Memphis–Finally, the games are for real.
Got to see at least some hints about L.D.’s offensive and defensive approaches during the preseason. The one thing that’s still a big mystery is how he will distribute the minutes because (stop me if you’ve heard this one) the injuries made a mess of the rotation.
The Miami game provided the best clue but it wasn’t definitive, unless you somehow think Jamal is going to play just 19 minutes per night.
“I have kind of got an idea of how many I want my starters to play and the guys off the bench,” L.D. said. “I don’t want to wear guys down. I will scale back on a couple starters who played I thought too many minutes in the past. I certainly want to utilize my bench more.”
Like everything else L.D. is trying to do, it remains to be seen if his wishes will match up with reality. He’s committed to going deep in his bench but that means five reserves are going to have to be consistent contributors.
J.J. is all for reduced wear and tear. He said the ideal situation is for the starters to get the Hawks going at the start of the game and after halftime; the reserves hold it down in the second quarter and bridge the third and fourth quarters; and the starters come back to finish the game.
“As long as the starters come out and we start the game off right, come out business-like, that can happen,” he said.
Josh Powell watched the Lakers’ ring ceremony last night and heard Phil Jackson give him a shout out. Some of the Lakers players talked about the team’s cohesiveness. Powell said it was real.
“The experiences and the relationships that I built there are definitely things to miss,” he said. “But I have a new family now and we’ve got things we are trying to accomplish. I wish their organization and team all the best this year.”
No word on when Powell will get his ring.
“I have no idea how that works,” Powell said. “I’m going to get it but I haven’t talked to nobody about that.”
Powell signed with the Hawks for a chance to play meaningful minutes, and L.D. has said Powell will get them. Even when Powell averaged 19.2 minutes for the Clippers in 07-08 the minutes were sporadic.
“For a guy in my shoes for six years and to finally have a real, true chance to be a part of something in the sense of showing what you can do on a night-in, night-out basis and bring somewhat of a leadership role to the guys, I look forward to it,” he said.
Mo is still getting his knee up to speed. He said in hindsight he wishes he’d had his surgery earlier in the summer and not pushed the knee too soon after the procedure.
“It’s the residual effects of having arthroscopic surgery and trying to do too much and come back too fast,” he said. “As a professional athlete you are competitive and when I see the guys out there competing, it’s hard to watch. Then you get out there and have success and you get excited and you try to do too much.”
Teague’s ankle isn’t 100 percent yet.
“I feel it sometimes,” he said. “But I will be all right.”
Jamal says his back is fine.
Grizz center Marc Gasol (ankle) is out. Memphis coach Lionel Hollins is starting 6-9 Darrel Arthur in his place with 7-3 Hasheem Thabeet in reserve. Zach Randolph (6-9) can play there, too.
It will be interesting to see if L.D. will go big.
“We’ve got the bodies,” L.D. said. “Against Memphis you may end up using your bodies. They have some bodies and do a good job crashing the boards. You have to block them out. It may take all of our bodies to get the job done.”