Preeeettttty tough to make the playoffs from the Grizzlies’ current position when the team doesn’t display playoff intensity.
Ok, that’s what happened, everyone head on home.
No, really, that’s it….but here are seven things that stood out about this game…
Thing one: Odds are pretty heavily against the Grizzlies when Mike Conley misses his first five shots. Not good. Stretch that to 1-10 for the game, and the odds move into the astronomical range. Had trouble with the ball (five TO’s), struggled with Westbrook, and failed to hit that “huge” three or floater that helps change the momentum, although the momentum did thankfully change, albeit WAAAYYY too late to matter.
Thing two: Note to Joerger and staff: the “let everybody else beat us” cliche doesn’t work so well with the Thunder as it might with some other teams around the NBA, especially when “let’s just shut down KD” is a seed thought that never bears reality fruit. Seven at the half..and 37 for the game. The guy’s just a top-two player at this point, and there’s no way to stop him.
Thing three: Did I mention a lack of playoff intensity? I did? Oh, ok.
Thing four: The wing situation is progressing from question to conundrum, and enigma is out there on the horizon. Ten guys total played in this game, with all of them logging at least fifteen minutes, and the wing situation is now the seeming logjam, with Davis and Leuer catching splinters. This game in particular, it might be easy to see how Joerger wanted to spread minutes with a short-travel b2b coming up the next night, but if the rotation is truly going to be shortened, someone is going to wind up with hurt feelings. Miller? NOT AFTER THAT FOURTH QUARTER. So much letting it fly.
Thing five: Rebounding. Yes, Gasol has come around some since his return from injury in the scoring department, but mixing it up for rebounds obviously is the court action that makes him most nervous. The Grizzlies were -6 on the glass for the night, and with both teams shooting well, the fifteen offensive boards the Thunder grabbed added to the pitch of the climb the Grizz had to make just to get back in it.
Thing six: The vaunted Grizzly defense was, well, have you seen them tonight? Nope, neither have the Thunder. Even though the Grizzlies shot 51%(!!!) for the game, the Thunder shot 32 FT’s (so much for playing defense with feet) and went 10-22 from deep and shot almost 50% from the field. That’s some ’05-ish Suns business right there.
Thing seven: It’s getting tighter and tighter. My silly metaphor for this loss? It’s bigger than my waistline after a trip to the Commissary for AYCE rib night. For any non-Memphians, I’m sure you can guess that the Comissary is yet another of the Memphis metro area’s fine BBQ establishments. Mmmm…back to basketball. The Grizzlies cannot be expected to win every game from here on out, but the effort must be there in greater amounts than it was this game for the team to have any hope of playing into May.