Tuesday, February 07, 2006

[NBA] Grizzly Grizzlies

From Commerical Appeal:

"We're not having fun," Jackson said Saturday night.

What the Griz are not these days would take too much space to list. But the common denominator during a funk in which they've lost nine of the past 12 games is easy to discern. The Griz have underperformed on offense so routinely late in games that they have begun to second-guess everything.

Fratello blamed the laboring efforts on individuals hesitating, which has disrupted execution and flow.

Pau Gasol pointed to a lack of confidence in the group.

Jones directed his disappointment at sudden selfish play.

Jackson said the tension wouldn't be so thick if guys played more free and loose.

What do the numbers say?

There are culprits among the top six players in the Grizzlies' rotation.

Center Lorenzen Wright has been the least productive and called upon given his decreasing playing time late in games. Last Saturday night was the first time in the past 12 games that Wright didn't see the fourth quarter. And in the previous 11 games, Wright's averaged less than one rebound to go with 33-percent shooting in fourth quarters.

Jackson has the most points (45) and also the most shot attempts (48) in fourth quarters over the past 12 games. His shooting percentage (.333), though, is nothing to brag about.

Only Gasol's is worse. The 7-foot Spaniard has converted just 12-of-37 shots (32 percent) to go with a team-high seven turnovers in fourth quarters in the past 12 games.

With a 2.8-point fourth-quarter scoring average during that span, Gasol ranked fourth on the team in crunch-time scoring behind Jackson (3.7), Mike Miller (3.5) and Jones (3.3).

Since Jan. 14, the Griz have been outscored on average 22.5-19.8 points in fourth quarters. Their production is worse in the nine losses.

Opponents averaged 17.8 points compared to the Grizzlies' 14 points in the final frame. Those averages include an overtime game Jan. 20 at Philadelphia when the Griz were outscored 25-18 in the fourth and 15-11 in the extra period.

Their 14-point fourth quarter at Milwaukee marked the fifth time in the past nine losses that the Griz failed to score at least 20 points over the final 12 minutes of regulation.

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