Well, I suppose we all might have guessed how that would go. Over the years, the Griz have just had a tough, tough time with the Jazz.
A few things happened this game that were a bit surprising, and a few things happened this game that were about as surprising as the sun rising in the eastern sky.
Two short lists…
-Rudy Gay flat-out willed the Grizzlies back into the game in Q3. He’d obivously been given the business at halftime about how Gordon Hayward had taken his lunch money and was determined to get some back, and did so. Ten quick points. His play on offense paved the way for the great finish-with-contact by Conley to give the Griz a fleeting lead. Hayward is no slouch, but he’s not to Rudy’s level (yet maybe?), and it stood to reason that Gay should be able to shake him to get to the measly amount of open space he requires to get a quality shot up. Why was this surprising? I think we all half-expected to see Sulking Rudy in the second half after the frustrating first half he had on both ends of the floor.
-That no one besides Lionel got into it seriously with the officials. Several questionable no-calls benefited the Jazz, and Rudy and Marc, in particular, got HAMMERED a couple times with no whistle. The absence of ZBO is really hurting the Grizzlies in terms of getting to the line.
-Not exactly surprises:
-Rudy with ZERO free throws. Sorta annoying. Gotta make it happen.
-Dante Cunningham again played the part of the spring-loaded spider. He’s found a niche, but it was also rather unsurprising that he was abused in the post once again on D. He just doesn’t have the size to stop a guy like Millsap. Coach should find a way to get him more time on the perimeter (although his length does give him the ability to show well on p-n-r out high) so that he is not so exposed on D.
-Speights, back to the doldrums. Sure, his rebounding numbers looked good-but that’s ‘cuz he missed about 99 tip-ins on the first two possessions of the game. He needs to string together a few good scoring games to start paving his way for a contract this summer-once ZBo gets back, one has to think that he’ll be riding the pine a fair bit. He also gave up maybe the worst defensive play of the game-he fronted Millsap to prevent an entry pass from the strong-side wing. The ball was rotated out to the top of the key, and he did not immediately move around behind Millsap. Guess what, open lob for Millsap. Basically wrong defense.
A decent game to have been on national TV, but who cares. The Grizzlies lost, and they need to stop doing that with such alarming frequency if they expect to have a shot at getting back to the playoffs.