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r the Grizzlies start with Conley.

  • 16 Apr
    After rotating quarterbacks throughout Saturdays 19-13 loss to Clemson,?Auburn Tigers coach Gus Malzahn has once again named Sean White?the starter for this weeks matchup against Arkansas State -- and for the foreseeable future.Moving forward, Sean White will be our starting quarterback, Malzahn said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. John Franklin will get the No. 2 reps this week in practice.White also started the season opener, but Jeremy Johnson?came in after two drives. From there, all three quarterbacks saw snaps -- along with Kerryon Johnson and Chandler Cox out of the Wildcat -- as Auburn made a total of 23 substitutions at the position.The offense finished with 262 total yards, averaging just 3.7 yards per play.Going into the first game, our plan was that we were going to throw a lot at them, Malzahn said. We felt like all three quarterbacks had some things that they could be successful with. We were going to give them a lot to think about. We werent as successful as I thought wed be, but that was the plan.Malzahn said Johnson, last years starting quarterback to begin the season, will still get reps in practice and will be ready as the team needs him.In other news, Auburn defensive back Stephen Roberts will return this week after he served a one-game suspension against Clemson. Roberts was arrested last month for misdemeanor charges of attempting to elude law enforcement and carrying a pistol without a permit. Ray Bans Clearance Sale .C. at the helm of the top team in the Eastern Conference. His tenure as the GM in Vancouver was all too brief. Though he led the Canucks to what was then a franchise record-shattering campaign in just his second season, Nonis was gone and replaced one year later. Ray Ban Sunglasses Outlet Cheap . Only three players drafted by NHL clubs were included on the Czech selection camp roster on Wednesday. Those players were Dallas Stars 2012 first-rounder Radek Faksa, Winnipeg Jets 2013 fourth-rounder Jan Kostalek and Phoenix Coyotes 2012 seventh-rounder Marek Langhamer. http://www.clearancerayban.com/ .J. -- Josh Cribbs was in the Pro Bowl in February and out of a job six months later. Ray Ban Sunglasses Clearance Sale . Inter president Erick Thohir says in a club statement on Wednesday that Vidic is "one of the worlds best defenders and his qualities, international pedigree, and charisma will be an asset. Ray Ban Clearance Outlet .com) - Manchester City midfielder David Silva is expected to miss the next four weeks because of a calf problem. MARC GASOL IS nailing a Conor McGregor impression -- flapping his arms wildly as he struts down the floor of Staples Center just like the 5-foot-9 Irish UFC champion -- and the celebration is totally justified.The Memphis Grizzlies should not have won this game. Its mid-November, and the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBAs hottest team with a 10-1 record, should have been cruising against the middling Grizzlies. After hobbling through 14 minutes of action, one of the Grizzlies best players, Chandler Parsons, has succumbed to nagging injuries and exits for good in the second quarter. Still, the Grizzlies have hung around. And with 23 seconds left in the game, they were somehow within a point.Thats when Grizzlies guard Mike Conley drove into the paint, drew DeAndre Jordan off his man and kicked it out to center Marc Gasol in the left corner. Of all the available options on the menu, this seemed like a good outcome for the Clippers. After all, coming into this season, Gasol was a career 18.2 percent 3-point shooter, never having made more than three in any of his nine seasons. No way this is how first-year head coach David Fizdale drew it up.But of course, this is exactly how Fizdale drew it up.If they help off that corner, Fizdale later explains, the read was to kick it to Marc in the corner.Sure enough, Gasols 3-pointer splashed through the bottom of the net. (By December, Gasol will sport one of the NBAs top 10 3-point percentages.) On the Clippers bench, Paul Pierce slapped his head with both hands in bewilderment -- and Gasol unleashed his McGregor routine.Thanks to miracles like that this season, the Grizzlies are now an absurd 13-5 in clutch games -- those, according to NBA.com, in which the score is within five points in the final five minutes. Meanwhile, NBA teams as a whole this season are winning less than a quarter of games they trail by one to five points in the final five minutes. The Grizzlies, somehow, are 10-5 in those losing scenarios, which is the kind of thing that could make someone wonder whether theres something in the water in Memphis.Most quants would argue this run of clutch wins is unsustainable, a random string of coin flips going in one direction. Just plain ol good luck. Except the Grizzlies have been doing this for years, defying all prevailing analytical wisdom that the clutch gene does not exist -- wisdom that John Hollinger, a pioneer of NBA analytics and the current Grizzlies VP of basketball operations, once fervently endorsed on these pages of ESPN.com.Now? Hes a clutch convert.I think theres something in the water, Hollinger says.The question is, what?AS AN EVIDENCE-BASED thinker, Hollingers work often poked holes in the idea that anything was magic. And in basketball, he explained, the idea one team had magic at the end of games plainly took a backseat to point differential. The ethos was first introduced by Bill James, who decades ago arrived at the Pythagorean expectation, after finding that the difference between runs scored and runs allowed was much better at predicting baseball games than using a teams record. Study after study across sports backed up James revolutionary principles.Based on this thinking, Hollinger then created a Hollinger Power Ranking formula that straight-up insulted close wins by ignoring win-loss records altogether, relying primarily on point differential. And from time to time, that formula created lots of uproar. In 2010, Hollinger caught flak for ranking the Dallas Mavericks, fresh off a 13-game winning streak, 13th in the NBA by his methods. Why wasnt Hollinger buying the scorching-hot Mavs?The Mavs, Hollinger argued, had freakingly good fortune in close games and the teams lukewarm point differential was a better indicator of its true talent level. This column on ESPN.com ignited a 19-page message board thread on the Dallas-Mavs.com forum with the subject headline of Behold, the idiocy that is John Hollinger created by a user named joemoeschmoe.Dallas proceeded to finish an incredible 55-27 that season, good enough for the No. 2 seed in the West. Hollinger remained skeptical. Sure enough, the Mavs lost in the first round to the No. 7 San Antonio Spurs. Turns out the Spurs point differential was much better than the Mavs. Hollinger remembers a couple of other times he sided with the unpopular opinion. He threw cold water on the 2007-08 New Jersey Nets and then again on a hot Blazers run in 2008-09. And he was right on the money. Both teams fell back to Earth.But heres the thing: In 2012, Hollinger took a job as the vice president of basketball operations for, of all employers, the Memphis Grizzlies.As he notes: It is somewhat ironic that I would create a formula only for my team to destroy it.IF YOUVE EVER seen Hollinger in person, theres a high probability hes holding a hot cup of coffee. In the stands of an Eastern European gym, inside the halls at the MIT Sloan Conference ... anywhere he is, chances are hes on the bean.But all these dramatic finishes have made him cut back on the java.Ive had to reduce my in-game coffee consumption, Hollinger says. Now Im going with the natural energy boost from all that late-game drama.He quickly takes that back.Actually, Hollinger says with a laugh, thats not possible.Hollinger admits it has been impossible for him to stay seated during this wild Grizzlies season. Of the teams 29 games, 18 of them have entered clutch time. By contrast, the Golden State Warriors have played eight such games.The question is asked to Hollinger, a long-time columnist: If the Grizzlies were doing this back when you were writing, what would you have written?I probably would have been extremely skeptical, Hollinger says.But this might be a different story, he explains. For this team, point differential isnt always the best predictor of whats to come.THE GRIZZLIES ARE 18-11 this season, despite having been outscored by 10 points on the overall ledger. This does not seem possible, but the Grizzlies have pulled it off thanks to their 13-5 record in clutch games, which is fourth in the NBA behind the past three champions (Warriorss, Cavs and Spurs).dddddddddddd The Grizzlies have a knack for this. Here is their ranking in the category over the past six seasons: fourth, sixth, third, third, fifth, sixth. To be ranked no worse than sixth is a crazy achievement once you consider that no other team is ranked in the top 10 in each of the past six seasons. Not the Warriors. Not the Heat. Not the Spurs.The Grizzlies are freakin clutch.If we zoom in even more and look at the final minute in games that are within three points (super clutch), the Grizzlies are a baffling 12-1 this season. These should be coin-flip games, but theyve won almost every single one ... the exception was Fridays tilt against, of all teams, the 10-17 Kings. Down three against New Orleans with 19 seconds left, the Grizzlies won by two. Down by two with 26 seconds left against the Clippers, they won by four. You get the point.The overall picture is even more staggering -- and confounding. Over the past six seasons, the Grizzlies are 105-46 (.695) in these super-clutch situations, which is significantly higher than the second-place Spurs over that same time span (.652). While the Spurs outstanding clutch performance is understandable -- their teams boast the NBAs best overall point differential of plus-3,146 over that same time period -- the Grizzlies point differential is plus-696, or 2,450 points fewer than the Spurs. Said another way, the Raptors are plus-739 overall during the same period, a smidge better than the Grizzlies over the past six seasons. The Raps record in super-clutch games? A measly 64-80 (.444).It makes literally no sense. And Hollinger, for his part, wouldnt believe it if he hadnt seen it with his own eyes, repeatedly. The one thing that [the Grizzlies] have defied with every other team Ive researched, they do it year after year after year, Hollinger says.So whats going on in Memphis? Does the team inject itself with vials of the clutch gene? The teams point guard has a theory.I REMEMBER IT vividly, Conley says. Right in front of the Heat bench. It happened six years ago: Rudy Gays game winner over LeBron James and the Heat in 2010.Fizdale was there, at that time serving as a Heat assistant. Its the first shot Fizdale thinks of when he catalogues the Grizzlies heroics over the years. It broke our back, Fizdale says. Right in front of our bench. Rudy Gay rose up, right over LeBron. He broke our heart.The first person to hug Gay on the court that night in Memphis was Conley, who had turned 23 that day. Two years later, Gay was traded to Toronto in a controversial move that sent away the teams top scorer and go-to threat in crunch time. The kids in Memphis would have to shoulder that responsibility.But since then, the Grizzlies have only gotten better in close games. In the four full seasons without Gay, the team has won 12 more games in clutch time than any other team -- and Conleys theory: crunch-time ball is Grizzlies ball.Were accustomed to playing slower and more defensive possessions, Conley says. Whats helped us is that weve played a slower pace in previous years and teams always have played fast.Its true. Fast-break frequency drops by a third in crunch time compared to normal play, which makes sense given that coaches try to keep risky plays to a minimum in crunch time. And this plays right into the Grizzlies hands. Over the past four seasons, the Grizzlies rank second slowest in pace, just behind Utah. While other teams have to switch up their style in crunch time, its just another day at the office for the Grit n Grind Grizz.When it comes down to the last minute of the game, youre not running transition layups ... its not transition 3s, Conley says. Its What can you run in a set? Can you execute? Those things are the things that weve had to do from the first quarter in order to score.The honed half-court game shows up in the stats in various ways -- for instance, an almost total lack of turnovers. Last season, Conley averaged just 1.5 turnovers per game and amassed the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the NBA.Fizdale says his team just executes better -- quite possibly because it has played so many years together. Hollinger notes that Zach Randolph, Gasol, Tony Allen and Conley comprise the longest-running four-man core in the NBA now that Tim Duncan has retired.If you look at our games this year, it wasnt games we won with free throws going down the stretch; its when we have to execute a play to win the game, Fizdale says. They really have a way of locking in in that moment and focusing on execution, and they usually do a very good job of it.Says Conley: Weve always had to take each possession like its our last.MANY OF THOSE?big moments for the Grizzlies start with Conley. In 53 minutes of clutch action this season, he has scored an astounding 50 points, shooting 42.9 percent from the floor, 54.5 percent from deep and 95.2 percent from the free throw line, according to NBA.com research.But exactly one week after theorizing about the Grizzlies clutchness, he suffered a transverse process fracture in his back, sidelining him for the next nine games. The Grizzlies lost their top scorer in crunch time, spelling doom for their golden crunch-time résumé.Only that hasnt happened at all.Down seven with 4:46 left against Orlando on Dec. 1, the Grizzlies won by one. Down one with 4:44 left against the Lakers, they won by three. Down three with 19 seconds left in New Orleans, they won by two (in double overtime). Down two with 1:26 left against Philadelphia, they won by five. Down 11 with 4:59 left against Portland, they won by two.That last Portland win was sealed not by Gasol, Allen or Randolph. Memphis hero was 30-year-old Toney Douglas, who, in the midst of his 10-day tenure with the team, scored Memphis final six points, including two clutch free throws with less than a second left in the game. His basket with 35 seconds left was his first clutch basket in over three years.So maybe something really is in the water. ' ' '