Mike Conley had never won in Houston. Let that resonate.
For the Grizzlies to have any hope of homecourt, this was a must-win, and they did.
There were a couple of great performances for the Grizzlies, but there’s one word that is sufficiently descriptive of the win…
Balance, and the demonstrable way to look at it?
A constant favorite, shot attempts. All starters besides Prince, plus Bayless, took between 12 and 14 shots. All of them did score in double figures as well. No point trying to call the game some sort of shooting exhibition, as the Grizzlies outshot the Rockets 35% to 31%, but the Grizzlies made lemonade from poor-shooting lemons as they tend to be able to do. The team also managed 18 assists on a paltry 29 makes (the Rockets did a great job moving the ball with 18 ast on only *23* makes, but more on that in a second), which is a good sign for the offense heading into the Grind-ier playoffs.
As for the Rockets ball movement, it was great-especially when one considers the fact that they “moved” it into the hands of the Grizzlies 20 times via turnover, with nearly half of those (8) coming courtesy of The Beard, with Tony Allen and others doing as well as they could to limit his playmaking. The fact that he still went for 30 shows how hard the Rockets lean on him as much as it shows his single-handed offensive prowess. The Grizzlies, for their part, did not commit a turnover until halfway through the second quarter. Perimeter passing lanes provided a very rich vein of steals for the Grizzlies to mine, and mine them they did. Arthur had a great one inside too, just flat-out strong-arming a rebounded ball away from the Rockets.
Speaking of Darrell Arthur, which causes one to speak of slumpish players, he hustled well but still didn’t have his usual top-of-key flash working as well as we hoped he might. Arthur has lost time to Davis and shots to Bayless, but he doesn’t care. He likely has fond memories of late April and May 2011 and is biding his time. Speaking of biding his time…ZBo. We must hope he’s biding his time. He knows he’s not 25 anymore, so perhaps he’s just saving his matches. Funny that 15 and 8 with an assist, a steal, and no turns is “biding his time”, but it is.
Also, Marc Gasol with more awesomeness on display. No real surprise there for anybody anymore.
A very Grizzly win.
Now, the game tomorrow.
Nothing major, Grizzlies, just maybe the biggest regular-season game you’ve ever played.