THAT MISSED BACKCOURT VIOLATION ON THE BULLS DURING THE OT WAS THE WORST MISSED CALL I’VE SEEN IN ALL THE THOUSANDS OF NBA GAMES I’VE WATCHED IN MY FORTY-THREE YEARS OF LIFE.
Ok, now to the game.
Three Shades’ co-founder Red Coleman and I were talking over Twitter during this game…he was good-naturedly ribbing me about how much we all know I LOOOOOVE games like this one. Fratello ball all day baby. If you don’t let the other team score EVER, you only have to score once.
You know who else I bet loves games like this one? A man named Lionel.
As well as a guy named me.
How did I love this game? Let me count the ways….
Way one: Tony Allen. Defense, sure. But how he has changed his offensive approach over the last stretch of games is very worth noting. Is it better position and sealing angles by the bigs to receive the pass/clear the driving lane, or is it smarter driving by TA? Both. TA’s defense is almost never in question, but he’s gone through stretches in his Grizzlies career in which he’s spent more time out of the figurative offensive box than in it. Right now, not so much. Slashing works pretty well for him, shooting does not-and in this game like several other recent ones, he thankfully is choosing the former. 3-6 for nine points with six boards and some great D as always. Another nice contribution from Tony.
Way two: The Griz kept the Bulls under 37% for the game. Having a guy like Nate Robinson playing for the Bulls helps out in that regard(thanks for the 5-15, Nate!), but running the Bulls off their spots and helping each other to the extreme is how the Grizzlies did *just enough* to win the night.
Way three: More nice, confident play from Conley. 13 points and a 3:1 ast/TO ratio. Like Allen’s line, this pretty much sums up a good Conley game. Precision on his passes, and composure under pressure, as the Bulls were not shy about picking him up out very high. Like many of the Grizzlies, he was fouled more times than were whistled this game, but he did not let the adversity get to him in the “bad shrinking violet Conley” kind of way. Speaking of overcoming adversity…
Way four: Zach Randolph, walking wounded, with almost twenty darned rebounds. That’s a man who wants and loves to win, and tonight was exemplary of that. It was apparent that even ZBo’s usually-limited jumping ability was curtailed by the lower back strain, but he kept at it like he does, and pulled down nine offensive boards, each of which seemed to come at a pivotal moment. Two big missed FT’s, and his “jumper” was off-but he did what he had to do under the goal, and that’s what the team needed.
Way five: Rudy Gay with the HUUUUUGE block on Nate Robinson, after a major choke-job turnover. Marc Gasol with four points and three rebounds in OT after two huge FT misses. ZBo playing through pain and not letting his three missed FT’s in OT rattle him too much on the other end. Just. Find. A. Way. To. Win. And that’s what they did.
Well, Monday brings another opportunity for the over/under on an NBA game to barely break triple digits. What will happen? Aside from the game, of course, the Grizzlies organization will do another awesome job honoring one of the most important and (rightly, I might add) respected figures in American history. The Pacers are comin’ to town, and don’t look for shooting percentages to be high….I am pleasantly anticipating another beautifully unattractive NBA game. Do it right, Grizzlies.