Don’t worry, I will not forget-SORRY KYLE, YOU LOSE AGAIN. Kyle Lowry was once again unable to defeat the Grizzlies, which seems to be his life focus. They traded you, Kyle, and you’ve done fine-move on with your life man.
In other less important Rockets news, Chandler Parsons looks like a guy who has been lost on Phish tour for a year or three. Darned talented and energetic player, though. Just gotta learn to direct and control it a bit better.
Ok, so, the game. The Grizzlies won. How?-The Griz EXPLODED for 48% shooting on the game (sarcasm there, if you didn’t notice it). Wow. Speights and Gasol missed four shots between them, and took 15 total. I’ll take 11-15 every night. Speights was hot to start the game, and that bought him some time, as he wound up with 30 minutes played-so the mini-soap opera of Marreese and his minutes. He’s just up and down, and it seems as though it’s gonna be that way. Very nice to see Gasol get the ball to go in the hoop, although it’s still apparent that he needs his post companion back sooner than later. Come on ZBo, soon as you can my man. A player with less pure drive than Gasol would be going through the motions out there-but Gasol’s willingness to battle inside with Scola and Dalembert to get himself a 7-9 game was testament to his love of playing. Over 50% for Gay (although the 4-pt second half was an unwelcome occurrence) was a great sight to see-with his 16 in the first half, it seemed a possibility that we’d finally get that 35-pt explosion we need from him, but it was not to be.
-I think we can all say that Tony Allen is back to full speed, a minor right hand/finger tweak notwithstanding. 32 excellent minutes, no awful decisions on the break, and some of the most KILLA defense on Kid ‘n’ Play that I’ve seen in a long time. NO made FG’s, ZERO trips to the FT line. Swarmin’ and hawkin’. For Allen, four steals, no missed FT’s, and four wisely-utilized fouls. Of all the times that we’ve seen Kevin Martin eat up a Grizzlies defense (with such illustrious names as Quinton Ross and Greg Buckner among those Grizzlies he’s torched), it was nice to see him go for zilch.
-Whoda thunk it, the Grizzlies win a game with timely three-point shooting? Really? The one O-O-OJ MAYOOOO hit to make it 75-66 and the one Conley hit to make it 87-79 after an 8-0 Rockets run were two of the largest threes in recent memory for the Griz. Those threes, though, were more than just shots-what they did was serve to build the Griz’ confidence that they can keep a scrappy team at arm’s length in a close, cruical game. Dante Cunningham’s work on the boards in crunch time cannot be overlooked, either-and those things are what the Griz must do more consistently to hold on in close games.
-Smart rotations and minute management by the coaches. Again, no Grizzly over 40 minutes-and with an east-coast B2B on the docket, it’s a good thing. Very strange lineup to open Q4-Gay and Cunningham at 4 and 5, but it worked OK-Patrick Patterson was the largest Rocket on the floor by far. Stealing minutes for Marc Gasol is crucial, and that very small lineup got the job done for that brief stretch. Taking Gay out early in the first did more than just help him rest-it guaranteed that he’d get to see some second-line Rox players when he came back into the game, and it happened just the right way (although it can’t be discounted that Courtney Lee scored plenty of points against Rudy, even as the Griz went to Rudy in the post OVER and OVER).
A good win against a vindictive opposing PG heck-bent on getting yet more revenge on the organization that traded him (for nothing, as it turned out) and a scrappy-verging-on-dirty team surrounding him.
And no one took a sneaker to the face.