Nothing is over until it’s over, as the Grizzlies know well. Remember giving up a 27 point lead to the Clippers in game 1 in 2012? Or being up 81-64 in game 3 of this year’s series only to give up a 4-point play and have to win it in OT? How about the Hollinger Odds giving us a 0.2% chance of making the playoffs this season after sitting at 10-15?
No, it’s never over … until it’s over.
The Memphis Grizzlies have backed themselves into a corner. Their “backs are against the wall.” This wasn’t true for game 6. They played as a team who had been playing “must-win” game after “must-win” game for three months. They took the night off. It’s unfortunate, because they had a 1 game advantage. Last night could have been a “Beale Street Beatdown” for the ages. The hashtags were ready, the stage was set, the growl towels read “All Heart. Grit. Grind.” But Kevin Durant ended it within the first 7 minutes of the game. Indeed it was a beatdown. The 2013-2014 soon-to-be MVP of the NBA and greatest scorer on the planet turned out the lights in FedexForum, hopped on the plane and headed back home, head held high, ready to close out the Grizzlies and advance to the second round.
We as fans were gut-punched. I was frustrated with the effort, and so were you. I saw thousands start streaming out of FedexForum with 3:34 to go in the game, down 20. I get it. I really do. You paid money for those tickets and since the Grizzlies didn’t care to be there, you weren’t gonna hang around. Sure you would hope the Grizzlies would have played as if it was game 7, but they didn’t. And now, here we are again, as a fan base; nerves high, heart pounding, anxiety pills in hand. It’s another must-win game upon which the Grizzlies season and roster future rides. There is no scoreboard watching to help us out. It’s just 13 men wearing Grizzlies across their baby blue chests taking the court in OKC for what may be one last ride together.
They owe us fans nothing. They have clawed, fought and executed their way to a game 7 in the first round of the playoffs against the favorite to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. That in itself is an amazing accomplishment, considering where they once were this season. But, they don’t want to go out like this. You can’t go out like this. Gaining and then losing home court advantage twice in one series?
As I wrote prior to game 6 yesterday, the Grizzlies are more than a basketball team to Memphis. They are our heroes too. We look to them for inspiration and morale when things get tough in the city. But, heroes have flaws too. The good news is the Grizzlies are merely wounded yet not defeated. However, we are down to the final battle. I have confidence the team will regroup and make adjustments. It’s really out of our control.
As fans we can’t bail on this team with one game left in the series. Especially a deciding game 7!?! I know we get caught up in the emotion of the game. I did it last night. I trusted the numbers and statistics and left my fandom at the door. But I picked it back up and threw it over my shoulders this morning.
There is one game left in this series. Yes, winning is against the odds. Mike Conley, may or may not be able to give it 100%. But these are the Memphis Grizzlies! Beating the odds is what they do. Proving doubters wrong is where they thrive. Once this thing is finally over, we will have months to discuss and critique. What can we do now? Believe. Believe in our heroes. They have carried us this far. We can’t look bail on them now, after all, it’s not over.
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Re: Joerger-he wouldn't be left searching if the Grizzlies got off to a better start in games. Might a change in starters make a difference?
— Zach Thomas (@zacharytthomas) May 2, 2014
Check out some Locker Room Video from the guys last night here:
VIDEO: Mike Conley Locker Room
VIDEO: Zach Randolph Locker Room
VIDEO: James Johnson Locker Room
VIDEO: Tony Allen Locker Room
BONUS VIDEO: Game 6 National Anthem- Michael Heisley