Good grief. Holy mackerel. That took an ETERNITY. And as long as it seems to us, just imagine how it felt to the team.
Sure, it wasn’t just about the Grizzlies-it’s never just about one team in a two-team game-but this was a solid, solid win for the Griz.
What the other team did, or did not do, was to play Javale McGee. Yes, I hate it for him that he had the flu-wouldn’t wish the flu on my worst enemy-but if one might recall, the game the Griz lost to the Wizards in DC was lost on the inside…and guess what, this one was won there. This shows a rather nice jumble of blue dots in the lane, and that is how the Griz did it. Sixty-eight points in the paint. Yowie.
There were, however, some other, shall we say, active elements to this game….
-Who’d a thunk that Mike Conley, Mr. Shrinking Violet and Mr. Megaspotty Shooter of Late, would win the battle of the PG’s against one of the most-hyped PG’s in the whole NBA? Well, he did. Conley with 12 assists and one lonely TO, Wall with a respectable eight assists, but fivecostly TO’s.Moreover,Conley won the on-court-confidence battle bythe proverbial country mile. Yes, Wall played seven fewer minutes, at least in part due to foul trouble trying to keep the Griz from scoring even more in the paint-but his movements on the court never really showed his lightning speed to its full effect, and the Wiz’ offense looked hesitant and out-of-sync much of the time. Initiating the offense was a high hurdle for the Wizards the whole game..of course, with Andray Blatche and Al Thornton getting meaningful minutes on your team, that sort of thing is wont to happen. “Initiate” means “shoot” for those guys (yes, I realize that Thornton went 5-8, with only 8 shots in 27 mins-but his rep is still valid and earned). At least some of the reason that both Wall and Nick Young had a tough time this game…
-that’s right, Mr. Tony Allen. Once again, the Energizer Bunny comes through and plays a huge role in a Griz win. Why this guy doesn’t get 34 minutes every night is just flat-out beyond me. Yes, sure, 6-8 is not exactly commonplace for the guy, but it’s not out of the question, now that he seems able to make the layups he creates for himself on steals and leakouts. This guy will guard anybody, and can very effectively guard 1/2/3’s. That’s an “asset” in any GM’s language.
-Number. Double. Zero. Yes, the amount of scoring he did was an anomaly-but there’s something that’s been happening with DA over the last ten games or so, and a thing about which I’m rather elated: he’s gotten over his allergy to paint. The very interesting, thing, though, is something that has happened concomitantly (hope that’s not a misuse, I’m playing in dangerously multisyllabic territory there)-his knowledge of how to read the other team’s D on a pick and roll in which he’s involved has increased DRAMATICALLY. His head-swivel device has been tuned up and lubed, and his ability to hit that elbow pick-and-pop has been nicely balanced by some very nice use of his ample athletic ability to get some putbacks and some highlight-reel-worthy dunkage.
-free throws. 19-23. Way to go Grizz. Simple but oh-so-important.
-Zach Randolph with 24 and 20. In other news, sun expected to rise in eastern sky.
-No Rudy to speak of, and no OJ in the building, and the Griz still manage to get a solid, almost wire-to-wire win over a team they were “supposed” to defeat. Just got the lead and didn’t let ’em get too close. Rudy had a frustratingly horrible night. Not his first, won’t be his last. Fouls, turnovers, 2-11. Next game against the Magic, I’ll be looking for him to go very, very large. Don’t be surprised.
Ok Grizzlies. I’ll be in the building tomorrow night for the first time in a month (thanks very much, harrowing job schedule). Let’s get above .500.
As Vince Lombardi used to say (and Lionel Hollins should be saying): “gentlemen, today we start the big push”.