Thursday, January 10, 2013

Road Recap, Trade Chatter, Griz-Spurs Ticket Giveaway

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Road Recap: Grizzlies 94, Warriors 87: The Grizzlies completed a sweep of their three-game West Coast road in Oakland last night in what might be one of their better wins this season. Against a Warriors team that looks increasingly legitimate, the Grizzlies used good offense in the first half to build a lead and then overcame a rough third quarter for a major “grit-and-grind” effort down the stretch, scoring off turnovers and offensive rebounds hold on for the win. Lots of players made big plays late, with Jerryd Bayless' break-starting block and Rudy Gay's long corner jumper in the final two minutes standing out.

The win gave the Grizzlies a game-and-a-half lead over the Warriors for the fourth seed in the West and, more importantly, secured a tiebreaker over the Warriors on the season, making it a de facto 2.5 game lead.

The sweep was also impressive, even if previous opponents Sacramento and Phoenix aren't very good. That hasn't really mattered much for the Grizzlies. Over the past three-plus seasons, in which the Grizzlies have an overall winning record, they'd gone 15-29 on West Coast road trips (three games or more) only notching a winning records (2-1 each time) twice.

Rudy Trade Chatter: Trade chatter about Rudy Gay continues. I've got a column in this week's paper on the subject, which you can read here. One thing I probably haven't underscored enough in the two pieces I've written recently: I'm not campaigning for the team to trade Gay. I believe it's become inevitable, though, with the only questions being when (this season or this summer) and for what, so I've moved on to those two questions. And while I've made the case that I think it's possible to deal Gay this season and maintain the overall quality of the team — depending on the deal, obviously — I would also be perfectly happy to see the team stand pat and work on their roster/payroll issues this summer.

As for the rumors that have popped up since my trade opus on Sunday: Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski has reported on talks with the Suns. CBS Sports' Ken Berger add the Warriors to the list. ESPN's Marc Stein adds the Raptors. And USA Today's Sam Amick adds Denver and Sacramento.

I touched on all these teams in my trade options piece, and everything in all these rumors matches up with what I wrote there. There are no surprises. But I'll reiterate quickly on these teams:

Suns: A one-on-one deal with Phoenix would be Jared Dudley, contract fodder, and draft considerations. That's viable if the Grizzlies are really intent on moving Gay now, but as long as they're willing to stand pat — and they seem to be — it's not good enough. A deal with Phoenix now needs to include a third team and if the Suns are willing to move center Marcin Gortat, the options should be plentiful.

Warriors: Pretty much the only way a (one-on-one) deal can happen here is if the Grizzlies take back a bad contract for next season, and that defeats the purpose of wanting to make a deal.

Raptors: Like the Dudley-and-picks deal, Toronto seems like a back-up plan. Any one-on-one deal would have to include Jose Calderon and his big expiring contract. That makes sense going forward but not for this season. I could envision three-team deals emerging with Raptors involving Calderon or Andrea Bargnani, but nothing along those lines has been reported.

Nuggets: It's very difficult to find a deal here that would be financially acceptable to both teams.

Kings: Seems like the most viable solo partner of the five, but potential targets Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans both have injury issues and given what else is happening with the franchise, I would think the Kings would be a difficult team to deal with right now.

Giveaway: We've got a pair of tickets to give away for tomorrow night's home game with the San Antonio Spurs. Should be a great one. You can enter to win here. We'll do the drawing at 8 a.m. tomorrow and you'll have to be able to pick up the tickets at the Flyer offices before 5 p.m. Friday.

Deflections: The Grizzlies, at 23-10, are fourth in the West but have the same record now as the East-leading and defending champion Miami Heat. The “John Hollinger Playoff Odds” at ESPN.com — the Hollinger branding is never going to stop being awkward now — has the Grizzlies projected to win 54 games, one better than the Heat.

One obvious lineup wrinkle we saw on the road trip was Lionel Hollins going back to a more liberal use of a Mike Conley-Jerryd Bayless backcourt pairing, which he'd experimented with in the pre-season but which he'd gone away from early in the regular season.

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