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Well, this one did less to inflate the systolic number of the average Grizzlies fan than the Mavs or Blazers comeback wins, but it was yet another game in which it took some time for the team to find a groove and start steppin’ in it.

Well, it’s getting to be a familiar-if-constantly-disquieting tune, this comeback song.

Oh, there were seven likable and/or interesting things the Grizzlies did this night…but perhaps the most important statement of the night was…

“NO SIR! I’M FIRST TEAM ALL DEFENSE”. Stated by the Grindfather, of course, in the game’s waning moments.

Thing one: Bayless. Second game in a row he’s gone for double digits in the fourth to help cement a comeback victory. He’s 4 of 8 from three over the last two games, with his three to make it 91-84 against the Cavs being the game-changing shot of the night.  Whatever happened to the Grizzlies at halftime (I’m glad my eardrums weren’t in there to be assaulted by it), it obviously helped Bayless’ shot start finding the rim. Speaking of after halftime…

Thing two: …for the second game in a row, the Grizzlies won the third quarter by double digits. Hallmark of an elite team, or hallmark of dudes with Hollins’ footprints on the collective posterior coming out of the halftime break? Right, the first thing follows from the second. This team trusts Hollins, and boy does that count. They even trust Hollins when he…

Thing three: …goes so small as to have John Leuer playing center. An odd stretch, and one where the Griz actually went +2 with a lineup of Wroten/Bayless/Pondexter/Daye/Leuer. That is some small ball. It wasn’t just a 30-second stint, either. Hope you enjoyed it if you were diggin’ it, ‘cuz it’s not likely that a game situation would call for that again, especially after the team’s PF corps is back healthy.

Thing four: Marc. Freakin’. Gasol. This guy. If Gasol the Younger can get a ring or two out of the deal, it will be a real debate as to which brother had the better NBA career. Another 20+ point night when he knew the team needed it with ZBo out, and more yeoman’s work on the defensive end. Might have rather he took it to the hoop a bit more, since he was going against guys who mostly had not one prayer of stopping him, but keeping the elbow jumper sharp will be of great help when Randolph returns. As Bayless was huge in the fourth, Gasol helped carry the team in the third, going 5-6 for ten points. A couple boards and a couple blocks to boot.

Thing five: Conley’s quietly great game. Yes, Kyrie went off, but Conley only guarded him some of the time…and also, Kyrie Irving could probably light up The Glove if a time machine were available.  Eleven assists against only three turnovers, to go with five huge steals. Oh, also seventeen points. Conley continues to prove that he must now be considered a value for his contract. He was a major part of what was likely my favorite stat of the game…

Thing six: …you guessed it, 30 assists on 45 made FG’s. Yep, that’s a constant favorite ’round these parts, and for good reason-for many, many years (lemme see, seems like it started around the time we traded Shane for a draft pick. Say, who’d we take with that pick?), the Grizzlies have not exactly been the Globetrotters when it comes to ball movement and passes leading to buckets. Now, with men like Marc Gasol and Tayshaun Prince facilitating like madmen, the % of field goals assisted has risen nicely.

Thing seven: Get some rest, Grizzlies. Home game against NOH on Saturday, then the “looming” (Bayless’ term in the TV interview after the win) road trip. Four in five against dangerous teams. Could homecourt ride on that road trip?

Stats from  NBA.com, ESPN.com/nba, and popcornmachine.net

 

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