Can’t say I’ve ever seen a Grizzlies team playing with more of a winning mindset.
There were many things to like about this game from the Griz’ perspective, and a couple of items of concern…Great:
-Marc Gasol only had to play 32 minutes, Conley 34, and Rudy 39. Not all that common that none of those three go over 40, and it was a welcome sight with a still-brutal remainder of March awaiting the team.
-Rudy Gay again with another 20/10. So nice to see, and while he perhaps stretched it a bit thin on the threes in Q4, he was in large part responsible for the separation the Griz gained over a stretch between the third and fourth quarters. He’s finally getting out of his own head, and we’re now starting to see that Rudy can be the man.
-Mike Conley with 12 assists and only two TO’s. Spectacular. His placement of the offense in the first quarter was most of the reason that the Griz shot over 80 (!) percent over that 12 minutes, and was most of the reason that every single Griz FG was assisted. Sure, he only went 1-5, but so what. He was the orchestrator. He also had two big steals. Also, fire is hot.
-The Griz had their transition game workin’ hard. According to Synergy Sports, a whopping 24% of the Griz’ possessions were executed as transition breaks, and their points per possession was a very nice 1.54. Defense leading to offense is one cliche that the Grizzlies are executing well during this winning streak.
-Pondexter. More nice hustle, and it’s nice that when Dante doesn’t have maybe his greatest game, that the Griz’ other principal bench wing player can come up with a nice game, going 2/3 on threes and playing a steady game.
-Nate Robinson got REALLY frustrated, and that’s entertaining. The W’s just didn’t know what hit them when the Griz turned it up in the second half, and it’s nice to see that even when teams expect the Griz to play well and be stingy on D, they get a bit bewildered when it goes up another notch.
-Mayo’s still-present penchant for turning the ball over while playing his limited minutes at PG. It could perhaps be said that his TO’s in the fourth were mostly committed when the game had been all but decided, but his handle in the pick-and-roll needs to improve for the Griz to be able to count more heavily on them due to Selby’s and Pargo’s presence near the back of Hollins’ doghouse.
-Don’t take the bait, and by this I refer to the chippiness that went down as the Griz gained separation. No one can blame the Warriors for getting frustrated as the Griz pulled away, but the foul on Speights by Nate was not cool, and OJ’s response wasn’t either. The Griz are a mentally “together” team for sure, but as the season gets more heated and playoff positioning and presence becomes even more important, level heads must prevail whenever possible.
Another great win for the Griz, now 8 games over .500.
Keep it going Grizzlies.