Shut ’em DOWN.
That’s how it’s done.
This was, perhaps, the most unpretty Grizzlies win of the season, one during which there have been many Grizzlies wins that no one would exactly confuse with a Haleakala sunrise.
A lucky, lucky seven to come for this, the 37th Grizzlies win….
Thing one: Hubie, baby, you’re killin’ me! That was a goaltend! Sorry, had to say it.
Thing two: Defense in the face of an assault by Deron Williams, and then…uh…Mirza Teletovic? Whoever, it didn’t matter, once things got tighter than Stewart Copeland’s snare springs at the end of Q4, the Grizzlies held the Nets scoreless for almost three full minutes at the end of the game. When the other guys don’t score at all, you only have to score one. Sure, the Nets shot 43% from three, which is disconcerting-but the Grizzlies did what they have done in other games this season by letting the top dog (Deron in this case) do what he does and just make sure that some half-baked NBA player doesn’t wind up going off for like 30.
Thing three: Tayshaun Prince. Five points in the last couple of minutes and the HUGEST steal of the season in the last thirty seconds of the game, and he got the steal by working hard and knowing what was coming. He looked at what Deron was doing, saw what his man was trying to do, and knew where the ball was gonna be before it got there. YEAH. Could Rudy have made those baskets and that steal? Of course he could, we’ve seen him do such things more than once-but had he, much more would have been made of it because of…his name? I suppose. The question of proper fit is being answered with greater emphasis with each passing game.
Thing four: The rebounding problem (for this game, anyway). How is Reggie Evans, a guy who airballs free throws, such a Grizkiller? It’s not because the Grizzlies are skittish about where his hands might go if they get near him-it’s that he gets those zillion boards the same way ZBo does. Flat-out positioning. A completely useless offensive player who has carved himself a niche in the NBA based on basically one skill, and kudos to him for doing it. BUT I’M VERY SORRY REGGIE YOU DID NOT GET YOUR REVENGE FOR THE GRIZ “RUNNING UP THE SCORE” WHEN THEY RAN YOU OUT OF THE FEF.
Thing five: The Grizzlies had two lonely turnovers in the first half, and only 11 for the game. Sure, the Nets didn’t have that many more-but when you lose the battle of the boards like the Grizzlies did this game, generating possessions is crucial. BKN had 77 FGA, and the Grizzlies only 71. Luckily, the Grizzlies shot a better percentage, and the Nets pulled the old Grizzlies “hey let’s play like we can’t make free throws” trick. To win unpretty, a HIGH value has to be placed on every possession.
Thing six: Zach Randolph had eight points in the second quarter, and the Grizzlies were +8 for the quarter. Coincidence? Ab-so-stinkin-lutely. However, his “quiet” 16 and 14 was essential to the win, just like his play is essential every night. Gasol was solid also, with 14/7/5 with 6-11 from the field. Considering the low overall score, these two rocks won the Grizzlies another game.
Thing seven: That. Fourth. Quarter. Amazing defense down the stretch, and the Grizzlies outrebounded the Nets 11-7 in Q4. Doin’ it when it counts, and thrilling the fans along the way (ok, maybe just nuts like me-but if a great “pitchers’ duel” sort of game between two talented playoff teams doesn’t stoke your basketball fire, well, we might not be able to be basketball friends).
The Grizzlies could easily have been caught looking past these last two wins, even though the Nets are a for-sure playoff-level team in light of the two huge ones the Grizzlies have coming up.
Gotta keep stokin’ the fires down in the belly of the grind machine.