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Look at these OJ Mayo fans…

Look at these OJ Mayo fans…

Post Game Conference Looks with Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, and, Chris Paul

Not only is the Clippers-Grizzlies series the best series of the opening round, but perhaps the best dressed.  

Photos by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

OJ Mayo is cold blooded. 

OJ Mayo is cold blooded. 

O.J. Mayo, Darrell Arthur & Group Home.

Zach Randolph holds up O.J. Mayo in celebration, after his last-second, game-winning jumper lifted the Grizzlies over Dallas. This also marks the first time that Zach Randolph has ever intentionally held the mayo.
(Sean Keane)
(Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

Zach Randolph holds up O.J. Mayo in celebration, after his last-second, game-winning jumper lifted the Grizzlies over Dallas. This also marks the first time that Zach Randolph has ever intentionally held the mayo.

(Sean Keane)

(Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)

Been and said it. Not enough ice cream on planes these days.

Been and said it. Not enough ice cream on planes these days.

Defensive Breakdown or Incredible Shot?

Last night the Sacramento Kings and Memphis grizzlies gave us a thrilling finish to a decently competitive game. 

With 5.5 seconds to go the Kings were up 97-96 over the Grizz. Memphis took out the ball in their own front court. O.J. Mayo received the pass on the wing, took a dribble towards the top of the key and hit an extremely difficult one legged fade away from about 20 feet out with just 1.5 seconds on the clock. 

Sacramento had no Timeouts left and Memphis retreated thinking that was the end of it, up 98-97. 

Clearly that wasn’t the end of the game and Matt Moore, NBA scribe and Memphis Grizzlies fan,  thinks that Memphis did a pathetic job of covering the final 1.5 seconds of regulation. 

Let’s have a look.

Consider the fact that it takes about 0.4 seconds (by NBA rules) to get a shot off. That leaves the Kings 1.1 seconds to get the ball inbounds and in position for a shot. Now consider that a speed demon like Rondo takes about 3.5 seconds to go from coast to coast. 

With no timeouts left to advance the ball, Sacramento only had two options: 

1. A Hail Mary toss down the court. (i.e. The Christian Laettner Play)
or
2. A running half court shot (because that’s about as far as a ball handler can get before time expires)

At this point, Memphis should have some kind of pressure on Sacramento’s ball handlers. As you can see in the photo below, Rudy gay is hovering in the middle of the court, essential defending no one. Giving DeMarcus Cousins and easy inbound pass to Evans at their own free throw line.

Pressure on Evans would have forced him to have to run up closer to the in-bounder, putting him further from his target and making the final shot that much harder.

Memphis has already done a terrible job on this play. They allowed Tyreke Evans, Sacramento’s best player, to receive the ball with no defender in front of him. 

Once Memphis realizes the situation, Rudy Gay quickly tries to rotate over. But instead of trying to defend Evans by taking a good angle and detering his progress, Rudy opts to go behind Evans and try the old reach-around defense. 

At this point we can see where the other three defenders are for the Grizzlies. Conley is on the near sideline with Beno. Randolph and Mayo are floating between the three-point line and half court. Marc is at the free throw line defending the Hail Mary play.

Conley was covering Beno on the near sideline. Nothing wrong there but once Evans catches the ball, you have to know there isn’t going to be another pass, especially with just 1.5 seconds left in the game. Conley has to try and get over to Evans as fast as he can but if you watch the video, he just gingerly strolls over towards the general vicinity of the shot. 

As for Zach Randolph and O.J. Mayo? They aren’t even within 20 feet of Evans when he gets the shot off. 

If they were defending the Hail Mary, I understand why they would stand this far back. But that pass was never committed. They had to recognize the situation and run up to at least half court soon as Evans was given the in bound pass. 

When Evans takes his shot, there isn’t a Memphis defender in front of him for about 20 feet. 

One of the biggest complaints from Grizzlies fans was why didn’t Mayo or Randolph run up and put a hand in Tyreke’s face?

While I understand where they are coming from, one thought that crosses my mind is that since O.J. and Zach were so far out of position and they reacted as late as they did, they would be running full speed at a player who is also running full speed at them and already in the act of shooting. 

There was probably a greater risk that they foul Evans than help defend an already extremely difficult shot. 

The issue here wasn’t that no one got a hand up in Evans’ face. The Defensive breakdown came when Evans was allowed to catch the ball unguarded and so close to half-court while the rest of the defense was so far out of position.

Maybe it was as Bryan Crawford of Slam Magazine said, “1.5secs left, the game is over. Nobody is thinking Tyreke nails a 70 footer.”

Or maybe no one on Memphis was thinking. Period.

@Suga_Shane

O.J. Mayo’s entire NBA career has been for naught.
Even his game winners don’t win games…
@Suga_Shane

O.J. Mayo’s entire NBA career has been for naught.

Even his game winners don’t win games

@Suga_Shane

The final 5.5 seconds of the Kings vs. Grizzlies was insane.

First the impossible O.J. Mayo fade-away followed by a Tyreke Evans 48-foot game winner. 

(via @BlazersEdge, h/t @uuords)

@Suga_Shane

NBA Off Seson Preview: Memphis Grizzlies

There’s a misguided sense of invincibility and arrogance that comes with being young. More often than not, young people do not know how to harness their energy and talent into something valuable or worthwhile. As they say, youth is wasted on the young.

It’s not to say that you can’t be a young team in the Association and be successful. You can and more importantly,  you should be. With a majority of the team born between 1985 and 1988, the Grizzles’ core should be at that turning point when they should begin to shed those youthful layers of inexperience and play like a veteran team. 

A lot of pressure will placed upon the shoulders of Rudy Gay this season to become that superstar. Gay is getting paid like a superstar and with a great paycheck, comes great responsibility. Also, will Gay’s experiences with the USA World turn him into a better player? Gay didn’t have a breakthrough like Durant, but we can all hope that Gay learned a thing or two about teamwork and stepping up and working as a team to achieve a singular goal, right?

Ditto for O.J. Mayo.

Also, Memphis, please continue to feed your Spaniard and Z-Bo. Randolph had a really great season and could potentially have another good season as long as he’s being feed the ball. The sky’s the limit with Marc Gasol; the dude is only going to get better. Although, in order to successfully feed a big, you need a solid point guard and apparently Mike Conley isn’t cutting the mustard.

In addition to re-signing Gay to a long term deal, the Grizzlies added the feisty Tony Allen, Acie Law and rookies Xavier Henry and Greivis Vasquez (We can only hope that the Grizzlies’ fan base perform their own version of Vasquez’s fabled shimmy).

What can you really say about the Grizzlies? They are a team and appear to be in shape and have had a really great pre-season, but it’s the pre season and it’s the Western Conference. Perhaps, the Grizzlies will be in the mix for the eighth seed with the improving Clippers, Rockets, Kings, and, Hornets and dare I even say, T-Wolves?

Fun Stuff!

And for no reason, here’s a photo of the Grizzlies’ mascot sitting on the handle bar of Rudy Gay’s bicycle.

Summer League Roundup, July 13

I’ve got a correspondent, Joey Devine, at the Las Vegas Summer League this week, giving me reports on all the basketball action. The following is a distillation of his observations from Tuesday.

Best teammate: Chuck Hayes, Houston Rockets. Despite not playing in the Summer League, Hayes sat on Houston’s bench, cheering and congratulating teammates like a modern-day Jack Haley.

Worst teammate: Morris Almond, Chicago Bulls. Not only did Almond shoot virtually every time he touched the ball in his nine minutes of action, he exhibited a Kobe Bryant-style glare when teammates didn’t pass the ball to him.

Most surprising appearance: J.R. Smith, Denver Nuggets. When asked why he, a six-year veteran, was playing in Summer League, Smith responded, “Love of the game.”

Least surprising disappearance: The Maloof Brothers, who only made it through ten minutes of Heat-Warriors before fleeing in disgust.

Most impressive player: DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors. He ran the floor, shut down Chase Budinger, and connected on both sides of more than a few alley-oops with Sonny Weems. I asked Joey and his friend, “Has DeMar learned to dribble yet?” and the answer was a resounding, “Eh, sort of?”

Least impressive player: OJ Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies. Mayo is re-learning the point guard position this year after the Grizzlies acquired Tony Allen and Xavier Henry to play on the wing. While Mayo scored a bunch, he turned the ball over and didn’t get the ball to teammates. Honorable mention goes to Hasheem Thabeet of Memphis, who was only more impressive by virtue of meeting the low expectations set for him.

Best shoes: Bryan Colangelo, Toronto Raptors, for his snakeskin loafers.

Most interesting female companion: Devin Harris, New Jersey Nets.

Best quote: “I don’t see why they call LeBron a king. All kings have rings, King George, King Tut, hell even Rodney King has one.” - A Las Vegas bus driver. (Note: I don’t think Rodney King has a ring.)

Scariest moment: Australian Joe Ingles, a Warriors roster hopeful, defended Miami Heat roster hopeful Jon Scheyer at the beginning of the second quarter. His aggressive swipe at the ball drilled Scheyer in the face, and sent him to the hospital with a lacerated eyelid. The initial text message I received said, “I think that Australian guy blinded Jon Scheyer.”

Most awkward moment: When Joey’s friend shouted, “That’s how we do it in the Bay!” after Scheyer first fell. Summer League is fairly quiet anyway, with the crowd heavily made up of scouts, reporters, and team officials, so yelling anything will get you some looks. He got more looks when Scheyer stayed down on the court for five minutes, and even more when the middle-aged couple sitting near him rushed down to the court to help. Yes, it was Jon Scheyer’s parents.

It was then that Joey and friend decided to leave before halftime. As they exited, an ambulance was pulling into the Thomas & Mack Center. Inadvertently offending a gym full of basketball people, including a player’s parents? That’s how we do it in the Bay!

(Sean Keane)

What’s more offensive - the foul OJ Mayo just committed, or the padded tights Mayo is wearing under his shorts?
(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

What’s more offensive - the foul OJ Mayo just committed, or the padded tights Mayo is wearing under his shorts?

(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

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