All the hype, all the rematch talk, the ridiculously even nature of the two teams’ regular seasons.
This game started badly for the Grizzlies and got worse as time passed. Then it wasn’t so dreadful…but…
What were the keys to how this panned out?
Key number one: rebounding. Good God almighty, rebounding. Perhaps the most lopsided glass game I’ve watched of the 300 or so total NBA games I’ve seen this season. The Grizzlies were SO AFRAID of the lob/dunk factor that they sent NO ONE to the offensive glass. They didn’t block out at all on the defensive end, either-the Clippers had 14 offensive boards and about 952,000 second-chance points. Doubled up on the glass. 47-23. Mucho ouch.
Key number two: Absolutely craptastic defense from the Grizzlies. Chief offenders: TONY ALLEN helping off the weakside corner to start off the game. Darrell Arthur for a general lack of hustle and for sagging off Lamar Odom. The whole team for not anticipating and playing angles correctly when Paul gets a screen set at the elbow. Can’t complain too much about Crawford-he’s just an amazing scorer. Terrible foul by TA on the 4pt play though. The Grizzlies overall gave up 57 points on 53% shooting in the first half, and that just won’t get it done.
Key number three: Were the Grizzlies somehow able to clone Marc Gasol, no other NBA team would have a chance. The end.
Key number four: The Zach Randolph thing. He went 4-7 in the first half, but oddly, was the proud owner of the Grizzlies’ two lonely turnovers. He wound up going 6-10 for the game…but was just not able to impose his will with regularity. That travel call on the first play get in his head? Lionel get in his head by yanking him in the fourth? Who knows, but if he checks out on Hollins, y’all better get used to seeing Ed Davis start games.
Key five: Shrinking-violet Conley, you picked a hell of a time to show up. Completely intimidated. Showed a flash or two, and took care of the ball ok…because he didn’t do much with it. He’s got to be able to regain a measure of pride and come out playing like he doesn’t want his team to get blown out again.
Pretty much a disgustingly poor energy game for the Grizzlies, and worst of all, the total folding-of-the-tent after they went down by double digits in the fourth.
Gotta get my little guy to school Tuesday morning then get myself to work. Will the Grizzlies make it worth staying up to watch that one?