Some wins are super mega awesome, then there are wins like this one.
The Clippers scored *two* points over the last four minutes of this game. This was not a fluke, this was not luck, this was not because of Bledsoe’s absence.
The Grizzlies won this game. Oh, let’s talk about it some more…tonight’s nothing-lucky-about-‘em seven things:
One: Mike Conley. Another double-digit assist game..with one itty-bitty lonely turnover. Against the best PG in the NBA. A fairly pedestrian shooting line, with 5-11 from the field and 2-6 from three-but the eleven assists? He’s elevating his game on a nightly basis, and it’s just darned fun to watch. His anticipation on D has reached telepathic leve…ok, wait, maybe not that good. But his lateral quickness and decisionmaking defending the pick and roll…wow.
Two: Tayshaun Prince is from the area, so it would make sense that he’d want to do well in front of whatever family and friends may have been in attendance-but he played like he’d caught the Clippers trying to sugar his gas tank or something. Double digits in the first quarter, and some great defense throughout, and only one foul. Made Matt Barnes super frustrated, which was perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the game for co-3SOB’er Josh and myself. Those two Go-Go-Gadget-arm dunks were so pleasantly out of character that I almost woke up the 4 y.o. little guy sleeping upstairs by cheering at the TV.
Three: Marc Gasol. Wow. A great scoring game, as he is able to put it in the bucket no matter the opposition. Deandre Jordan, Ronny Turiaf, Lamar Odom, Fake Griffin, whoever. 10 for 14? Really? With five steals? Boy, that slumping-offense version of Gasol from earlier in the season is a pleasantly near-nonexistent memory now.
Four: Jamal Crawford, 1-10. Thanks Tony Allen, and the others who took a shift guarding him. It’s unusual for the Grizzlies to play the Clippers and have Crawford be pretty much invisible except for his bricklaying. His 0-4 from three was perhaps the biggest defensive key of the game-contesting, and flat-out not letting him take the shots.
Five: Quincy Pondexter. No, he’ll not likely be considered a viable mayoral candidate anytime soon-but “the new Shane” is not such a far-fetched concept, now is it? 3-3 from 3, with a couple of the shots fairly well contested. Pete Pranica mentioned on the broadcast that Q’s grandmother was watching her first live NBA game this night, and we can only guess that he still feared Grandma’s admonishment were he to offer a subpar performance. Also, why he got that tech, I’ve no idea.
Six: The Grizzlies shot 54%, the Clippers only 43%, and this after the Clippers ended the first half shooting 51%. The Grizzlies did it from two points ahead this time, but they came out and AGAIN put the clamps on in the second half. Second and third rotations were abundant, the effort was there, and did I mention that the Clippers scored two points in the last four minutes of the game? The Grizzlies’ bench only scored 20, but the Clippers’ bench only had 11. The fact that the starters for both teams did the majority of the work shows how much importance both teams placed on the game. And the Grizzlies were the better team this night.
Seven: Nah, can’t use the word “statement game”. It was a double-digit win, at the Staples Center, second night of a B2B…well, maybe we can. Unfortunately, the statement really is “well you won’t sweep us in the regular season this year”, since the Clippers flat-out wasted the Griz at the Forum a while back and beat the Grizzlies in the season opener. The Grizzlies are on the rise….but they’ll have to be careful not to hit their heads on Faried’s elbows on Friday.
This bears repeating once again…I think we’re all coming into agreement that Levien and Pera knew what they were doing making Gasol and Conley the “chosen ones” for the dinner in SF early in the season, eh?