Carlos Delfino sorta reminds me of this otherCarlos. Sure Venezuela is a bit farther north than Delfino’s Argentina, but sometimes he just looks like someone that totally knows how to adjust a scope, set some plastique in a strategic place, and silently stalk The Most Dangerous Game before some cold blooded assassination ish. That’s just me, though.
Here’s a couple sequences from Friday, when the Memphis Grizzlies handled the visiting Houston Rockets with relative ease. In fact, when the Houston starters came out at the end of the 3rd quarter, as part of their usual substitution patterns, they never went back in during the fourth as the Pete Pranica wondered why. It might have had something to do with Memphis’ top 2 defense.
Watch as Tony Allen almost steals the pass to Harden (there were countless instances where Allen got his hand on a pass and deflected it out of bounds, enough to disrupt the rhythm of Houston’s offense, or for an outright steal), and then totally stops the dribble penetration of James Harden. Grizzlies coach, Lionel Hollins, and Zach Lowe discussed Allen’s roving madman routine in a piece for Grantland last week. Harden only finished with 7 points on 3-for-9 shooting on Friday, including this off-balance mid-range shot; Allen stays in front of him despite all the dribbling trickery and doesn’t allow him to get into the lane or get an open jumper.
On the other end, Tayshaun Prince brings the ball up court and waits until the perfect moment to feed Gasol on his usual place at the left elbow. Prince waits because Mike Conley is coming around the baseline and setting up his defender—Jeremy Lin—for a backdoor cut. Both Prince, Gasol and Conley know what they’re doing, but the timing of both Prince and Gasol’s pass’ with Conley’s cut is perfect. Lin has been burned ball watching on some backdoors this year (he’s still young, so he’ll need time to develop as a defender), and it’s obvious Memphis ran this set on purpose to get the backdoor lay-up for Conley.
Both sequences are perfect illustrations of why the Grizzlies are so intriguing in a crazy Western Conference. If they were in the East, they’d be a 2 seed and the biggest obstacle in the path of the Heat. But in the West, they’re flip-flopping with Denver and the Clippers for the 3, 4, 5 seeds almost every other night.
I agree that Dwyane Wade has lost some of the explosiveness that led many to believe he was one of the best players—if not, the best player—in the game during his first title season with Shaq, but he’s still able to add a little oomph sometimes when he’s finishing.
Here he stripped James Harden at one end, and finished with a reverse dunk that had, as Sun Sports’ analyst, Tony Fiorentino, said “A little French mustard on it at the end.” Not sure what that really means, but it made sense at the time.