Game Notes: Memphis vs. Toronto
* Rashad Mobley snagged some great quotes from Chris Bosh on the Hassan Adams deals when Toronto was in Washington earlier this week. When Bosh was asked about his thoughts on Adams, he told Mobley, “He was a great teammates, a great friend and I was disappointed that he was leaving, but I don’t want to be selfish, especially since I know he wants more playing time, so this is good for him.” While spending time in the Raptors locker room this season the two never seemed particularly close, but Bosh also told Mobley, “I traded texts with him earlier today and told him to keep his head up and good luck. He sounded very excited that he’s going home and he’ll have a chance to earn some playing time in a new place.” I guess nobody told Bosh that this deal was a move to get Toronto under the salary tax threshold and that Los Angeles had no plans on retaining Adams. Within hours of this deal being consummated Adams was cut and became a free agent. Ouch! So much for Bosh’s idea of Adams getting more playing time.
* Before the game I was able to talk with Memphis Grizzlies head coach Marc Iavaroni about Darius Miles and then after the game I chatted with Mike Conley Jr. and O.J. Mayo. Iavaroni and both players gave glowing reviews about Miles’ contributions on the practice court and in the locker room and it’s clear he was becoming a valued part of their team. On Sunday I’ll be hitting up Boston’s locker room for quotes on Miles from Doc Rivers and some of his former teammates. After the media flurry that hit today I want to give basketball fans the perspective from both teams he played for this season and I’m aiming to have that article up late Sunday evening on Hoops Addict.
* Walking into the Grizzlies locker room I was immediately hit with how close the players were. When I walked into the locker room there were seven Grizzlies laughing and genuinely enjoying each others company.
* One thing that was comical is that the left side of the Grizzlies locker room had the North American born players while the two European players – Marko Jaric and Marc Gasol – were the only players on the right side of the room.
* Jamario Moon would grin from ear-to-ear tonight whenever anyone congratulated him on the birth of his daughter. Saying he’s a proud papa is an understatement.
* Hamed Haddadi wasn’t at the game because of visa issues. Oops!
* Heading into the game was Memphis 0-13 this season when failing to score 20 points in the first quarter. Tonight they only scored 19 points in the opening quarter and lost another heartbreaker. With the lost tonight, Memphis has now lost 11 of their last 13 games.
* As joyous as the Grizzlies locker room was before the game, the players emotions had done a complete 180 by the end of the game and the mood was downright dreary. None of the players were cracking smiles and they all looked dejected after another loss. Rudy Gay was talking so softly that my recorder had a tough time picking up what he was saying.
* Kyle Lowry was asked how he makes sure his confidence doesn’t take a hit and without raising his eyes from the floor he told the reporter, “It’s definitely hard, but we’ve got a lot more games to play. We’ve got to bounce back. We have a couple days of practice up ahead and we just got to get better.”
* Lowry was asked what went wrong in the second half and he grudgingly responded, “I don’t know. Some shots didn’t go down that normally do for us and when those shots aren’t falling sometimes we put our heads down and we’ve got to learn not to do that.”
* After the game O.J. Mayo told the media he was hit in the hip battling for a rebound. He attempted to play through the injury but it clearly slowed him down tonight as he finished with just 11 points while shooting 4-for-14 from the field. Mayo tried to make light of the injury by telling the media he tried to fight through it but, “You really don’t know how much you need it until it’s injured.”
* After the game Andrea Bargnani was asked if he’s been playing his best basketball over the past few games and he shrugged off the question. Instead of talking about his gaudy individual stats the only numbers he wanted to talk about was the teams 4-1 record during that same stretch. Mike Ulmer then followed up and asked if it felt good to be cheered when he left the game with Chris Bosh and Bargnani cracked a little smile before admitting, “Yeah, it always feels good to hear the fans. Today they were very happy and it was great; we need that sometimes.”
* While Bargnani wasn’t willing to toot his own horn his head coach was more than willing. After the game Jay Triano was asked about the back-to-back three-pointers by Bargnani and the coached bragged, “I thought the downfall of us in the second quarter was the fact that we were moving the ball and sharing it, but we had three of four guys who turned down open shots. As soon as that happened we stalled offensively as guys started thinking about it. In the third quarter we started moving it and started taking shots when we wanted to. Andrea’s three-pointers were big and we knew eventually that they would maybe not get out to him.”
* Chris Bosh was asked if it was getting too close for comfort and he joked with the reporter, “I’m always comfortable. Who said it was too close for comfort?”
* Toronto’s 4-1 start to 2009 matches a franchise record for best start to a calender year.
Photo Credit: Ryan McNeill