Don’t these guys know that my systolic number is higher than I’d like as it is without them making every stinkin’ game so close?
Keep it up Grizzlies, I’ll just cut back on the salt.
Not every Grizzly had a perfect game, but that’s ok. Is it truly “one team one goal”? Seems so after a game like this one.
So how’d they do it? They Gasol’d it and they Conley’d it, and in the fourth quarter (in my woefully inadequate Rick Trotter voice)..they “O-O-OJ MAYOOOOO”‘-d it.
Gasol. This guy is the Atlas of the Grizzlies, and he loves being that. It’s not about ego, either-he knows that the harder he works (this night, to the tune of 22/12/7), the better chance the Griz have to win. No point discussing what this cat does anymore-if you’ve seen him once, you’ve seen him a hundred times…and that statement could not be a bigger compliment. Every game, he’ll have one of those giant one-armed rebounds (check), he’ll have an and-one (check), and he’ll miss a free throw or two (excused). Spotting up, his shot was deadly as always…10-14 is pretty much deadly from everywhere.
Free throws. 15-17 will get it done, and thank you to Jason Smith for the lane violation in the final stretch of Q4.
Rebounding. Another game without ZBo, and another game with a positive rebound differential for the Griz. Not that the Hornets bring a D12-type player to the table, but they do have competent rebounders. Every Griz player who touched the floor got at least one, and the team grabbed twelve offensive boards-and in a game that turned out to be this close, the team that gets extra possessions wins.
Turnovers at the worst possible time…or do the turnovers make it the worst possible time? Chicken, egg, who cares. Just take care of the ball. Offensive fouls must be responsible for a lot of Prevacid sales to coaching staffs, and Tony Allen and Quincy Pondexter both had one at particularly inopportune times this game. When your PG has 10 assists and only 2 turns, that’s great-it means that your principal ballhandler isn’t making a habit of giving away the ball-but Rudy Gay, in particular, had a tough time keeping the ball in the hands of the Griz this game. Rudy with 4 TO, Ariza with 4 steals. Coincidence, yes, but an odd one nonetheless.
Un-contender-esque lapses of concentration and execution on offense. Failing to score late in the fourth (Griz gave up an 8-0 run after going up 87-75 on a second consecutive OJ three) just won’t do it. As with turnovers, it’s easy for pass, pass, dribble, look at shot clock, freak out, chuck ball possessions to snowball and stack on top of one another. Not having ZBo hurts here, just like it hurts everywhere else-the ol’ turn-4 is a nice fallback to have when the jumpers stop falling, but the Grizzlies have gotten it done for the most part in his absence. The team, especially the new players who are in the rotation (Quincy and Selby principally) need to learn more about where their teammates will be to receive a pass should they get in a jam.
Once again allowing a mediocre player like Jarrett Jack to look like a Hall-of-Fame scorer. Gotta lean some of it on Conley, although his stat line (18 and 10 ast with only 2TO) might explain it-he just needed to exert more of his available energy on offense. Looks like a smart decision now, but as the minutes pile up, even for a young guy like Conley, it’s going to get tougher, especially against big scoring guards.
YET ANOTHER double-digit lead basically blown, this one worse than some of the others, since NOH got within two measly points at 87-85. The not-so-ugly? It’s becoming obvious that the Grizzlies can play with some poise in these situations (getting decent shots, hitting FT’s, and not committing dumb fouls, only normal-flow hustle fouls). However, if you don’t let the lead melt in the first place, that extra bit of poise can stay banked for the next tough one.
Four in a row, with two very winnable games coming up next. 9-6? It can be done.