I don’t root for this team any harder now than I did during the dark days of, say, 2008-but it sure feels better to root for them so hard these days.
Thunder, Heat, Mavs all go down within a week. Oh, yeah, Hollins is tunin’ the machine at the right time….and, at least for the moment, the Grizzlies seem to have found the bench 3-pt threat they’ve needed since, oh, Columbus’ voyage or so.
There were several things that I’d mentally noted to watch for in this game, and here’s how they turned out….-The battle of the free-throw line, especially as it related to Irk. He went to the line only four times, and was frustrated for much of the game, starting 0-5. As for the larger picture, the Grizzlies were plus-ten in attempts and plus-a-big-fat-eleven in made FT’s. 23-27 is a sign of a team who knew what was happening as the game went on-the Mavs ratcheted up the D, the Grizzlies’ FG% went down…so they got more aggressive with the ball, hustled on the glass, and made the Mavs foul them. Play amazing defense, and get to the foul line when your offense runs aground a bit. Great stuff.
-Rudy Gay. Would he show up big? As I stated last night after the Heat win, it seemed like Rudy was on the verge of a big game if he could just get some decent rest in his own bed…and he did, and he did put up that 20+ game I predicted. He would likely have become the Griz’ first 30-point scorer of the year if not for foul trouble in the second half. AND HE FINALLY HIT A THREE-POINTER. Three of ‘em, in fact. What Rudy does when he has good games is interesting-it’s the “running into space” technique. When he’s aggressive, looking to score, he can anticipate in a TMac-esque way where the defense is going to be and when they’re NOT going to be there, and he’s able to rise up and score from anywhere-zero to 26 or so feet. Didn’t get a ton of boards, but fought hard for the ones he got, and seemed to know when the Griz REALLY needed one.
-The fatigue factor with Conley and Gasol. It reared its ugly head, but luckily, both players were able to play the important minutes with important lineups (more on that in a moment) without going over 33 minutes, with Conley going just under 30. Both these guys need the rest, ‘cuz Monday, both of them have a rather dastardly assignment waiting for them.
A few other stats of interest:
OJ had a horrible shooting night, but five assists with ZERO turnovers is a great line in and of itself from OJ. I’d imagine hangin’ out with Arenas helps a good bit in terms of limiting his TO’s.
Rudy. 60% from the field, 80% from line, and the aforementioned 3-5 from Three. Whoof.
ZBo. 15 and 11 in 28 minutes. I’ll say it again…seems like he’s “rounding” back into form.
For the second game in a row…the Grizzlies’ “winning time” lineup (Conley, Mayo, Gay, ZBo, Gasol) were on the court together in crunch time. This must continue….