Starting 5: Grizzlies Have Bite, Blowing Up The Lakers, & DWill Crushes On Hibbert


Every morning, we’ll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1:  Grizzlies still have some bite

The Memphis Grizzlies may be struggling a bit, but they can be a dangerous team when it all comes together, even without Zach Randolph. 

The Grizz D stepped up in a big way as they snapped their four-game losing streak, beating the Nuggets 100-97 in OT.  And everyone should take Tony Allen out for ice cream to celebrate.  Gucci was huge on the defensive end, coming up with four blocked shots including a huge one on Al Harrington in OT… and his 17 points and 8 rebounds were pretty nice too. 

Marc Gasol and Rudy Gay each had 20 point, 13 rebound nights.  

As for Denver:  You’re not going to get a lot of 8 point on 1-10 shooting nights out of Danilo Gallinari.  You have to chalk it up and move on.

lakers_text_logo2:  Blow up the Lakers? 

This can’t wait for the quotes section.  Here’s what Andrew Bynum had to say of the Lakers upcoming six game road trip. 

“These are big games for us coming up,” said Lakers center Andrew Bynum after putting up 20 points and 11 rebounds against the Bobcats. “We need to prove that we’re able to win, or else they’re going to start doing things.”

Andrew’s just saying that because the Lakers already tried to radically change things in the pre-season.  

The Lakers are 13-9, a game behind the Clippers, and sixth in the conference.  This stretch of road games is not easy at all, with stops in Denver, Utah (back to back), Philadelphia, Boston, New York (back to back) and Toronto.  

An objective observer may say that anything better than a .500 road trip should thrill Lakers fans.  But what kind of trip would it take to start the trade wheels in motion?  And who would they target? 

Would the Lakers try for, say Jose Calderon?  They have the almost $9 million trade exception from the Lamar Odom trade to help facilitate a deal.  Then they can get a pretty good point guard, and teammate of Pau Gasol’s on the Spanish National team.  Would the Lakers go big, as in Dwight Howard big, and try to make the big mid-season splash to get the attention back from the “Lob City” Clips?  

Personally, I think Andrew is overreacting a little bit.  But not by much.  A 2-4 trip that includes a loss to hated Boston might be enough to start Mitch Kupchack dialing the phones.  Worse than that?  That’s not something Lakers fans want to think about. 


Deron Williams puts Roy Hibbert on a poster


Alonzo Gee tries to do a Blake Griffin impression

Tony Allen’s huge block on Al Harrington

4:  Line of the Night:  Anderson Varejao:  20 points (10-17 fg), 20 rebounds

Anderson VarejaoAndy’s firs ever 20/20 night nearly came in the midst of another huge comeback win over Boston.  Actually, the Cavs overcame a bigger deficit last night (22) than they did on Sunday in Boston (11), to cut the lead to two.  And Varejao was in the middle of it all.  The final numbers are both a testament to his hustle and ability and an indictment of the Celtics inability to keep anyone off the boards.  His 20 rebounds were five more than all of the Celtics starters combined.  His 10 offensive rebounds were three more than the entire Celtics team.  

So consider this a fantasy tip:  if you need rebounds, pick up any halfway decent rebounder facing the Celtics you can find.  Chances are he’ll have a career game. 

5:  You can quote me on that:

Varejao’s energy is just amazing. It’s amazing to watch him run around relentlessly, and pursue [loose] balls…Varejao’s always an All-Star as far as I’m concerned. I think they should keep a spot for a role player. That’s what he does, he plays his role…He had 20 points and they didn’t run one set for him…Down the stretch, he and Kyrie [Irving] were tough for us to handle.
     – Celtics head coach Doc Rivers 

“If you want to go to that, then that’s because you want to write that because that’s what everybody wants to write.  If you watch this game — if we made free throws, we rebound the ball and don’t turn the ball over, we win this game. So now you’re going to the fourth or fifth reason why we lost the game?
     – Nuggets head coach George Karl on whether the lack of a closer like Carmelo Anthony cost Denver against Memphis 

“The way we played together and defended was a relief.  We played like who we are. We can lose like that. We don’t mind losing if we play like that.”
     – Grizzlies center Marc Gasol