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.