For this postseason, I’d come up with the idea of launching a different kind of post game analysis: “What DIDN’T Happen.” It’ll be a bullet point kind of breakdown of the game . . . looking at some of the “hidden” nuggets of the game, things that otherwise might go overlooked.
So anyway, with the Grizzlies firmly in control of Game 1 over the Clippers, I started writing my notes — stuff like:
- Chris Paul didn’t outplay Conley.
- The Grizzlies didn’t win the points in the paint battle.
- Zach Randolph didn’t post a double-double.
Right after typing that, I’m noticing the Clippers making a run. Hey it’s the NBA and this is a playoff team. Of course they’re going to make a run. A 21 point lead now down to 13? Okay. The Grizzlies have shown enough poise over the past two seasons that there’s no reason for concern. Meanwhile, continuing my list of what didn’t happen, I typed this line:
The Clippers didn’t give up. Even with the Grizzlies dominating the game for three quarters, the Clippers kept chipping away until they got the game within 3 points with two minutes to go.
Well, all that goes out of the window, and if you’re reading this, you already know why. What DIDN’T Happen?
The Grizzlies Didn’t Win. An explosive start to the game. A rowdy, jam-packed FedEx Forum waving growl towels. A relatively healthy roster. Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo draining threes. A dominant performance for three quarters. All of it undone by a stunning demonstration of what happens with spirited comeback meets epic collapse.
The Grizzlies didn’t score for much of the fourth quarter. With 9:12 remaining in the game, the Grizzlies had posted 95 points. That sounds great until you look at the final score: 98 points. That means that the GRIZZLIES WENT NINE FREAKING MINUTES AND SCORED ONLY THREE POINTS. That’s like one point every three minutes! You knew the Grizzlies wouldn’t stay as hot as they were in the first quarter, but come on . . .
Marc Gasol didn’t get the ball in the post in the fourth quarter. No shot attempts in the fourth quarter. NOT. ONE. A few things contributed to this: The Clippers picked up the defense and went with a small-ball lineup that helped deny Gasol the ball. But as Coach Hollins noted in the post game remarks, the team seemed content to walk the ball up the court and try to run the clock out instead of going with what worked so well in the first half.
Zach Randolph did NOT play well. Z-Bo went 3-13 in 32 minutes, scoring 6 points and 8 boards. There was a collective gasp when he went down hard in the first half, but the crowd roared when he started doing pushups to show that he was alright. In other news, Marreese Speights put up 8 points & 9 boards in just 18 minutes. I would not be surprised if Coach Hollins reinserts Marreese back into the starting lineup for Game 2. Again, it was working before, and Zach clearly seemed not his usual self. The question is: Can Zach’s ego take coming off the bench after becoming a star in last season’s playoff run?
Rudy Gay didn’t make that shot. Okay. I know it’s hard, but forget the 27 point lead. Forget all the threes. Let’s stop and breathe for a second and remember that the Grizz and Clippers have virtually identical records, and are therefore, pretty evenly matched. Both teams posted impressive regular season victories in April. All of which is to say that we should have expected a close game, and . . . if Rudy Gay makes that last shot (or if Tony Allen doesn’t make that Chris Paul foul), then dropping that lead would be unfortunate but ultimately forgotten.Like Coach Hollins said in the post game, it’s the little things that determine if you win or lose.
Game 2 is Wednesday. My gut says that the Grizzlies are majorly pi$$ed off and the bear will be scratching and clawing for the win.