Just some quick thoughts for you as we prepare for Game 2 of the Grizzlies series against Oklahoma City.
While the 100-86 loss in Game 1 was frustrating for Grizzlies fans, there are some numbers within that box score that you have to think will change going forward.
Consider the team shooting percentages:
- Grizzlies shot 36.3% (33-91) from the field. That is well below the team’s 46.4% during the regular season. It was bizarre how many good shots at the rim just seemed to miss the mark and I expect more of them to fall tonight and in the coming games.
- Grizzlies shot 18.2% (2-11) from beyond the arc. While the Grizzlies are certainly not known for their 3-point shooting, that is well below the 35.3% the team shot during the regular season and I would expect that number to rise.
- Grizzlies shot 58.1% (18-31) from the free throw line. Again, this was well below the team’s season average of 74.1% and the numbers suggest this will improve going forward.
If you adjust the Game 1 shooting percentages to the season average, the Grizzlies would have been 42-91 (+14 points on +7 2FGM), 4-11 (+6 points on +2 3FGM) and 22-31 (+4 points on FTM). That is a total of 24 points the team lost by failing to shoot the averages. In a game lost by 14, its not difficult to imagine the way the out come might have been different.
I realize, of course, that the Thunder also shot slightly below their season average from the field (44.7%/47.1%) and from beyond the arc (25%/36.1%). They also outpaced their season average from the line (87.5%/80.6%). All told, if you made the same adjustment for OKC, they were +3, meaning the Grizzlies would have been +7 on the game.
Wasn’t that a fun trip to hypothetical world? My point is that the Grizzlies managed a +15 on shot attempts and if they can keep that edge while “progressing to the mean” in terms of shooting percentage, they’ll have a good chance to win.
On the flip side, there are some numbers I expect to change that won’t benefit the Grizzlies:
- The Grizzlies only turned the ball over 6 times. That is down from a season average of 12.9 turnovers/game. Staying at or below the season average will be a big key if the Grizzlies hope to steal Game 2, but expecting only 6 is probably asking too much.
- Kevin Durant only attempted 6 free throws in Game 1. On the regular-season, he attempted 10 per game. I expect him to meet or exceed that in Game 2.
- Tony Allen played 33 minutes (the majority of which he was guarding KD) and only had 4 personal fouls. I expect Durant to be more physical with Tony and to force the issue, which will make it hard for TA to stay out of foul trouble if he has to play 30+ minutes tonight.
Just some things to consider while you figure out how to pass the time until 7:00 tonight.
(Keep Calm &) Grind On, Memphis!