By Craig Kwasniewski
The NBA's real Washington Generals, the NBA's beer goggles, the NBA's Vicodin, the NBA's liquid courage, the NBA's Dr. Feelgood, the NBA's HGH (but only to recover from injuries and not to throw fastballs at age 45)...
Is it me or does it seem like the Memphis Grizzlies are always playing teams after bad trades or bad injuries? Did David Stern install a flex schedule for the Grizz? So maybe the Grizz are his Bizarro Justice League, sent out to help the needy by losing big. (Highly believable considering many people think Stern fixed the Gasol deal.)
Whatever it is, the writers, experts and fans are all buying into the "all is well" line of thinking after teams are beating the piss out the the hapless Grizz.
Check out this five game flex-pack of The Slump Busters:
Dallas at Memphis (2-22-08) - Fresh off a thorough ass-whooping by New Orleans two days earlier, Jason Kidd sparkles as the Mavericks beat the Grizz 98-83. Along the way, Kidd has 15 assists and earns a magical soliloquy by Jack McCallum in the March 3rd edition of Sports Illustrated. The article gushes about things like a Kidd pass to Jason Terry, "He whiplashed a one-bounce pass that never rose more than a foot above the floor and landed directly in Terry's hands for a layup."
Ummm Jack... it's a bounce pass against the worst team not coached by Pat Riley!!! Please tell me about the "whiplashed" passes against the Hornets, Spurs, Lakers and Jazz (all playoff teams that the Kidd-led Mavs have lost to).
Memphis at Cleveland (2-24-08) - The new look Cavs make a glowing debut against Grizzlies, rolling them 109-89. At least Brian Windhorst, ESPN's in-house LeBron James ball washer, was realistic about the game, "But it was hardly a fair litmus test against such a downtrodden opponent."
Personally, the jury's still out with this trade. I'm not sure the Cavs are that much better given financial sacrifice. Wallace is old (and smaller than LeBron), Wally Szczerbiak's shot selection and ego will drive LeBron crazy (like he did to K.G.), Joe Smith is serviceable and Delonte West can't hang with Billups. But against the Grizz, these guys are freakin' world beaters.
Phoenix At Memphis (2-26-08) - The headline for this game was, "Nash and O’Neal power Suns to a 127-113 victory over Memphis." Against the Grizz, a team that lost to playoff contenders Los Angeles, New Orleans, Detroit and Philadelphia (yep, they're in the postseason today) looks like a power.
Oh but I'm sure that W over a broken Celtics team is worth noting, right? Especially with Garnett recovering from several weeks off and Paul Pierce having worst worst game of the year.
Memphis at Houston (2-29-08) - This is when I got a little suspicious of the scheduling. Their fourth game in a row comes against the Rockets fresh off of finding out that Yao Ming is taking off the rest of the season to prepare for a women's TV show (Beijing Olympics). So OF COURSE the Rockets roll Memphis 116-95.
At this point, I'm thinking the Grizzlies need to play Denver, Phoenix (again... they NEED W's) and Dallas (just to see if McCallum writes a book about it). But it didn't stop there...
Utah at Memphis (3-1-08) - Fresh off their loss at New Orleans on Friday night (courtesy of clutch play from Jannero Pargo off all people), the Jazz recover with the NBA's Tylenol and beat the Grizz 113-92.
That's five straight games against teams NEEDING W's after losses, bad trades and injures. And who do the Grizz play tonight? The Chicago Bulls, fresh off a blockbuster trade and needing a (wait for it) Dr. Feel Good win.
Take two Grizzlies games and call me in the morning.