It is significantly more enjoyable to watch the Grizzlies and Warriors play and have it matter to both teams than it was two seasons ago when the Warriors were still growing. They have grown up, found an identity (not that running and scoring wasn’t always the identity, but now they’ve added a key element), and are learning to win.
The defense wasn’t the only thing that won the game for the Grizzlies, though….
…well, here it is, once again…27 assists on 40 made field goals, with Bayless and…RUDY GAY (??!!11?!) your assist leaders for the night with six each. Mike Conley did not have his smoothest offensive game, with 5 turnovers to only 4 assists (don’t recall that happening in quite a while) but did function well in his floor general role, directed the guys well and put them in spots to succeed one way or another.
Gasol, Randolph, Speights, and Arthur put a bruisin’ on the Warriors frontline, outrebounding the Dubs’ front four of Lee/Ezeli/Landry/Beans by five. Oh, and guess what the total rebounding margin for the game was? Why yes, it was 43-38. Coincidence? In my best George Tsokoulos voice….*MAYBE?*. Thirteen huge offensive rebounds went a long way towards the Grizzlies’ gaining 17 more field goal attempts, which was vitally important since the Grizzlies were actually outshot by a percentage point over the course of the game. The Grizzlies were outshot from three by the proverbial landslide, but those extra points did not surpass the extra-possessions offense that the Grizzlies executed by hitting the offensive boards and forcing GSW turnovers.
Player of the night? Zach Randolph, for taking it personally. He understood going in that David Lee has turned into an offensive monster, and made it his mission to outplay his Warriors counterpart. Lee had 14 and 10, but ZBo turned in a typically awesome 19 and 12, and he worked his head off for every point and every rebound. All the Grizzlies were surely worn out after such an effort, but I bet ZBo wakes up in the same position in which he went to sleep.
Speaking of being tired after the effort…yes, the Warriors’ running and gunning surely mounded fatigue on the heads and in the legs of the Grizzlies, but the real (and somewhat unusual) expenditure came from the Grizzlies running themselves. Gold star goes to Rudy Gay, who made maybe the best effort to get the ball up the court in a hurry after a defensive rebound that I’ve seen him make all year. One could tell it was conscious, and it was surely appreciated. Maybe he knew the boss was sitting courtside and wanted to show Levien and Pera that he wants to stay? I’d like to think that he did it just ‘cuz he knew how important it was going to be this night.
Then, there was Bayless’ block of Jarrett Jack in the very late moments of the game. Play of the game for sure. Led to a breakaway going the other way, and was a major factor in popping the Dubs’ momentum balloon.
A perfect west-coast road trip (although the Grizzlies did avoid those pesky LA-county-based teams) with three solid efforts. And gee, they scored over 90 points all three games! Woohoo! Less surprisingly, not one of the three opponents scored 90. Oh how we love our defensive Grizzlies.
Spurs on Friday…YET ANOTHER tough game. Get some rest Grizzlies.