck any more. They might even be a playoff team in the Western Conference this year. Get used to the idea.

As for the Spurs — they started 6'4" (or so) rookie DeJuan Blair at Center. Blair scored 7 points but only pulled down 1 rebound in 13 and a half minutes of action. Good luck with that, Pop.

San Antonio led by as many as 10 points in the 1st Half before giving it all up with a 14-4 OKC run coming out of intermission. OKC wound up putting up a 32 spot for the period to take a 4 point lead into the final frame. The Spurs did their best to play catchup in the closely-contested final period, with Durant and Westbrook both missing a shot during the Free Throw Derby. Parker was a foot to the left with a halfcourt heave to tie things up at the buzzer, however, and the Spurs lost for the first time this year at home.

Kevin Durant racked 25 points, Jeff Green went 21 & 10, and Russell Westbook had 19 points and 11 assists for the Thunder. OKC is currently — note well — sitting in the number 8 seed in the Western Conference playoff race. Thunder 101, Spurs 98.

Sunday, Nov. 15.

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LA Clippers (3-7) at Oklahoma City (5-4).

Many people probably thought this a meaningless matchup of lottery-bound incompetents. I saw it as a game with future playoff implications, featuring as it does two of the three leading candidates for the 8th slot in the West.

The back-to-back seemed to have caught up with OKC, who were a half step behind and prone to miss long jumpers. OKC shot an abysmal 1-for-12 from distance in the first half and found themselves chasing the Clips, who were powered by the double-digit output of Center Chris Kaman.

Kaman also did his part scarfing 4 rebounds and dishing a sweet little feed to Kareem Rush for an easy bucket. If the coaches are paying attention, this guy could be the surprise member of the 2009/10 NBA All Star team. The Clippers' front line of Camby and Kaman is solid; the addition of rookie Blake Griffin when he returns from injury could make it downright outstanding.

Midway through the 3rd Quarter, Kevin Durant and his mates turned up the intensity and the Clippers, serial losers that they are, obligingly went into a scoring slump, allowing the Thunder to come all the way back. Durant put on a show, ringing up 18 points in the 3rd Q alone. Durant finished with 40, to no avail.

It was a coin toss of a game. Down the stretch, the Clips got the ball in to Kaman for a good bucket (he finished with 25 & 7) and the highly overpaid Baron Davis drained a long trey, and there you had it. Clippers 101, Thunder 93.

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Houston (5-4) at LA Lakers (7-2).

A very wise man once said that NBA games are never won or lost in the 1st Quarter. Well, at least I remember Phil Jackson making that comment once, so it's either true or I am making shit up. Either way: this game proved the veracity of PJ's real or imagined statement. The Lakers came out roaring and very nearly had every member of the Rockets team curled up in the fetal position under the bench screaming about their childhood traumas.

I mean, after Houston scored the first bucket it was a 16-0 run for the Lakers. WHAP!!! BAM!!! SOCKO!!! POW!!!! — just like Adam West's Original Recipe 1960s Television extravaganza... Leading Scorer Trevor Ariza couldn't buy a bucket... "Holy Incompetent Roleplayers, Batman!" But then Mr. Aaron Brooks went to town, the Lakers decided to act old and fat, jacking up long jumpers and being weaksauce on the boards, and the team that wanted it more pulled ahead and won.

I've got news for you, one and all — this Lakers team is not the 2009/10 World Champions. They still might become the World Champions, mind you, when they get Pau back, if they start playing smart. They're long and they're athletic and they've got an effective offensive system... It could be. But they were World Champions LAST YEAR. That is over and done with. There are no entitlements, there is no coasting. Every single god damned game must be fought and won.

The Lakers were outhustled, outrebounded, taken to the hoop. Reggie Miller may be SHOCKED, SHOCKED I say, but not me. If you play like shit in the NBA, like the Lakers did, or you coach like shit, not calling strategic timeouts to break another team's momentum or by inserting The Worst Player in the NBA™® into the lineup during critical game time, you deserve to lose. And you will lose. And they did lose. Rockets 101, Lakers 91.

Now let's whip out our tool box and plug in our basketball Sawzall™®, the Popcorn Machine GAME FLOW CHART, shall we? Please click on that link and read along while moving your lips, if you would.

Observation 1: Houston turned it around during the 2nd Quarter with a 19-9 run. Interestingly, it was not Mr. Aaron Brooks that burned LA, but rather David Andersen who did the big damage in the period, racking up 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting and hauling down 3 rebounds.

Observation 2: Aaron Brooks had a career best 33 points. Notice that Phil put Jordan Farmar on him only for a couple minutes throughout the entire course of the game. My guess is that Farmar is the most likely of the Lakers PGs to be able to stay in front of AB a little. We certainly know by now that Derek Fisher can't. God, do we ever know that...

Observation 3: Lakers blew their engine when they gave up a quick 12-0 run midway through the 3rd Quarter. That was Mr. Aaron Brooks doing the damage there. 

Observation 4: Adam Morrison, The Worst Player in the NBA™®, scored 0 points on 0-for-1 shooting (what a brick!) during 3:10 of game action. The Lakers were Minus-4 during that interval. Not that anybody's counting.

Before we get on with the actual point of this column, an accumulation of nouns, verbs, prepositions, adjectives, and adverbs relating to the Laker-Rocket game whipped up by the bloggers and journalists of Rocketland, please hold hands with a loved one and join me in watching the latest installment of THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD:

 

 

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(1)

Pregame Projection

posted by "Jeff Who" to ClutchFans.com message board

Let's face it, we are not gonna win this game. I know you should never count out even the worst team in basketball because at the end of the day it is still ball, but we have NO chance in thse one.

You asky why? Here you are

1) We have nobody to throw at Bynum and that kid has been playing well. Against Yao there is no questions qho is better, but even with Hayes at him, Drew can easilly shoot over him and rebound over him.

2) They are MUCH BIGGER. Freaking Kings ate us alive on those boards so I don't expect any improvement in that game, especially against even bigger LA.

3) Battier hasn't really stopped anybody this season. Come on, Kobe, Roy dropped already 40 on him. He hasn't been the same defender this year. And his offense is INCONSISTENT. 1/8 or 8/10. Which night will he have? Unless he can make Kobe really work for his shots, we are not winning this one.

4) Don't expect anything even average from Ariza. Ron will own him just like he owned him last game when he was like 5/21. As much as I hate Ron and as much as he is struggling, he knows what he can do against Ariza.

Just put a little pressure at him and Trevor is completely LOST. I know Ron doesn't defend as well as he used to and he is not stopping anybody either, but he actually CAN gamble against Ariza.

The only chance we can win? If for Aaron to have a CARRER night. I mean he is playing against Fisher. This year he is not even hitting his shots, complete garbage.

Aaron will have to be agressive and I can see him dropping 30+ on Derek.

But still, Go Rockets!

 

(2)

Rockets @ La Lakers Preview-ish

by Xiane, The Dream Shake (SBN

* * *
LA is still without The Grubby Catalan aka Pau Gasol, with one of those "minor" LA injuries that seems to go on for months. When I hear medical reports out of LA I am usually reminded of the Monty Python sketch where the colonial Brit gets his leg eaten by a tiger and is told things like "A mere scratch! In the meantime, favor the other leg, old boy!". Doubtless Rocket fans everywhere are full of sympathy for LA's sad, sad plight. * * *

 

(3)

Rockets Show Off All-Around Game: Rebounding, tepid Bryant contribute to stunning win

by Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle

LOS ANGELES - They don't show it in the championship highlight videos, but the Los Angeles Lakers have seen this act. They, more than any other team the Rockets will face, should have seen it coming.

When things seem their worst, the odds longest, the Rockets are at their best.

Coming off a loss in Sacramento and seemingly trapped in a game destined to duplicate last season's Game 7 and inspiring flashbacks like recurring nightmares, the Rockets stunned the Lakers 101-91 on Sunday night. It was an L.A. sequel to the Rockets' stunning, short-handed Game 4 and 6 wins over the Lakers last postseason at Toyota Center.

"It reminded me of Game 7," said Aaron Brooks, who had a career-high 33 points in an emphatic answer to the physical defense the Lakers used against him last week. "In Game 7, they sustained the lead and grew the lead the whole time. I think we took big steps. When they went off to their run, we went off to one of our own."

The Rockets trailed by 25 in the first half of that game last spring, and they seemed headed that way when the Lakers rolled to a 16-2 start Sunday.

"It was Game 7," Shane Battier said. "We were turning the ball over. They got out, got a few dunks. It was exactly the same."

But this time the Rockets settled down. They had committed seven turnovers in the first quarter. They would commit six the rest of the game. They had rushed shots, missing seven of their first eight. The rest of the way, they moved the ball to open shooters, getting assists on 27 of the 33 field goals that were not scored off rebounds.* * *

 

(4)

Rockets 101, Lakers 91: Ariza's 'ring' of truth

by Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle

This was why Trevor Ariza came to Houston, for nights like these.

It was not that he wanted to beat the Lakers, though he seemed to enjoy that as much as a very classy pregame ceremony in which Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher gave him his championship ring and the Staples Center crowd gave him a standing ovation.

It was the way the Rockets played, the way they battled and competed, that drew him to them when the glamour teams had recruited him after the Lakers chose Ron Artest instead.

Artest played well on Sunday and with the exception of some strong defensive turns on Kobe Bryant, Ariza did not. But before the game, when Ariza was describing the Rockets to the gangs of L.A. media that circled him, he nailed it.

"I definitely think so," Ariza said when asked if the Rockets will be a playoff team. "We play hard, compete every night. Our heart and determination and will to win pretty much makes up for what we lack." * * *

 

(5)

Rockets Take Advantage of Karmic Gift - Come Back to Beat Lakers by Double Digits

by GrungeDave, The Dream Shake (SBN)

The Rockets started slow tonight. Real slow. As in, 16 quick points without much resistance for the Lakers.

Then Ron Artest pissed off the basketball gods.

Now, as much as I love you Crazy Pills — when Trevor Ariza lost his shoe and you intentionally threw it into the crowd — that probably wasn't the best idea. Karma is a bitch, dude.

Plus, you now owe Trevor Ariza breakfast, as that was a dick move.

 

(6)

NBA Broadband League Pass — Where "WTF!" Happens

by Xiane, The Dream Shake (SBN)

* * *
When does a "fluke" become a "trend"? Over the last nine games (playoffs plus 09-10 thus far) LA's record against the Rockets is 5-4. One extra bucket last week and it would be 5-4 in our favor.

This recent "dominance" has largely been accomplished by a full-strength LA team competing against a Houston team playing 40% of its payroll. At this point, it would be reasonable to hear Laker fans say something like: "Wow, Houston is just a good team. Hats off to you guys. Glad we made it past you last year." * * *

On to the game. This wasn't the result I was expecting. Not after LA got bludgeoned in Denver. La Lakers came out with manic energy, taking a big lead in the first, and somehow still found the time to throw Ariza's shoe into the crowd. Get a ring, lose a shoe. The cycle of life. * * *

Staking a nigh-insurmountable claim as Best Australian Rocket, David Andersen introduced himself to the NBA champs this evening. He scored 19 on 9-14 shooting, with a stroke so sweet it had diabetics at Staples reaching for their glucose meters. He also did what we all hoped he could do — he spaced the floor in a uniquely "Euro Center" way — pulling Bynum or Odom way out from underneath the boards to cover Andersen's jumper. Call me a hypocrite — I HATE that when it's done to Yao, but turnabout is fair play. * * *

 

(7)

Lakers Fall Hard

by Clutch, front page of ClutchFans.com

After slipping hard in Sacramento and getting killed on the glass, the Rockets looked like lambs to the slaughter going into the defending champions' place. Not so fast.

Instead, the Rockets overwhelmed the bigger Lakers on the boards (60-38) and got a couple of career highs from Aaron Brooks and David Andersen in a stunning 101-91 win in Los Angeles.

Brooks popped in 33 points while Andersen chipped in 19. Carl Landry added 15 points and 10 boards. Houston's bench outperformed LA's 48-18. They have had a few bad games, but the Rockets have been flat impressive this season.

 

(8)

Mind Blown

posted by "Solid" to ClutchFans message board

This team is blowing my mind!! Who are they? What are they? The team on paper can't do these things; the team on the court can apparently do anything. This team should not be able to beat LA in LA by ten points. No way, no how....but they just did.

Looking at the first ten games, I wrote weeks ago that if they went 5-5 we all should be deliriously happy because the early schedule was brutal. Well folks, your Houston Rockets are 6-4 and smiling.

 

(9)

Coincidence?

posted by "Spdngyns69" to ClutchFans message board

On a side note, Ariza had one of his worst games this year and I believe Artest had one of his best nights putting up 22 pts. on 18 shots and a shoe outta bounds.

Coincidence that we won?

Sure the dude shot 50 percent from the field but taking that many shots just putted his whole team in a funk. Taking shots away from your other three options isn't too wise there.

Farmar is their quickest PG and did you see brooks broke his ankles?....literally. ABZero, Mandry, and DA was the business tonight! * * *

 

(10)

A Really Great Experience

posted by "Hasher" to ClutchFans message board

Hey guys.. I saw the game at Staples and it was so awesome to cheer the Rockets on throughout the game and see them come away with the win. A few things I really enjoyed:

1 - Aaron Brooks faked out the opposing guard (Farmar? Brown?) so badly the guard fell down backwards.. I think this happened in the third quarter but I'm not sure. Aaron took the shot but missed, but it didn't matter to me.

2 - Artest stealing the ball from Ariza (I think) and then dribbling it with one hand behind him then through his legs to control it and pass it forward... it was beautiful to see even though it was against us.

3 - The recorded video PSA by Lakers players (including Artest) asking all in the crowd to refrain from discourteous behavior or activity that would incite disturbance (forgot the exact phrase).. I was thinking he might have wanted to say ".. or I'll come up there and kick your a**"

4 - Meeting AC Green totally by chance outside the arena afterwards and getting a picture taken with him.. he's pretty cool, soft-spoken guy.

5 - Applauding and whooping as the Lakers were booed during the 4th quarter.. and watching Kobe just peter out instead of stepping up like I feared he would do. People started leaving in earnest with about 3 minutes left in the game, so I was able to go down and sit up close behind the courtside seats and watch the final minutes and see how these guys look up close.. man these guys are sooo fast it's incredible.

It was my first visit to Staples and I only get the see the Rox play live maybe once a year so this was a really great experience for me.

 

(11) from a few days ago, but still a good read...

Another Season, Another McGrady Soap Opera

by Richard Justice (Houston Chronicle)

Here we go again. Another season, another Tracy McGrady soap opera. Things were a little too quiet, a little too pleasant around the Rockets. They've been winning even though they don't have a single star. They've been winning with teamwork and energy. They're fun to watch and one of the NBA's surprise stories so far.

Problem is, Tracy McGrady was being ignored. Tracy doesn't like being ignored. Tracy likes center stage. He's the NBA's highest-paid player at $23.4 million, but money doesn't buy attention.

Why would McGrady announce his return without checking with his team's coach, general manager or medical staff? Is he thoughtless, clueless or arrogant? To say the Rockets were stunned by McGrady's announcement is an understatement.

Haven't we been down this road before? The Rockets have attempted to convince themselves that a similar announcement last year about season-ending knee surgery was a misunderstanding.

There are a lot of misunderstandings with McGrady. He didn't really pick the Lakers to beat his teammates last spring. He didn't really loaf in a couple of games last season. He didn't really yank his teammates and coaches around with his constant coming and going.

McGrady began this season with bridges to mend in the locker room with the way he handled last season. He'll be the last to admit such a thing because, well, he really does think it's all about him.

Now to announce his return at a time when he hasn't even had a full return to practice might lead one to believe there's something else at play. * * *

 

The Botom Line:

1. The team that plays together, stays together...............

2. ................ they also tend to kick the asses of lazy, self-satisfied, complacent opponents.

3. One game, long season — but summarily dismiss our Rockets at your peril.