Memphis Grizzlies WiretapDecember 2001 Memphis Grizzlies Wiretap

San Antonio-Memphis Recap

Dec 31, 2001 1:32 PM

The Grizzlies can be maulers now. They had won four of five before contending with Tim Duncan, David Robinson & Co. on Sunday night.

"They had an aggressive first half, and then they kept coming at us later in the second half," said Duncan, who did his best to dissuade the young Grizzlies with 27 points, 18 boards and seven blocks on the way to the Spurs' 83-79 victory.

"A lot of times young players will stop playing hard when they get a couple of their shots blocked," said Robinson, who had two blocks. "They kept coming."

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, NBA

Reeves Out for the Season; Exception Granted

Dec 29, 2001 7:31 PM

Ron Tillery reports that Bryant "Big Country" Reeves is out for the season.  He has three degenerative discs in his back, and is expected to eventually retire.

The league has granted the Grizz a disabled player exception, which is in the range of $4.5M.  

No decision has been made whether the team will use the exception.  They currently have a team salary of $51M, which puts them close to the luxury tax threshold.

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, NBA

Another home loss 'bad sign' for Heat

Dec 29, 2001 12:07 PM

It's a line heard often when victorious opponents talk about the Miami Heat.

"They're better than their record shows."

Are they really? The Heat did everything in their power Friday at the AmericanAirlines Arena to prove that their record is quite indicative of just how bad this team is.

The Heat couldn't get motivated, couldn't hit free throws, couldn't finish point-blank shots and they couldn't beat a Jason Williams-led Grizzlies team, losing their fifth straight 91-86. And it's looking like the Heat may have a Jason Williams of their own -- as in the projected No. 1 draft pick from Duke.

"You can't be good all the time," said former Heat forward Grant Long, one of six Grizzlies with double-figure points against Miami on Friday. "At some point you're going to have to rebuild."

Even in a rebuilding stage, Heat coach Pat Riley expects certain things from his group. Putting forth a defensive effort is one, and winning at home is another.

Against Memphis, Miami played the same quality of defense that allowed Atlanta to come back from 19 down to win Thursday. Williams, the erratic point guard whose inconsistencies got him traded from Sacramento, was one rebound shy of a triple-double, totaling 19 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds. Long was open all night and made 7-of-11 shots for 16 points, and rookie Shane Battier recovered from a scoreless first half to score 15 second-half points and put away the Heat.

"We have just become absolutely soft defensively and we don't close on shooters," Riley said. "The ball will rotate down to the corner and somebody will just watch him shoot the ball and won't rotate to him.

"That's just the way it's going, and it's a bad sign."

As is the Heat's 3-12 home record, which includes 11 losses in the past 12 home games.

"That's absolutely ridiculous for them not to be able to win enough games here at home to sort of hold, have enough enthusiasm and fire and create something here that will at least allow you to withstand poor play on the road," Riley said. "But to lose 11 out of 12 at home is even more disturbing than whether or not the team is connected. That I would have never expected."

Alonzo Mourning attempted to create some sort of energy in the first quarter after he blocked Grizzlies center Stromile Swift on a fast-break dunk attempt.

Mourning, who finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and six turnovers, waved his arms asking for some reaction from the crowd. The play invigorated Miami for about three minutes, as the Heat took a 10-8 lead midway through the first.

But it didn't last. Memphis took a five-point lead after the first quarter, held onto it at halftime and pulled away in the third, holding off a mild Heat comeback attempt.

Riley was out of ideas after the game.

"They want to do it," he said. "I don't have a bunch of jerks in that locker room. It's just not working. Fumbling around, stumbling around, they don't get calls after good plays. It's just not working. I think we've known that for a couple of weeks. We just hoped that it would get there somewhere. But I don't care how much you practice them, how much you rail on them, right now it's simply left to them."

Among Riley's options include massive personnel changes. But as he expressed before Friday's game, Riley doesn't want it to come to that.

"The next step is easy," Riley said. "I just don't want to get to the next step.

"I'll try to figure something out. I've been trying to jolt them for 27 games in some way, shape or form."

Noteworthy: Rod Strickland missed eight minutes in the second half because of a strained groin muscle. The point guard said it has been bothering him for some time and is a day-to-day condition.

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, NBA

Heat stumbles to a grisly 5-22

Dec 29, 2001 12:04 PM

Miami ? Counterfeit basketball at NBA prices.

Try selling this for another four months.

Again offering its low-scoring, deficit-building brand of basketball, the Heat slumbered through a 91-86 loss Friday night to the Memphis Grizzlies to continue a season best put to sleep.

``It's just not working,'' coach Pat Riley said. ``It's not working, that's all there is to it -- stumbling around, fumbling around. It's just not working. I think we've known that for a couple of weeks; we just hoped it would get there somewhere.''

Against a team with a similar record but far greater prospects, the Heat lost for the 11th time in its past 12 games at AmericanAirlines Arena. At 5-22 and yet to reach 100 points this season, the Heat set a franchise record for consecutive games below 100 and is two double-digit efforts from matching the NBA record.

``To lose 11 of 12 at home is even more disturbing than whether the team is connected or not,'' Riley said. ``That I would have never expected.''

With guard Eddie Jones and forward Brian Grant battling shooting woes and foul trouble, the Heat fell behind by as many as 15 points in an effort as foul as, well, its foul shooting.

No, the 6-of-15 performance from the line did not do in the Heat, but its lack of attempts certainly did not help. Memphis was 22 of 31 from the line, playing at a level above the rim the ground-bound Heat could not cleanly contest.

``I've been trying to jolt them for 27 games in some way, shape or form,'' Riley said. ``They want to do it. I don't have a bunch of jerks in that locker room.

``The next step is easy; I just don't want to get to the next step. Maybe it isn't that easy.''

To add insult to a season potentially on the verge of implosion, Memphis was paced by Grant Long, the forward who had seen the Heat through some of its previous worst of times. The veteran of the Heat's inaugural season went for 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

``You can't be good all the time,'' Long said. ``At some point, you are going to have to rebuild. It's just the law of averages catching up with them.''

With first-round pick Shane Battier going for 13 of his 15 points in the third period, the Grizzlies pushed to a 63-48 lead.

And so it goes, center Alonzo Mourning offering the best he can with 20 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots, but Grant and Jones unable to offer any support. Grant was 1 of 8 from the field, Jones 4 of 16.

``I guess some changes have got to take place,'' Grant said.

Riley shuffled what he could, but the deck continues to be stacked against any consistency. This time, Eddie House was used as the first point guard off the bench, in place of Kendall Gill, who was dreadful in that role Thursday night in Atlanta. Starting point guard Rod Strickland was limited by a groin problem that required treatment after the game and leaves his status in doubt.

With a youthful core of Battier, forward Pau Gasol, and -- dare we say it -- former Heat guard Rodney Buford, the Grizzlies pushed the Heat closer to the point of no return. Point guard Jason Williams helped Memphis put it away, with 19 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.

As was the case against the Hawks, the Heat failed to take advantage of an ailing opponent. Memphis was without guard Michael Dickerson, forward Lorenzen Wright and center Bryant Reeves.

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, NBA

`It's just not working,' Riley says after defeat

Dec 29, 2001 11:51 AM

Hours after Pat Riley insisted he didn't want to dismantle his roster, the Heat players gave their coach more incentive to do just that.

Continuing to prove there is no limit to the depths this team can plummet, the Heat on Friday subjected its fans to another error-filled, uninspired effort in a 91-86 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

``It's just not working,'' Riley said. ``We've known that for two weeks. Fumble around, stumble around. They forget plays. I've been trying to jolt them for 27 games. We can't beat these teams. It's disturbing. Unless the leadership stands up, I don't think anybody's listening.''

A night after squandering a 19-point lead at Atlanta, Miami again struggled against a zone defense, committing 20 turnovers. Making matters worse, the Heat shot 6 for 15 on free throws, compared with the Grizzlies' 22 of 31.

``We've become soft defensively,'' Riley said. ``There wasn't one time I felt we had any kind of focus. I don't think we made the effort.''

The Heat (5-22) lost for the fifth straight time overall and the 11th time in its past 12 home games. ``We built a great arena, we've got players we take care of, and to go on that court and lose 11 of 12 is absolutely ridiculous,'' Riley said.

Miami, which never led after the first quarter, stands just two games ahead of the 27-game pace of the 1988-89 expansion Heat, which finished 15-67.

``It's very surprising they have a record like this,'' said Grizzlies forward Grant Long, a member of the Heat's expansion team. ``It's not indicative of the talent they have. But you can't be good all the time. At some point, you're going to have to rebuild.''

The $86 million men -- Brian Grant and Eddie Jones -- again came up empty. Grant went to the bench with his second foul 2:28 into the game and finished with two points on 1-for-8 shooting. ``Some changes have to take place,'' said Grant, who didn't elaborate.

Jones, who declined comment, shot 4 for 16 and scored 12.

There were other conspirators:

Alonzo Mourning had 20 points and 12 rebounds, but missed two dunks and committed six turnovers.

Rod Strickland committed three turnovers and couldn't slow Jason Williams, who barely missed a triple-double with 19 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds. Strickland's strained groin bothered him, and Eddie House played point guard for most of the fourth.

Chris Gatling committed three turnovers and slowed a Heat rally by forcing two misses early in the fourth.

LaPhonso Ellis shot 1 for 4 and is 4 for his past 24.

The Heat broke the franchise record by failing to reach 100 points for the 27th straight game. That's two short of the NBA record, shared by Orlando and Chicago.

Point guard Anthony Carter, who missed his fourth straight game, wants to practice a few more times before deciding whether to undergo surgery on a strained lower abdominal muscle.

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, NBA


Dec 28, 2001 9:53 AM

Tipoff: 7:30 p.m., AmericanAirlines Arena.

TV, radio: Chs. 33, 34; WIOD (610), WACC (830, Spanish).

Tickets remaining: 2,500 left.

Heat injuries: F Malik Allen (knee) is questionable; C Ernest Brown (thumb), F Sean Marks (abdomen), G Anthony Carter (abdominal strain) are out.

Grizzlies injuries: C Bryant Reeves (back), G Michael Dickerson (groin), F Lorenzen Wright (leg) are out; G Brevin Knight (shin bruise) is questionable.

Scouting report: With one of the league's best collections of young talent, the Grizzlies come to town having won three of their past four games. On Wednesday, Memphis pounded Chicago 107-85, and on Dec. 21, it defeated the Lakers for just the second time in franchise history. Rookies Pau Gasol and Shane Battier have lived up to their billing and then some, and point guard Jason Williams has settled in nicely, dishing out 8.9 assists per game.
Probable Heat starters
No. Player Pos. Ht. Avg. 24 Jim Jackson F 6-6 13.9 44 Brian Grant F 6-9 9.1 33 Alonzo Mourning C 6-10 13.7  6 Eddie Jones G 6-6 18.0  1 Rod Strickland G 6-1 7.3 Probable Grizzlies starters
No. Player Pos. Ht. Avg. 43 Grant Long F 6-9 5.3 16 Pau Gasol F 7-0 15.6  4 Stromile Swift C 6-9 14.2 31 Shane Battier G 6-8 15.1 31 Jason Williams G 6-1 15.6

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, NBA

O'Brien Likes Grizzlies Rookies

Dec 24, 2001 2:16 PM

Celtics coach Jim O'Brien isn't surprised by the recent strides made by the Memphis Grizzlies. O'Brien views Memphis as a fast-developing team with talented newcomers who have received considerable experience from the outset. That makes the Grizzlies a dangerous opponent, as the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers discovered in losses to Memphis on Thursday and Friday.

``You're going up against (Pau) Gasol and (Shane) Battier, two outstanding rookies who are starting, playing a lot of minutes and producing,'' O'Brien said before the Celtics narrowly escaped with an 85-80 win over the Grizzlies last night at the FleetCenter. ``These are two talented and hard-working guys who have already played about the equivalent of a full college season if you take into account the exhibition and regular-season games. In that sense, they're really no longer rookies.''

Tags: Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies, NBA

Break up the Grizzlies!

Dec 22, 2001 2:00 AM

Their starting and back-up centers (Lorenzen Wright and Bryant Reeves) are on injured reserve.  Starting shooting guard Michael Dickerson is also on injured reserve.  In the midst of a five-game losing streak, the Grizzlies could be expected to roll over and die for back-to-back games at New York and at home to the Lakers.

But with stick-like youngsters Pau Gasol and Stromile Swift playing power forward and center, and rookie Shane Battier playing 47 minutes, the Grizz edged the Knicks.  No big deal ... everyone's beating the Knicks right now.

But Friday night they beat the Lakers 114 - 108.  With no serious center (Ike Austin played 27 minutes against Shaq, supplemented by Tony Massenberg playing the other 11 minutes), the Grizz were outrebounded 48 to 32.  But 11 fewer turnovers and 9 more steals made up for that.

The last time the Grizz beat the Lakers, Lakers' coach Del Harris was fired the next day.

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, NBA

Dickerson Injury Lingering

Dec 20, 2001 12:45 AM

With all the talk about Bryant Reeves' possible retirement because of his bad back, there hasn't been a lot of talk about the fact the Grizzlies also have been without an NBA-quality shooting guard.

Michael Dickerson was expected to miss five games with a groin pull.  But 20 games later Ron Tillery reports the diagnosis is that he has a stress fracture near the groin area of his right leg, and he could miss another 15 games.

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, NBA

Wallace Rattles the Rim

Dec 17, 2001 12:36 PM

A hatful of games into his NBA career, Gerald Wallace already has put himself in the books. On Sunday night at Arco Arena, Wallace became the youngest player in Kings history to get serenaded by the home fans during the third quarter of a 20-point blowout against a bad opponent.

Of course, that may be getting too technical. What is important is this:

(1) Wallace can leap, score, rebound and smile; and

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, NBA

Bibby & Williams -- Different Directions

Bibby's Like Seinfeld: A Good Show About Nothing

Grizzlies a perfect tonic for Warriors' ills

Arena Financing Team in Place

Grizzlies Contemplating Marc Jackson?

Road Trip!

Grizz Lose to Denver

Big Country to Retire?

Comments from after the Sixers Game

Grass Greener on Grizz Side of the Fence

Grizz Win as Iverson Sits

Gasol Keeps Looking Better

Grizzlies lose Wright for a Month

Grizz Without a Center

Lowe's woes adding up

Substance beats style

Magic notebook

Magic notebook: Rivers optimistic on Hill's recovery

Magic defend home court

Anderson still loves Orlando