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In what was BY FAR AND AWAY the most important basketball game played this night, the Grizzlies went into OKC and won.

I truly, truly LOVE IT when Kendrick Perkins loses, especially now that he plays for the Thunder. All the bullying and scowling in the universe won’t get you a win when you get outworked.

The Grizzlies won this game the only way they could. And what way was that?

Defense. When you go into OKC’s home court, shoot under 40 percent, and win, you’ve played some amazing defense.

To quote: “All heart, grit, grind”.

Not worryin’ about who was scoring (or who was helping the scorer, more on that in a moment). Playing with tenacity on D and not fouling (although, according to the zebras, they fouled quite a bit). Going even with OKC in free throw attempts is not easy and not common, and making more of those attempts is rarer still. The Grizzlies kept the Thunder under 30 FTA’s by knowing their opponent, and not letting the Thunder go crazy from 3.

-Letting Harden have the lane. It hurts when it happens, but staying at home on the perimeter guys while Harden (usually a chief perimeter threat himself, just ask Greivis Vasquez) uses his weaponized crossover on some unwitting victim is the lesser of the evils. Start opening up the floor for the Thunder, and you are in major trouble.

-Gilbert Arenas, the Durantula Killer? Easy, killa. Not really, but that first pulling-of-the-chair was LOL-funny. Arenas’ perfomance against Durant was “crafty”. “Crafty”, as in “not too young anymore but I know how to frustrate this guy”. Kinda like the way “crafty” is used to describe a baseball pitcher who is “old and throws 55 MPH but can throw a killer stretch of innings now and again”. Y’know what? All the Griz need from Gilbert is to be that “crafty” vet. Also for Arenas? Another game without a turnover.

-Speaking of turnovers, the oh-so-lovely box score says 18 for OKC and a measly 8 for the Griz. As far as the “helping the scorer” part for the Grizzlies, it was not so hot-only 12 ast on 34 made FG’s. Fewer passes=fewer turnovers. However, the Griz are not exactly known as a pristine ball-movement team anyway, so it wasn’t all that far out of the box for them to win the game in such fashion. The Grizzlies only had nine steals, a below-average number for them-but they forced many other turnovers that may as well have been steals. Staying on a man as he flips around looking for a pass led to more than one ball being thrown out of bounds by OKC.

-Durant and Westbrook, 13 for 36. That’s good stuff.

-Big ups to Rudy Gay and Tony Allen, and to the coaching staff, for letting both of those guys keep playing after picking up two fouls each (and those four fouls put together couldn’t get you a stick of gum, as far as cheapness goes). While Rudy had another nasty game from the field, he finished with those same two fouls in 36 minutes of playing time. TA did pick up two more, but he got his money’s worth out of all four, as he was vital to the win.Both guys played good defense, and against more than one opponent each.

Also, OH-OH-OJ MAYOOOO FOR THREEEEEEEEEEEE.

Randolph gave it a good shot, and hit two big FT’s…and also had  a bit of luck against Nick Collison on offense (the guy who KILLED him in the PO’s last year, for those who have blocked it out). Couple super-nifty assists, too, including a really nice give and go with OJ on the baseline. ZBo did not have his shooting rhythm this night, however. It’s harder for him to get going when he can’t hit that first outside shot, and coming off the bench makes that shot a bit harder to find immediately upon entering the game.

Troubling? Gasol played over 40 mintues, which does not bode well for him playing much (if at all?) against GSW. Might be ok, though, since GSW is not exactly a team loaded with giants.

One down, two to go. Ride the wave, Grizzlies.

 

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13 Responses to THUNDER DOWN! Grizzlies Take Down OKC

  1. Chip CrainNo Gravatar says:

    Great win for the entire team. Great 4th quarter for Mayo scoring the ball. Great defense from Arenas on Durant. Great rebounding from Mo Speights in limited minutes and QPon’s 2nd quarter activity helped keep the game close when OKC looked ready to take charge of the game.

    It’s nights like this that keep me loving my Grizzies.

  2. Chris FaulknerNo Gravatar says:

    Enormous win, and it was done in beautiful fashion. My blood remained 30% lower tonight just because of the Grizz’ free throw percentage.

  3. Joel B.No Gravatar says:

    off to the warriors, who should be tanking games in order to keep that last draft pick of theirs. dosent mean the Grizz cant show up, but it does give me hope that it might be a bit of an easier game.

  4. GrizzdocNo Gravatar says:

    Absolutely loved this game. I put this up there as one of the most impressive wins this season, along with the Lakers win. However, this one kind of surprised me.

    There are so many things to love about, so many things that the Grizz did right. However, in my mind, one thing stands out more than any other–free throw shooting.

    This has long been the bane of our existence, particular down the stretch in close games. Going 22-24 won the game for us, and while I know that we won’t always go for that high of a percentage, I hope that it is a sign that we are ready to come up big in prime time when the game is on the line with our free throws. Great job by everyone.

    Let’s get that #4 seed and take on those Clippers in round 1…

  5. stevedNo Gravatar says:

    I had completely written this game off for the Grizz. Unbelievable we won shooting less than 40% against the offensive juggernaut of OKC. Westbrook was defended very, very well.

  6. PatrickNo Gravatar says:

    Statement win for the Grizz, downing maybe the hottest team in the league, on their home court, and we didn’t even play our best game. Very encouraging. No one mentioned NO MIKE CONLEY, and our backup PG play has been a huge weakness this season. Gotta love it.

  7. TonyNo Gravatar says:

    Our offense realy struggled at times tonight without Conley. I thought Pargo played pretty well in the third, but it didn’t make up for how wretched he was in the 1st. With that being said, Chris Herrington tweeted something last night that got me thinking – when we go offense-for-defense subs late in games, maybe it’s time to take Conley out. TA shuts down Harden when he’s on him, Rudy’s the only guy with the length to play KD, which leaves the third guy to play Westbrook … Feels odd to say because Conley is leading the league in steals but I thought Juice with his size played Westbrook better than Conley ever does. Thoughts?

    • SheaNo Gravatar says:

      I agree with everything that you said but one, Rudy has the length but he plays horrendously porous defense. As far as O.J. can you imagine what he would have been if he was let loose when he was drafted.

  8. GrizzliesDieHardNo Gravatar says:

    Their is no doubt that Juice at 6’4 matches up w/ Westbrook better than Conley. Having Juice and Arenas on the floor together gives you two interchangebale guards that can spread the floor and break you down off of the dribble. No Gilbert isn’t knocking down shots, but he’s moving the ball pointing guys in the right position and he still seems to get more respect from defenses than Conley.

    I think that we should reduce Conley’s minutes against the Thunder or Rockets and play more Juice. Enough about Juice’s inability to play the point. OJ Mayo is a lead guard and he needs the ball in his hands 25-30 minutes per game. He’s a stone cold killer and bringing out the six shooters on the road when we need it most.

    BTW, great production by Mo Speights giving us double double’s as of late. With Mayo, ZBO, and Arenas coming off of the bench we now have an elite bench.

  9. boNo Gravatar says:

    as usual, knowledgeable posts and love of grit and grind…
    conley needs rest, so just use arenas/oj/pargo for significant stretches. a rested defender is better than a pooped conley. save conley for not just offense but the rest of the game. and rest him more in first half.
    same commments apply to gasol, just get haddadi some more $X#$!*X#$! minutes……………

  10. presidentjoeNo Gravatar says:

    Always thought oj should get more touches than Conley. With Conley out the team plays better going through oj.

  11. HartNo Gravatar says:

    Box Score analysis: this was a weird game.
    Coming off the bench for this game was Z-Bo, Mayo, Arenas & Q-Pon?
    What happens when Mike Conley goes down?
    Well, Pargo & Arenas split Conley’s usual 40 minutes, but Z-Bo & Mayo combined for 6 of our 12 assists.

    OJ Mayo was the hero of this game when he went 8-19 on FGs and 1-4 from 3? – well it was better than the team’s % for the night.

    I saw last night Rudy tweeted “Ugly game but its a win”.

    OKC gave us this one by clanking 7 at the line and 16 beyond the arc.

    Though the Box Score doesn’t tell the story of the pressure our D put on them to hold those %s down.

    GRIT & GRIND!!!

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