Ok, it wasn’t really the first time this century, but it sure felt like it, eh Grizzlies fans?
Even more mega-awesome than the fact that the Grizzlies had more points when time expired was the way they won. Seven ways, y’know….
One: Was the scorer sleeping on about, oh, fifteen Knicks boards? NO. 56-29? REALLY? Percentage of available, offensive v. defensive, blah blah blah. Those kinds of numbers represent a good old southern-style kicking of behind on the glass. Yes, ZBo did his thing (more on him in a moment), but the wild card? That’s right, the Grindfather. The Grizzlies did not give up an inordinate amount of fast break points (only 12), while grabbing 13 offensive boards. Can we say, carefully, that only a team who trust each other on transition D can pull that off?
Two: Regarding this TA fellow…52% FG’s for the season (but don’t, ahem, look at that 3pt percentage, it’s come back to Earth like a 4-ton peregrine falcon headed for the mouse buffet), a positive ast/TO ratio, and all hustle….but what seems different, and was exemplified in this game, is that he’s under more control in the lane. Those crazy putback banks, the lane cuts..they seem less cringe-inducing. Can it sustain, or was it just a game against a disheveled team? We’ll see…
Three: James Johnson. Strong play, and most importantly, showed that this is not his first time on the NBA merry-go-round. Just fittin’ in. He played tough, physical D on Melo (and stacked up a buncha fouls to show for it)…and Anthony still killed it for 30. That guy’s just amazing. Johnson’s limitations will be revealed as his minutes stack up, and foul prone-ness is going to be one of them…especially against strong scoring 3/4 guys (y’know, half the perimeter guys in the league). That slippery dish on the break to ZBo was exhibit number one that he knows his role-ride ’em ZBo.
Four: Welcome back Mike Conley. Such a floor general. 8 ast to 2 TO…nothing unusual. Excellent decisionmaking with the ball on the attack. Nothing unusual. Could the case be made that he’s the most important player on the team? Sure. It’d likely be met with spirited (and correct…maybe) resistance.
Five: I’m pretty sure that it was Sun Tzu, Lao Tzu, or a similarly wise historical figure who said “team who allow JR Smith to bring the ball up the court on purpose will be playing golf by April 20th”.
Six: Eighteen turnovers, many of which were of the “overly excited young player” variety….kinda like those two dozen or so shot clock errors. Sloppy play with the ball will get the Grizz in much more trouble against a better team…we’ve gotta hope they got it all out of their system at this matinee performance. On that note….finally a good day game from the nocturnal Grizzlies.
Seven: Well, well. Look at that. Randolph had 25 and 15 and the Grizzlies won. Had the Grizzlies not been able to follow the “GO TO THE #$%^&*@ PAINT” gameplan this day, any hope of ever doing so might have dissipated. Injuries have taken their toll on Tyson Chandler, who was once a favorite paint defender…but the Grizzlies put in 60 in the paint. With no Gasol.
Honorable mention: Jerryd Bayless with the 3-5 and 5-5 from the line. Not exactly breakout material, but anything is better than the bagels this guy’s been peddling.
Utah on Monday. Winnable under any circumstance. Come on Grizzlies.