Was it DA’s steal and dunk going into the half? Was it the charge Gasol took on OJ early in the third?
Tonight’s lucky seven things about the Grizzlies win won’t be so much about luck.
As it was once said by some guy who used to play for the Grizzlies, “you make your own luck”.
Here’s the rundown, with some choice locker room audio from our own Lee Smith….
Thing one: 26-51 to 62-55. WOW. Cliches do not emanate from some vacuum somewhere-this comeback was about energy, especially on defense. The 8 Mavs turnovers led to the massive momentum reversal going into halftime, and a new Grizzly (who seems like he shoulda been here for years), Tayshaun Prince, makes some very interesting remarks. Check out this clip:
Be sure to listen to the end to hear what he has to say about his playoff experience and how he’s meshed with the team’s longer-tenured players.
Thing two: Thank you, Austin Daye, for keeping the Grizzlies halfway in the game. He didn’t play nearly as big a role later in the game-in fact, he didn’t score another point after those initial ten-but those ten gave the Grizzlies a slim thread around which they could wrap their hands to keep them connected to the Mavericks.
Thing three: The big men. 22 and 10 for ZBo, 21 and 12 for Gasol. Randolph’s turnaround from the first half to the third quarter was a mirror of the whole team’s: better positioning on offense, heavier reliance on the things that work, and drastically better effort on the boards. Check out what ZBo says at the end of this clip about how he asked for (!!!) the chance to guard Dirk this night, and you’ll hear then and throughout the clip the consistency of his message about how he plays the game:
Thing four: FINALLY A DECENT NIGHT FROM THE LINE! 27 of 34, with three big makes from Gasol late in a tight fourth quarter. Nice to see a near-80% game, and extra nice to see 34 attempts. Again, Randolph and Gasol were the principal aggressors who got the Grizzlies to the stripe, with both big men getting double-digit attempts.
Thing five: I’m sure most of us are very interested, and maybe a little bit scared, to know what Hollins said to the team at halftime. I don’t know that the MPAA makes a rating strong enough to denote the blue streak that was likely turned loose in that locker room…but it worked, because the team trusts the coach. Can’t imagine that the word “extension” isn’t being spoken, and not just by Hollins’ agent-I’d imagine Levien has uttered it as well. Hollins’ remarks after the game say a lot about what he expects out of the team. Especially check out how excited he actually sounds, believe it or not, starting at about the 2:30 mark:
Thing six: Only 37.7% from the field, but 21 ast on 29 made FG’s. If one takes out that initial 9-36 from the floor, this turned into a pretty darned fair offensive game for the Grizzlies, with that first eight or so minutes of the third (Y’KNOW, THAT STRETCH WHERE THE GRIZZLIES SCORED A LOT AND THE MAVS SCORED ZILCH) being one of the better inside-and-outside stretches of any game for the team this season.
Thing seven: Momentum building. Entirely necessary going into Miami on Friday. Things like Arthur’s chasedown block on Collison, his steal and dunk to close the first half, ZBo’s and Gasol’s unrelenting physicality that finally goaded Brand into a tech, and closing out the game despite expending HUGE energy on the comeback only for Dallas to be within 80-78 with precious little time left are things that stay with a team. Mental strength and the ability to suffer physically are two attributes this team has in copious quantities, those attributes were on display tonight, and they’ll need to shine even more brightly on Friday.