Easy to trace this one. The Ed Davis block of Hickson’s dunk attempt, followed by Conley’s two free throws. That’s not all it was, but that sequence opened the door.
Much like the Dallas comeback, this one seemed oh-so-improbable, were one to look at the lethargic performance during the first half and the first few minutes of the third quarter.
Seven things? Sure…and it’s starting to look less and less like luck has anything to do with these Grizzlies wins…along with, of course, some great locker room audio from our man on the scene Lee Smith.
First-without two of the Grizzlies’ top three big men? Really? Ok, it’s not as if the Grizzlies were playing against Griffin and Jordan, or Duncan and (fill in any player here), or my favorite young tandem in the NBA, Monroe and Drummond…but they did it against a team who played hard. Hickson is playing a bit above what he might do on a better team and playing for a contract, and Leonard is a tough, talented young big man. And also, Lamarcus, who just might be a starter on a Grizkiller team going on his past performances. How’d the Grizzlies do it? Marc Gasol played like he was two men, going for 23/12/3 with a block,and Ed Davis was the pogostick we’ve grown accustomed to him being. Also of note was Tayshaun Prince’s defense at the 4 position during Q4 guarding Hickson, a man to whom Prince gives up a, well, sizable amount of body mass.
Second-Wroten, Bayless, Prince, Pondexter, Davis. Not exactly a fivesome that would excite the casual NBA fan, or heck, maybe even a few fringe-ish Grizzlies fans. I’m gonna go ahead and say this…Hollins’ ability to get a rather anonymous lineup to perform like this sorta reminds me of a team that plays its home games near the Alamo. High praise for the coach and the system, and it cases like this, it’s deserved. Take a listen to what Coach Hollins had to say after the game:
Third: Jerryd Bayless proved his worth. Did he give it a little something extra, as he used to be a Blazer? Who knows, but it seemed like he took his defense against Lillard personally, and his string of ten points over a five-minute stretch in the fourth was one of the key sequences of the game offensively.
Fourth: I dare ya to find a player who is more willing to give up every calorie of energy in his body at the end of a close game than Tony Allen. Name anyone you want…KB, LBJ, whoever. They traded Rudy to make sure they could give this man what he’ll want and deserve. Everyone ok with it now? He gives up darn near half a foot to Batum, and shut the guy down at the end of the game.
Fifth: The non-shrinking-violet Mike Conley of the second half. As he told Fischer on TV after the game, he knew he and Marc had to get it done offensively..and they did so. A couple key steals, and a couple major FT’s, and a necessarily quick trigger on a few occasions in the second half.
Sixth: FREE THROWS. Sure, the Grizz made the last six to ensure the win-but the fellas gotta get back in the groove from the line before the playoffs arrive. This is like a broken record, I know-but it’s just vital when the game slows down in the postseason to be able to hit the freebies.
Seventh: Even without ZBo, the Grizzlies rebounded about a third of their own misses. Nothing wrong with that.
Als0-here’s an update on DA’s condition, straight from DA speaking to our own Lee Smith:
Get well soon DA, the team will really need you and ZBo for an excruciating road four-in-five out west next week…