A home opener is always exciting, no matter if it’s at home or on the road.
– Yogi Berra, who also said “I didn’t really say everything I said.”
If I were going to pick the most relevant Yogi-ism to apply as the Grizzlies begin this season, it would be: “You can observe a lot by watching.” I am hoping that fans in Memphis have the patience to endure the coaching change and the change in offensive philosophy, and that it doesn’t turn into: “If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.” – Thanks Yogi.
When was the last time the Grizzlies won their opening game of an NBA season? Oh, right. Never. Who did they lose the opener to last season? Oh, right. The team that had eliminated them from the playoffs the year before, just like this season. Last year, it was a road loss to the Clippers on Halloween night. This year’s mandatory opening night loss was on the road to the Spurs. Looks like “It’s déjà vu all over again”.
How did that work out last year? Right. The Grizzlies turned around and won their home opener on a Friday night a couple of nights later, won 56 regular season games, and went deeper into the playoffs that they had ever gone before.
Relax people. There will be 82 games in this regular season, and hopefully a good number of playoff games after that. You can observe a lot by watching.
This year’s home opener brings us the Detroit Pistons, partner in a three-way trade last season that moved Rudy Gay and netted Tayshaun Prince and Ed Davis.
The Pistons opened this season with a win for the first time in five seasons. Okay, it was at home against the Washington Wizards 113 – 102. But, big man Greg Monroe finished with 24 points, 16 rebounds and 3 assists in a game where the Pistons dominated in the paint. The paint, an area where Memphis uncharacteristically allowed 38 points against the Spurs on Wednesday night.
I say uncharacteristically, but there is a lot to learn about this team and its characteristics, this coach, this philosophy, and this season. This is intriguing. I plan to observe a lot by watching.
In addition to doing a better job guarding the paint, the Grizzlies will be trying to avoid another offensive slump like they saw in Wednesday’s second quarter when they were outscored by the Spurs 30-7, missed their first 10 shots and finished 2 for 18 from the field in the period.
They also have to figure out how to get Zach Randolph going. Z-Bo was 1 for 6 on the night with two points. Spurs are his kryptonite.
Chauncey Billups is back. Mo Cheeks is coaching, along with Henry Bibby and Rasheed Wallace.
The Grizzlies have won seven straight against Detroit by an average of 13.6 points. They outscored the Pistons 62-46 and 48-40 in the paint in two meetings last season.
I will be watching on NBA LeaguePass online from the beach in Destin. If you are in Memphis, buy a ticket and go to the game; or, at least pull up some buds and watch on the tube.
When: Friday, November 1st, 7:00 PM CDT
Where: Fedex Forum, Memphis, Tennessee
We will have a recap for you in the morning. If you observe some interesting stuff, come share it with us in the comments section.