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Saw this one comin’ a mile away.

Were I not so dead-dog tired, I’d go find a picture of Admiral Ackbar for this one for sure….IT’S A TRAP!!

This was about as close to playing the role of Goliath that the Grizzlies are likely to come for a while, even though they are a top-tier team on a lot of measures.

Yonder comes YET ANOTHER lucky seven things about this Grizzlies victory…along with more groovy locker room audio from 3SOB’s Lee Smith.

Thing one: The Grizzlies were lucky to win this game. Yep, said it. Yep, mean it. “Nothing to lose” falls WAY short of describing  how the Magic came into this contest. The unity and sense of necessity and urgency that seven guys feel bearing the whole performance burden of the team makes a team behave like…the Magic did tonight. Nonchalance and a lack of focus on the offensive end (and on D-more on that in a moment) almost cost the home team the game.

Thing two: That cut down the lane for TA isn’t random. That’s a play, and it works. In only a few short years, Hollins has come all the way from benching TA for playing outside the box on offense to calling plays for him. I’m personally wowed by this.  With each passing game it becomes more apparent that TA misses Rudy about as much as he digs Benihana…and that is a lot. Some typically TA comments after the game-especially check  out what he says about what Hollins said to the team right at the beginning of the clip:

[soundcloud id=’80444840′]

Thing three: The defense. Sure, eight steals, held the Magic under 42%, blahblahblah….but anytime you can say “man, we just didn’t really have an answer for Maurice Harkless”, you had a problem. Now Harkless is a valid NBA player with a VERY solid future-but he’s a rookie, and this night, he was surrounded by several guys who were lesser threats. The smallish lineups the Magic were forced to play due to roster circumstances played a role for sure-ZBo cannot be expected to keep up with Harkless on the baseline-but focus and intensity, not running at idle speed, has to become the norm EVERY TIME OUT as the playoffs approach.

Thing four: Marc Gasol played the role of the quiet leader tonight. 19 and 13 with 4 ast and ZERO TO’s on 8-11 shooting. If ever there was a game that presented the opportunity to be a confidence-builder for Marc, this was it, and he took full advantage. Vucevic is another Magic player who will be in the NBA for a long time, but he just isn’t ready to stay with Gasol (to Vuc’s credit, no one really is, are they?).

Thing five: It’s just too darned early to take the foot off the gas for what the Grizzlies might think will be “easy” games. Last season and the season before, we’ve seen it-a close win at Charlotte, a late-season loss or two to lesser team “x”, etc. Focus is essential, and it’s gotta be all thirteen guys (welcome, Dexter-hope to see you on court soon big man!). Check out what Hollins says about :45 into this clip…”we did enough to win”. That statement tells the story, and were I a betting man, I’d bet Lionel doesn’t like just “doing enough to win”:[soundcloud id=’80444717′]

Thing six: ZBo with 16 and 14. Huh. How strange…a double double with both figures in the teens? Wow, he never does that.

Thing seven: Keep the streak. Sunday presents a very tough game, got the Mavs at home comin’ up, Miami on the road coming close after that…it ain’t gonna get any easier. The Grizzlies need to sharpen up from the line, keep  moving the ball (yet another nice game with 24 ast on 34 made FG’s-don’t let the door hit you Rudy), and continue being one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. That is what will keep the Grizzlies hard at work in May…or June?

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2 Responses to Cornered Animals Are Dangerous: Grizzlies 88, Magic 82

  1. chriskf1No Gravatar says:

    Matt, I’m with you on the trap-game but no analysis of this game is complete without a discussion of FTs. As scrappy as ORL was, if the Griz shoot their average from the FT line, the score’s more like 95-82 and we’re probably not having a conversation about effort or doing “just enough.”

    I am painfully aware that the Griz FT average for the year is probably no longer viable every time I watch Ed Davis’ shooting motion. But to have 5 of the 8 guys who went to the line shoot 50% or worse (not counting Z-Bo at a whopping 57%)? Damn!

  2. HPTMattNo Gravatar says:

    yeah, the FT issue is not good lately, and it’s coming at a bad time. The Grizzlies will need for FT’s to become MORE automatic as the season drags on….

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