Blog Entry

NBA Playoffs: Hollins lets Mayo out of the box

Posted on: May 14, 2011 1:42 am
Edited on: May 14, 2011 1:48 am
Key adjustment from Lionel Hollins helps Grizzlies force Game 7. 

Posted by Matt Moore

 Lionel Hollins has been stingy with his rotations. Despite what seems apparent from anecdotal or empirical evidence, Hollins has stuck with his guys through thick and thin. That's why Sam Young is a starter in the National Basketball Association. And it's worked forthe Grizzlies. But faced with a must-win Game 6, in the actual "must-win" sense, Hollins finally made an adjustment. He started O.J. Mayo in Young's stead. The result? 16 points and 4 steals for OJAM as the Grizzlies force a Game 7. 

Mayo's had the worst year of his career. Yanked from the starting lineup for the first time in his career, knocked out on a team flight, busted for PEDs, and was almost traded. He had every reason to dive into a bench-riding funk and bury himself on the pine. Instead, he embraced the team in the face of their post-deadline surge, working to play smarter and harder. His contributions have been considerable, but more importantly, timely in the playoffs, but his Game 6 performance was biggest. 

The Thunder were suffocating the Grizzlies slowly as this series went on. They were focused on packing the paint, bringing help, and allowing anyone but Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph to get theirs. Without any Grizzlies capable of spreading the floor on the starting unit the Thunder could force misses, get out in transition, and attack the rim with Russell Westbrook. Mayo's perimeter range served two functions in Game 6. It gave the Grizzlies a legitimate perimeter shooter who gets more active and involved the more he scored, which they are severely lacking when Mayo's not zoned in, and it spread the floor which forced the Thunder to cover Zach Randolph one-on-one. 

Yeah, that didn't work out great for the Oklahoma kiddos. 

If Hollins getting out of his comfort zone and switching up his rotation was stunning, then the return to normalcy was Scott Brooks' decision not to insert James Harden into the unit starting the second half. That helped spark the Memphis comeback as it prevented a mismatch at multiple positions. The Grizzlies could live with Wetbrook attacking O.J. Mayo on the perimeter as long as it was Thabo Sefolosha being guarded by Mike Conley and not James Harden. With Harden in, there were crisp passes, competent distribution and good team play. Scott Brooks keeps adding elements to why he, like his Coach of the Year award winners before him, might have trouble down the line. The Thunder are one win away from the Conference Finals, but you still have to feel like they squandered an opportunity with a double digit lead that had the Memphis crowd out of it. 

If Game 5 proved that the Thunder simply have the talent to win this series, Game 6 proved the Grizzlies simply have the will. If this series finishes by coming down to coaching, the Thunder have to get nervous. Lionel Hollins continues to get this ragtag group to play up to and above their potential. 

Down and out, nearly traded? Just another Memphis savior as the Grizzlies force one more. 

Game 7 is Sunday. 


Since: Mar 8, 2011
Posted on: May 14, 2011 2:09 pm

NBA Playoffs: Hollins lets Mayo out of the box

Let's get our facts straight.O.J. wasn't "yanked" out of the starting lineup.Coach Hollins convinced him that we were in desparate need of scoring off the bench.At the beginning of the season,there were huge questions reguarding our bench.Greivis Vasquez was an unproven rookie prone to many mistakes.Darrell Arthur was coming off an injury that kept him benched for the majority of last year.Hasheem Thabeet was actually in the rotation!(what a bust)We needed someone who could provide instant offense,and Mayo was the man.He handled the situation like the professional that he is-without crying or using the media as a means to cause friction like so many of todays athletes do.I believe Juice is one of the main reasons we are where we are today.He could have done so much to disrupt the team,yet he decided the team was more important than the individual.Kudos to Mayo for his selfless attitude and his desire to win.GO GRIZZ!!!!

Since: Jul 4, 2010
Posted on: May 14, 2011 11:13 am

NBA Playoffs: Hollins lets Mayo out of the box

I've been saying all year that O.J. Mayo had NO buisness sitting on the bench. If they aren't going to trade him(obviously) they need to play him and give him big minutes. He's a really good young SG. Plus his game compliments Rudy Gay's.

Since: Nov 27, 2010
Posted on: May 14, 2011 8:30 am

NBA Playoffs: Hollins lets Mayo out of the box

Sunday at 3:30 est if your doing something important cancel it this is going to be a knock down drag out. RoLLLL GrIzZlIeS

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or