Happy Wednesday! We get a Game 5 that is one of the juiciest Division Series games we’ve ever had, with the Yankees of all teams playing underdog versus the mighty Indians. As a bonus, we also get Game 4 between the Nationals and Cubs. We won’t, however, be getting Stephen Strasburg.
Smart, giving up 6 inches, got a hand on the ball and clung to it as Holmes tried with two arms to prevent Smart from wrestling it away. Eventually, as the two do-si-doed, the ball popped loose near the free throw line. Smart immediately launched himself between the legs of T.J. McConnell and snared the loose ball. Smart even had the presence of mind to roll on his back and somehow feed teammate Terry Rozier, who then lobbed an alley-oop that rookie Guerschon Yabusele finished with a layup.
Yates: It’s Roethlisberger, given his supporting cast. The offensive line is a tenured and cohesive group that has standout players, his receivers are highlighted by arguably the best in the game with Brown and Le’Veon Bell is a game-changer. It’s difficult to pinpoint why Roethlisberger’s most recent struggles (six interceptions over his past two games and just one touchdown) have occurred. Pittsburgh has a tough test to get on track as it faces the league’s best team, Kansas City, this week.
The Memphis Grizzlies also had a stronger track record of exceeding projections early in the Grit n’ Grind era. (Memphis beat its retroactive RPM projection by at least six wins each season from 2009-10 to 2012-13.) To the extent the Grizzlies have exceeded expectations lately, it has often been by outperforming their point differential.
I’d give Memphis a pretty good shot at beating this year’s RPM projection (also 34.8 wins before accounting for schedule) just because it’s so low.
But Smart also knows how much he impacts winning, and box score stats cannot fully quantify his impact. So when Stevens highlighted Smart’s hustle during that recent film session, it resonated with Smart.