Has Chris Paul ever possessed a basketball without being fouled?
Ah, we’ll let that answer simmer for another day. For today, the Grizzlies played another Grizzlies game and won in a most…grisly fashion.
Let’s head back to the lucky seven format as we look at this, the most glorious win of the season…thus far.
Thing one: 20-34 for 48 points between Gasol and Randolph. That could really be all seven things…but that wouldn’t be quite as much fun, now would it? However, the two big men were the key to the game, but at vastly different junctures. Randolph with ten in the first quarter, Gasol with a ginormous 14 in the third. They did it how they do it-Zach by living in that sanctified mud down in the paint, and Marc from the elbow and slightly beyond. Both of them work as hard as we’ve seen them work on the glass, and it wasn’t just by ridiculously intuitive and smart positioning this time-they actually outjumped (!) the Clippers on several occasions throughout the game. Perhaps the best aspect of the Griz’ post game this day was the patience-they did not rush or force the entry pass too many times (and paid the price when they did). Griffin, Jordan, and Ryan Hollins all tried to front the Grizzlies’ star bigs, and it didn’t really work. Why? Prince hit some shots at the beginning of the game, Gasol got his midrange working, and Tony Allen made hard cuts. Great audio from ZBo and Gasol after the game-still showing that hardhat attitude..but one’s gotta know that ZBo has to be thrilled that the team has come back to him as a primary weapon:
Thing two: Bench, you slay me. Is it a rhythm thing? Is it a timing thing on Hollins’ part substitution-wise? Is it a lineup thing? Who knows, and who cares. But if Bayless and Davis keep playing like this, the starters are not gonna hold up. Bayless was just cold as ice, no two ways about it. His shot selection was pretty Bayless-esque-a couple threes, a couple jumpers from behind screens…he was just off, and his poor shooting affected his game in other aspects. 4-13 from the bench is the reason that the starters except Allen all were forced to play at least 37 minutes. This has to change going forward.
Thing three: The officiating was consistently inconsistent. Sure, Griffin and Paul got some phantom-ish calls, but Deandre Jordan (aka “the weak link”) was called for a rather cheesily nonexistent push in Gasol’s back, and there were a couple other touchy-touch jobs called on the Floppers in Red.
Thing four: Quincy Pondexter did what he could. He was just overmatched trying to guard Paul (isn’t anyone?), but he didn’t use all his energy on D and played defense fairly well with his feet. His ten points were likely the difference in the game, especially that big three in the fourth to help the Grizzlies get a bit of separation. The only saving grace for the bench to be sure, although a case could be made that Wroten’s five minutes were a neutral outcome.
Thing five: The glass. No, rebounding differential is not the be-all end-all by any means-but it is an indicator of the hustle game as a whole, and once again, the team who won the glass won the game. It’s a good thing the Grizzlies did outrebound the Flops 45-28, as the Grizzlies had a paltry 3 steals and lost the turnover war as well. It’s obvious that the team, especially ZBo and Gasol, were severely embarrassed by the lack of effort in game one. Tayshaun Prince did his veteran thing, keeping the team on the level and contributing six boards of his own. The massive playoff experience is the best part of the Prince deal, we think? Check out his postgame words:
Thing six: Confidence on both sides. The 0-10 combined posted by Billups and Butler and the 41% overall shooting for the Clippers is indicative of the Grizzlies’ confidence on defense. Sure, Paul had nineteen points..but only six assists. Griffin had 19 and 10, but was a dreadful -20 during his time on the floor. Over 50% for the Grizzlies, and 13 assists to only two turnovers for Conley is perhaps the key stat of the game-we CANNOT have shrinking violet Conley rear its too-unpretty head ever again (or at least this season). His comfort level has returned to his regular-season level. Check out his postgame comments-it’s easy to hear:
Thing seven: FedEx Forum, you were bigger than your 18,119 voices today. I’m almost 150 miles away on a preplanned family trip and I think I heard you from here. For those of us who were season ticket holders during the down era of late ’06 to the first couple weeks of the 09-10 season, it is just absolutely awesome to see the roof-crumbling level of insane support being shown to the team by the city. Allegiance is just not as crazy a word as it was in, say, late 2007. We saw the dark, and now, boy do we appreciate the light.
Tuesday. Los Angeles. Yet another episode of “biggest game in franchise history”. Can they do it?