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Fri04182014

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Grizz use All-Star break in varied ways

Fans of the Grizzlies could not help but notice that no player from the Memphis NBA team was invited to participate in the high profile, crowd-pleasing festivities of the 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.
 
 Kelley Evans

Fans of the Grizzlies could not help but notice that no player from the Memphis NBA team was invited to participate in the high profile, crowd-pleasing festivities of the 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.

And the Grizzlies players had made peace with that fact. They had other plans. including using the time to focus on the new dynamics of the team and how to continue the fight for a play-off run.

The break was only five days. But rewind the clock to this time last year and note that the Grizzlies came off the break with a 14-point loss to Phoenix. And they were repeat offenders this season, losing 120-107 to the newly composed Denver Nuggets on Tuesday Feb. 22.

The Nuggets were missing starters Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, who were traded to the New York Knicks in a deal that involved a three-team, 13-player transaction just hours before game time.

Coming off the break this year, the Grizz also showed a different face.  Starter Rudy Gay is out for at least four weeks after suffering an injury during the game against the 76ers on Feb. 15.

The Grizz signed free agent and former University of Memphis Tiger Rodney Carney to a 10-game contract to add length to the back court.  Carney was released from the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 4.

Shooting guard O.J. Mayo played his second game with the team after being out for 10 games for violation of the NBA’s anti-drug policy.

With Gay’s absence due to injury and Mayo being worked back into the rotation, the Grizz must find a way to make up for the shift.

Meanwhile, some fans are thinking that with the new trades, the Eastern  Conference will become heavier and the power shift will afford the Grizzlies an opportunity at one of four playoff spots.

Wayne Moody, VP of marketing for Moody, Inc. and a die-hard fan who has followed the Grizzlies since day one, says they this looks great for the team.

“If we keep playing as a unit with the West being kind of light now, we’re in a perfect position for the playoffs,” Moody said.

So what did the players do differently this year to help them prepare for the crucial next phase of the season?

Well second-year player Sam Young attended the All-Star festivities on behalf of the team.  

“I’m one of the guys that want to know exactly what’s going on at all times,” Young said.  “When we had our meeting I was one of the guys that was asking a lot questions and they decided to make me their rep.”

Mayo traveled but focused on his game.

Last Tuesday, he said, “I feel like I pretty much already had a break. I’m gonna leave town, but I’m gonna work out every day and stay conditioned.”

Power forward Zach Randolph, who played in last year’s All Star game rested.

“I’m gonna be relaxing and spending time with the family,” Randolph said on last week.

GRIZZ NOTE: Head Coach Lionel Hollins was honored by Arizona State University by having his jersey, No. 33, raised on Feb. 17 at Wells Fargo Arena.

ONE MORE NOTE: Grizz rookie Greivis Vasquez also had his jersey, No. 21, raised at the University of Maryland.

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