I bet Mike Fratello would like to watch that game on an infinite loop….and I might be inclined to join him.
Pursuit of the ball, pursuit of the opponent. Both teams played some killer defense, outside and inside.
Past the jump, we’ll look at some of the more important bits, and we’ll have some locker room audio courtesy of Three Shades’ Lee Smith.
Wayne Ellington had another flash of brilliance, and it was enough to singlehandedly pull the Griz back into the game. That’s the bottom line to this one. With the starters basically floundering in the first quarter (the team went 4-22) it was gonna be bench or nothing to get the team back into it..and the bench caught MAJOR fire in the second quarter. The reserves did the lions’ share of the work to hold the Bulls to a measly 14 points in Q2. Bayless, Pondexter, and Ellington all did an excellent job fighting around initial screens, causing the Bulls to have to pursue second and third options offensively-this led to a wonderful number of Bulls shots being hoisted later in the shot clock than they might have preferred. What did Wayne have to say? Here ya go…
With the Grizzlies’ frontcourt flat-out stinking up the joint to start the game, it was time for Mike Conley and Tony Allen to get the engine running again, and they did so. Tony Allen picked up his nine millionth delay-of-game infraction (he’d be broke if players got fined for those), but played a big role in helping the Grizzlies completely put a muzzle on the Bulls’ offense as it sputtered to start with the first pass of an offensive set. The “TA can guard two guys at once” idea was on full display for stretches, and it was glorious. Conley had a couple of beautiful steals, one of which in particular was a purely telepathic theft of a pass after he’d been caught in a screen. He knew that the pass was going back to the guard on the wing, stuck his hand up, and there was the ball. Bet Hollins really loved that one. Offensively, Conley had a nice 6-12 with 4-5 FT’s for a super-low game-high 17 points, with 4 ast to two TO. Mike Conley after the game:
ZBo and Gasol combined for 26 rebounds. Breaking: sky found to be blue. The play of those two was nothing to behold on the offensive end (except for their contribution to the Grizzlies’ outdoing the Bulls on the offensive glass 18-10), but with 31 bench points to bolster the Griz’ side of the scoreboard, that was ok. Their combined 5-21 should be put in a museum, ‘cuz there ain’t gonna be many of those.
This had to be a game that made a hard-nosed dude like Lionel Hollins smile. Run down the numbers: the Bulls shot 28-75, the Grizzlies won the battle of the boards by double digits, and the Grizzlies were deflecting balls all over the place. What did coach have to say? Take a listen…
Not a pretty game, but one that suits me (and any Griz fan who loves great defense) just fine.