The Grizzlies are looking like a different team in only two games under Lionel Hollins’ reign as permanent Head Coach. Unfortunately the different team’s results are looking eerily similiar to Iavaroni’s results in the standings. After staging a furious last second comeback to force overtime in Oklahoma City the Grizzlies failure to score in OT ultimately led to their 11th consecutive defeat.
Defeat wasn’t in question with less than4 minutes to play as Oklahoma City had a solid 10 pt lead (98-88) and looked to cruise to theirfirst .500 or better month of the season.However the Grizzlies refused to quit and started a furious comeback on the back of their young stars O J Mayo and Rudy Gay. Mayo started the charge sinking 6 consecutive free throw attempts to make the score98-94. Then Rudy Gay stepped up. First he hit Marc Gasol for a layup (Rudy’s only assist of the game) and, after an Arthur rebound led to a breakaway by Mike Conley, Rudy grabbed an errant Conley 3pt shot right before the buzzerand put it in to make the score 100each and send the the gameinto OT.
In OTMemphis got the opening tip and Rudy Gay scored his 25th and final points on an unassisted layup. From that point on there wasan apparent lid on the basket asOklahoma City ran away scoring the final 14 points of the game.
This game was another example of the players failing to trust the things that got them into position to win in the first place.Plays broke down into one on one offensive sets andplayersgambled on defense tomake the big playleading to open looks andlayups. It was a sign of youth. Hollins is going to have his hands full breaking the team of this habit of going one onone in crunch time.
Positive notes were the play of Rudy Gay who was aggressive all night and led the team in scoring on 11-23 shooting from the field while also grabbing 8 rebounds, 2 steals and a block. Mike Conley was solid again scoring 15 points and dishing out 9 assistsand 5 rebounds. O J Mayo striggled with his shot (4-15) but was perfect from the line to finsih with 17 points. Mayo really woke up once Desmond Mason had to leave the game with an apparent knee injury. Marc Gasol rebounded from the Nuggets game where he was held scoreless to pump in 15 pts, grab 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists.
The shocking statistic of the evening had to be Rudy’s 23 FG attempts without getting to the line once. That was incredible since he was clobbered numerous times. Rudy needs to continue to be aggressive and not settle for jump shots so much but the refs also need to give Rudy the respect he deserves when he does go to the hoop.
Memphis started the game looking like a team that wanted to end their losing streak early. The Grizzlies were red hot hitting 75% of their first quarter FG attempts and scoring 37 points. Unfortunately the hot streak didn’t last as the Grizzlies could only manage only 34 points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters combined.
Memphis has a couple of days off now to digest Hollins’ new style and to get some rest before Pau Gasol and the Lakers return on Saturday night. The game is expected to be a near sell-out. Tickets can only be purchased for this game by buying one of the packages the Grizzlies have for sale. Call 901- 888-HOOP for information on tickets.