Tuesday, May 02, 2006


After being one of the NBA's perennial doormats while in Vancouver, the Memphis Grizzlies have made the NBA playoffs the last three years running, averaging 48 wins per season for a .585 winning percentage. Not even the perennial legends, the Los Angeles Lakers, can claim that.

However, with Monday night's 102-76 debacle loss to the Dallas Mavericks in front of 15,000+ disgusted patrons, the Grizz now own the dubious record of the most consecutive playoff game losses in NBA history with 12. This is in addition to their OTHER playoff record of having the most consecutive losses at the start of their playoff career, also at 12.

What happened? No rebounding, no ability to come up with critical stops, nothing that would make one think that this team had enjoyed the second-finest record in their brief history at 49-33. For three straight years, (BTW, I have NEVER missed a home Grizzlies playoff game) we have watched this team turned to Jello once the playoffs start.

They had game 3 WON on Saturday, only to give it away with sloppy play in the last 35 seconds of regulation, and just flat-out resignation in overtime. For the first time in the five years that I have attended games, I booed our team, and called them chokers. They were.

Jerry West has to figure out who to dump and who to obtain to take this team to a level where we can AT LEAST WIN A FREAKING PLAYOFF GAME! This is a man who is responsible in one form or fashion for EVERY NBA championship that the Lakers have won in Los Angeles
(NINE). He is responsible for doing whatever it takes to get us to the next level.

As far as I'm concerned, there are NO untouchables, not even Gasol or Memphis' fair-haired Dukie, Shane Battier. Lorenzen Wright will probably NOT be re-signed, and who knows about Chucky Atkins. Whatever he needs to do, the Logo HAS to do it.

The Grizz are fighting several problems at once. First, the hoop Tigers' resurrection this year proved that, all things being equal, this town still cares more about the U of M than the Grizz.
Second, the town will NOT support a substandard product; while the Grizz are way above the horrors of the first two seasons here, Memphis is getting VERY impatient with the lack of playoff wins. Third, the combination of the first two factors combined with an ill-advised rise in ticket prices (which is only being addressed for season-ticket holders for 2006-2007, another mistake) and the fact that the newness of the FedExForum has worn off led to a drop in attendance for this team.

Jerry West has forgotten more hoops than I'll ever know, but something better has to happen to regain the city's attention. They HAVE to improve, or the attendance will keep dropping. I suggest that they lower single-game prices; this is, and always will be, a walk-up town, and that will drive your attendance, as long as you win.

On another note: they also will suffer from the loss of their wildly popular PA announcer, John Paul Stevenson, who doubles as the mid-day jock at KIX 106, as well as voicing over 2/3 of the TV commercials you see on local stations. He is leaving to move back to his native Texas to be near his family. In addition, I have had the good fortune to spend many a NFL Sunday afternoon with he and his fellow Cowboy fans at the neighborhood tavern, RP Tracks. He is geniunely one of the nicest people you could possibly meet, and he will be missed. Good luck to you, JP!


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain; but after all, it's just ritualized tribal warfare, nothing for a true Buddhist to get bent out of shape about.

I wish I could get paid several million dollars a year for losing in the clutch. Yay players' union. Yay ego-tripping billionaire owners. Yay subsidizing facilities cost by taxpayers. Yay $7 beers, $30 buffets, parking passes only for the elite and either $10 in a Belz garage or $5 or $10 in a dark alley with a chance of a break-in or a mugging. Yay no smoking terraces. Yay controlling competition from concerts.

This used to be a special music town. Now it's just another franchise town.

And the Tigers are losing a couple of key players leaving early to get in on this NBA gravy.

I say make Heisley bleed until he bails at a fire-sale price.

Tom Guleff said...


Good seeing you at the polls today.

Keep it coming !!!!

Tom Guleff
Wannabe US Congressman

soandsodem said...

Yes, there were definitely 15,000 plus in the building- if you include the entire population of Tipton County and everyone wandering around Beale Street on a Monday afternoon. (I counted 147 mostly normal tourists, and six Shriners heavily involved in important party duties.)

Michael Roy Hollihan said...

Cracker, you'd better start doing what you can to keep attendance at those games up! If average attendance falls below a certain level (I want to say 15K but it might be lower.) then the City of Memphis starts kicking in multi-million dollar payments to Hoops and Heisley to make up the "shortfall."

You can thank the Mayor and NBA Now for that little clause in the contract, and the City Council for falling prostrate when it was presented to them.