Best thing to happen to me all day?
I had the pleasure of hearing Hubie Brown utter the phrase “the painted area”. Aural bliss for any basketball fan.
Also, there was a good ol’ knockdown-dragout basketball game at the FedEx Forum.
It’d be quite possible to talk about this game until dawn…but I’ve gotta ride 40 miles then work seven hours tomorrow, so a teeny bit of brevity will have to play into this discussion.
Impossible to condense into a few thoughts…but here’s my best attempt…
MARC GASOL PICKED A WONDERFUL TIME TO COME OUT OF HIS SLUMP.
Okay, that’s it…bedtime.
Just kidding, but the Grizzlies obviously came prepared to see just how far they could push the mismatches they knew they’d find in that fabled painted area, and push they did. Over and over again. Gasol had 24 points, with half of those coming from the foul line. That is a Gasol game, no doubt about it. Due to foul trouble along with a complete inability to stop Marc, the Knicks threw four or five different defenders at him, including the venerably irritating Rasheed Wallace (who did the best of the bunch, channeling his inner ’04 Piston with a great combination of footwork and Bowen hands).
Conley with 16 and 8 and only two TO’s. That contract doesn’t look quite so bad now, does it (it actually didn’t at the time)?
Huh. Zach Randolph had 20 and 15. Hey..is that a yellow orb rising in the eastern sky? It’s hard to say much about ZBo’s performance from game to game…’cuz it’s always the same. Matters not who defends him, tall, not tall, bulky, skinny, this guy wants that ball. Will he continue to average 14 boards per game? It’s not as crazy as it might sound. His consistency is just astounding. Sometimes he’s “loud”, sometimes not, but he’s always there.
The aforementioned mismatches played a larger role than just allowing the Grizzlies to score a bunch of points-they also helped the Griz get WAAAYYY into the Knicks’ heads in the third quarter. Just as the Griz were able to frustrate the Thunder into a total loss of poise (Zach’s still chasing you Kendrick, better keep running), they were able to just, well, grind the Knicks into submission. Yes, there were nervous moments in Q4-but with the home team having enjoyed an advantage north of 20 points a time or two during the game, “getting it to single digits” was the Knicks’ death rattle for this contest. It took everything they had to pull it that close, and the Rudy three, then the Rudy dunk slammed the door.
Again with the mismatches-when a team as good at the pick-and-roll (MY LORD DID I JUST TYPE THAT) as the Grizzlies gets to work its bigs on overmatched defenders (or excellent defenders in foul trouble), it compounds the trouble opposing teams have stopping the “brothers from another mother” (tip o’ cap to Brevin Knight for his fave phrase). The chemistry between Gasol/Randolph/Conley is working as well as it ever has (yes, even the ’11 playoff run).
Distressing? Giving up 51 percent shooting, losing the TO battle. No game is perfect.
Heat at home, Thunder in OKC, and Knicks at home, ALL BY DOUBLE DIGITS. Is this the best Grizzlies team ever?
Don’t look now, butthe Grizzlies have a time-zone B2B tomorrow against a Charlotte team who’s not as bad as some might think. As Admiral Ackbar might say…”IT’S A TRAP”.
One might even say that tomorrow’s game will tell us as much about the Grizzlies as this game did…