Well, it was about time the Griz laid an egg. This game might remind one of the runup to the playoffs last year, wherein the Grizzlies ran the engine at only a high enough RPM to keep the wins coming.
Inconsistency. I’d be willing to bet that Lionel Hollins uttered that word in the locker room after this game…along with other less-printable and less-family-friendly words in multitudes.
Randolph and Conley kept the elastic from totally breaking in the fourth, but this was not the shining example of Griz basketball we’ve seen so much of lately, for a lot of reasons…
First and foremost, Tony Allen, as much as we love, appreciate, and admire his “guard two dudes at once” defensive tenacity, is taking too many shots. Gotta love three steals and zero turnovers, and his D in the third gave the Grizzlies the cushion they wound up NEEDING-but one is forced to wonder if Tony’s freehandedness with the ball on offense is part of what keeps his minute count down in addition to his known knee issues. Something to watch as we enter the dog days of the season.
As ugly as this game was (neither team even shot 40%), it was nice to once again see it be the opponent who thinks “ok, we got it to single digits after being down fifteen…now if we can just get over the hump….”. As we Grizz fanatics remember, it’s easy to fool yourself like that when you’re constantly on the wrong side of a 15-point third quarter point differential.
Zombies. That’s what the Grizzlies looked like (Gasol, Randolph, and Gay in particular, likely due to the boxing match in which they were involved against the Fake Tuff Knicks the previous night) during the fourth quarter, doing very unGrizzlike things-giving up multiple offensive rebounds, being lazy about getting the ball upcourt, not communicating…but the good side of it? Sure, the Griz held on to win-but even better, they did not lose poise like the Knicks did the previous night when the Grizzlies tightened the noose. No unnecessary chippiness, no silliness, just a fatigue-induced lack of focus. Conley hit one of his becoming-trademark “boy we NEEEEED Mike to hit this..YES” threes, and ZBo hit a couple key paint buckets, the first to make it 79-71 after the Bobcats had first closed it to six, and the Grizzlies rode out the tiredness the rest of the way.
I don’t imagine that the locker room was a pretty place after this game. I’d imagine that the egos and the eardrums of every single Grizzly were pockmarked from an assault by the Hollins Vocal Artillery Brigade…and that’s ok. Playing to the level of competition has dethroned many an elite team.
Randolph had another double double. In other breaking and shocking news, the surface of the sun has been determined to be hot. As for the bench, well, Ellington had his first total stinker. 0-5 with four of those from beyond the arc. Speights showed some good energy, but he’s still gotta be looking over his shoulder at Darrell Arthur’s return, which is coming around the bend sometime soon. Pondexter had a mediocre game als0-the fatigue of the NYFakeTuffGuys game seemed to wear on him, as his hands were doing more than were his feet on D, and that’s not something usually seen from him. He had a shot or two fall nastily short (thankfully only 3 FGA’s for him tonight), a sure sign of a desperate need for a good night’s sleep.
Rudy Gay fouled out. Now ordinarily, since the Griz won, it might be something that might elicit a small cheer from many, as in “yay, he played enough hard D to foul out”, but a couple of his fouls were the result of frustration and reaching. Not his best game either.
A lot of things that people have said about the Bobcats this season were shown to be true-a bit more mettle, plenty o’ Kemba, an NBA-ready MKG (a bit more on both sides of the ball than maybe many thought he might be to boot), BJ Mullens proving himself an actual NBA player, with a hearty 18 and 9 boards (albeit on 7-21 FG’s) this night doing plenty to keep the Grizzlies working. With the conditions and injuries that have happened in the East, the Bobcats have no reason to roll out the tanks just yet. Get a post scorer, and they would kinda remind me of another team I knew once..a young, quick PG learning to assert himself on offense and needing to learn to shoot, a phenom wing with all the physical tools in the world…hmmm..who was that team?