Tuesday’s Fragments: Grizzlies stifle Clippers, Nuggets out-race Warriors, the wisdom of Vinny Del Negro, and the selective memory of Mark Jackson


Clippers-Grizzlies, Game 5

During Game 5 of the Clippers-Grizzlies series, Memphis out-worked Los Angeles in a second quarter that may as well have been 1-on-5: Chris Paul vs. Memphis.  During a break in the action, TNT’s coverage cuts to each team’s huddle, where the coach is seen in the huddle, doing some actual real-live “coaching.”

Having witnessed his team give up a 7-0 run, they now trail 52-45, with 2:34 left in the 2nd quarter. TNT’s Kevin Harlan: “Boy, these coaches are going at it!  With their huddles and for their teams.”  Here’s Vinny Del Negro’s sage advice for his Clippers,

We’ve got 12 points in the second quarter! We’ve gotta play…and you’ve got to run into stuff!

Cut back to Reggie Miller, who is attempting to offer color commentary,

Well, those are excellent points by both teams, because, if you’re Vinny Del Negro, other than Chris Paul and a little bit of Jamal Crawford, it’s been all isolation and 1-on-1, and you’ve got to get up and get some lobs and some run-outs.

Reggie should have promoted Vinny’s Captain Obvious statements, “Vinny forgot to tell them that they have 12 points and Memphis has 19 points this quarter!”   Isn’t it clear to anyone watching that the Clippers thrive on creating chaos with their bench, and that Memphis doesn’t get intimidated and turn the ball over?  The only way to get run-outs and lobs is to get steals and stops.  Does he know that Blake Griffin can’t run because he sprained his ankle in practice the day before Game 5.  Practice!  Apparently, we just didn’t have enough injuries in these playoffs.  Damn!

Still, I’m not sure it’s fair to blame Vinny Del Negro for the fact that Blake Griffin sprained his ankle, Lamar Odom lost his motivation when the playoffs started, and they don’t match up well with Memphis at all.

  • Chris Paul, not Dwight Howard, should be called “Superman.” But even Superman wouldn’t beat Memphis’ defense by himself.
  • How did Blake Griffin sprain his ankle in practice?  Was he actually jumping around his house on a trampoline?
  • Mike Conley is severely underrated and doesn’t turn the ball over.  In the series, Conley has 43 assists and only 9 turnovers.
  • Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are both very clever and extremely crafty.
  • Zach Randolph has amazing lateral quickness and very long arms, which is how he gets his shot off in traffic.
  • Almost every Memphis Grizzlies player has long arms, which helps make them a great defensive team.
  • Blake Griffin (when his ankle is healthy) and DeAndre Jordan are both very athletic and very exciting.
  • Blake Griffin couldn’t run and DeAndre Jordan couldn’t defend Zach Randolph or Marc Gasol, which makes Jordan pretty much useless.
  • What is Del Negro thinking by sitting Lamar Odom for the whole second half, then sending him out for the last 4 minutes?
  • While Blake Griffin can’t run, Odom sits on the bench for most of Game 5?
  • Odom and Bledsoe have not been the factors they need to be in this series.
  • Every Memphis Grizzlies player is underrated because he plays in Memphis
  • Memphis is in Tennessee
  • Tennessee is in the South, but not the deep South
  • Tayshaun Prince is a very useful role player who started his career on championship Pistons teams.  Smart trade.
  • The Grizzlies turned the ball over only 7 times tonight.  It’s hard to start a fast break when you can’t get a steal.
  • TNT needs some new announcers, and Harlan/Miller isn’t even the worst duo, or the second-worst duo.
  • Kevin Harlan is incapable of letting the game speak for itself for longer than two seconds at a time.
  • I’m sensing a Game 7 back in Los Angeles on Saturday, if Blake Griffin can run in Game 6.
  • Something you never thought you’d read: Tony Allen has the softest touch in the NBA. 

Warriors-Nuggets, Game 5

  • The Nuggets lost 3 home games in the regular season before losing Game 2 of the series.
  • Harrison Barnes hit 12 three-pointers in the final 24 games of the regular season.
  • Harrison Barnes has hit 12 three-pointers in 5 playoff games.
  • Steph Curry did not take a cortisone shot in his right ankle before Game 5.
  • Curry knows he can’t take a cortisone shot before every playoff game, unless his body will become immune to cortisone, or he might accidentally grow a third arm.
  • Curry shot 7 of 19 and 1 of 7 from distance.
  • Curry will probably take a cortisone shot before Game 6.
  • Andrew Bogut was huffing and puffing in the 2nd quarter, and played only 18 minutes
  • Bogut barely played in April before the playoffs started, nursing his foot and ankle.
  • Bogut played excellently in Games 3 and 4, when the games were played at sea level, and not at 5,000 feet.
  • Bogut will play better in Game 6.
  • Mark Jackson speaks his mind, and happens to be a bit protective of his players, which is why he called Kenneth Faried a “hit man” when Faried stuck his leg out to trip an unsuspecting Curry early in the game.
  • Kenny Smith thinks the Nuggets were “Sending Curry a message.”
  • Yes, the play was unnecessary.
  • No, the play was not all that surprising.
  • In Mark Jackson’s controversial post-game comments, he first said they sent out a “hit man” and then he talks about the fact it was “good, hard playoff basketball.”  Then he talks about the fact that he knows what it’s like, having played with Dale Davis and Antonio Davis. He played 131 playoff games in his career.
  • When the Pacers and Knicks used to play each other, there may as well have been 12 rounds and one referee.
  • Jackson’s issue probably comes from the fear that Curry’s ankles, which might be the only vulnerability to his game, are not 100%.
  • If an NBA player, especially a player as hot as Steph Curry, has ankle problems, trying to trip him up is dangerous and a cheap shot, but it is not unexpected in a playoff series.
  • The Nuggets couldn’t keep the blowout going, their lead falling from 23 to 6, eventually winning 107-100.
  • Wilson Chandler and Andre Iguodala both had their best games of the series, combining to hit 8 of 17 3-pointers.
  • Iguodala went for 25 points on 17 attempts, collected 12 rebounds, and dished out 7 assists, to go with 2 steals.
  • After turning the ball over 7 times in Game 4, Iguodala took good care of the ball, coughing it up only twice.
  • This series has been completely unpredictable.
  • My only prediction for Game 6 on Thursday is that it will be unpredictable.
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