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Well, well. Two HUUUUGE missed FT’s, then a HUUUUGE jumper in OT…and that’s not even counting the LEGIT block he had a moment earlier.

Really, really wish I’d been able  to attend this one…that “having to earn a living” thing got in the way.

How’d the Grizzlies pull this one out? Several factors after the jump, with some great audio from 3Shades’ Lee Eric Smith from the locker room…

Tony Allen. What a way to spend a birthday (Happy Birthday Grindfather!!).

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Best thing about TA’s postgame remarks? Count how many times he uses the word “defense” and how many times he uses the word “playoffs”. There’s a ring in his jewelry collection..the acquisition of which went a long way toward teaching him what it takes to make it a long way in the postseason. TA has corralled himself very well on offense over the last several games…and not coincidentally, the Grizzlies have won 4 of 5. 5-7 from the field is absolutely optimal for a player with a role like Allen’s-he doesn’t stand in the way, is making smart cuts, and isn’t getting caught with the ball out on the perimeter after his man has left him to double one of the more threatening Grizzlies. Three steals, ho-hum. Best bench cheerleader in the NBA (although tonight he played an uncharacteristically high 39 minutes), and urges on the crowd better than any mascot ever dreamed of doing.

Scapegoat to hero. “TRADE THAT CHUMP” to “YAY RUDY” in the space of five game minutes or so. Ah, the NBA rollercoaster. Come on, February 21. Let’s see what happens. Y’know, guys, playoff TV and ticket revenue might help…back  to Rudy. 23 on 20 shots-not the most efficient game in history, but perfectly tolerable-especially when one considers how he scored them. Check out his shot chart -he hit a three, a couple flushes, some standard lane-floater Rudy Gay specials. A nice balance. Also, a HUGE block (and, yes, Spurs fans, that was a legit block-hard to argue with everybody’s favorite ref, Dan Crawford) to force a jump ball in OT. See what Rudy had to say afterward:

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MUST. NOT. IGNORE. DARRELL. ARTHUR. Who else thinks this was as close as we’ve seen DA get to 2011 playoff form? I will surely raise my hand. Great defense, and if the phrase “clutch” can be applied to a jump ball, the jump ball in OT deserves it. Total playoff style, up against one of the best players in history, and he won it. Don’t tell me about TD’s knee, either-that guy would have given his best on that jump ball if he had been MISSING a knee.[soundcloud id=’74600042′]

DA just sounds like yet another Larry Lunchpail Grizzlies player. Nothing glamourous, nothing too flashy (but that dunk was just a tad inherently flashy, wasn’t it??), just playing. Absolutely love Darrell’s use of the phrase “play to our/my principles”. These guys believe in the coaching staff, and that counts a ton, particularly for a guy like DA who will be largely guided by coaching and rotation patterns to help him define his role.

This was not a “well everything went just right for the Grizzlies so they were able to win” game-Tony Parker made sure it wasn’t like that with that miracle 3 at the end of Q4. The Grizzlies were not able to get a “coast” mentality going into the fourth, as they went right at six minutes without a field goal in a stretch spanning the third and  fourth quarters. Continued effort under the pressure of the only team ahead of the Griz in the Southwest Division.

Win of the year? Hard to beat the Heat/Thunder/Knicks run in November, but this game was huge. Will the guys be able to get enough rest to pull out another one in Dallas?



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