They just couldn’t make it easy or calm, could they?
By the way, I’m talking about Robin Lopez and Anthony Davis. Knowing what we know now about Marc’s injury, it’s a bit less surprising that such an untested pair of bigs were able to completely, well, dominate what is widely considered a top-two-at-least 4/5 combos in the NBA.
The next night, the Grizzlies get a Grizzlies-style run happening over the second and third quarters…and it was a darned good thing, since the lead evaporated to two measly points.
Dichotomy. Such a grooooovy word. At what, exactly, was so dichotomous? Well, almost everything beyond “they were both NBA basketball games”. Let’s dig in a bit….with more great locker room audio from our own Lee Smith.Sharpest and widest portion of the dichotomy: you guessed it, rebounding. Minus sixteen at NOH, and plus seven against BOS. The positive margin against the Celtics was larger until that awful game-one-esque collapse in the fourth (sorry to mention that, but you know I’m right). In New Orleans, the worst of it was initial positioning-ZBo, Marc, and DA were just not their usual excellent selves in terms of what I’ll call “clang anticipation”-playing the angles so that athleticism plays less of a role. Davis has started to look much more of a #1 pick lately (and make no mistake-this guy is already fun to watch and will get MUCH better under Monty Williams’ tutelage), and it was interesting to see Lopez’ eyes light up as he discovered that he could score at will and get the ball off the glass. The Grizzlies’ starting 4/5 were -10 by themselves against Davis and Lopez.
It was likely a bit of “former team”-itis, but against the Celtics, Tony Allen took it upon himself to make sure that the Grizzlies were not outrebounded for a second straight game. Sure, the Celtics are 29th in team rebound percentage, but they were a needy team on a losing streak…but TA and the crew did not allow them to own the glass. Arthur’s game fitness is still coming along, as he only had one rebound after the first quarter, but we’ll let him slide due to the huge hook he hit in Q4.
Next most hugest aspect of the dichotomy (hey, it’s late): Jerryd Bayless. From a mild-mannered 5-12 (with an ugly -16 attached to it) to a POSITIVELY NUCLEAR 11-20 with 4-6 from three. Having someone go for 30 is rare for the Grizzlies, and we like it that way, don’t we? However…the Grizzlies needed every single one of those thirty. Check out what Bayless had to say after the game:
“Guy in the orange sweatshirt” who was talking smack to Bayless, thanks and we hope you enjoyed watching your Celtics lose.
Another facet of the game that went very differently against BOS than it went against NOH: Darrell Arthur, and just in the nick of time. As the first quarter unfolded (well, I suppose “unraveled” would be a better term), DA’s work on the boards in a spot start due to ZBo’s tardiness to shootaround was one of the things that allowed the Griz to come back from an early 12-2 deficit. His confidence shooting the ball also seemed much better, as his 8-14 shows. Beats the stew out of the 0-3 in his return at New Orleans. Here’s what DA had to say after the game about getting back in rhythm:
Along with the rebounding, balanced scoring (and plenty of it) was huge for the Grizzlies against the Celtics, as compared to a paltry 83 against the Hornicans. Seven, yes, seven players in double figures for the Grizzlies, with three double-doubles. Gotta think this is at least partly due to KG’s absence, but the Grizzlies clearly got into attack mode in the late first and early second quarters. Energy and effort, it’s as simple as that. The Griz have plenty of talent-but so does every other NBA team.
Get well soon Marc Gasol-allowing an opponent to shoot 51% is just not cool, and Big Spain is the heart of the Grizzlies’ interior defense. TA is the man on the perimeter, but Marc is the anchor. ZBo and DA looked limited/fatigued on D (check out what DA said about feeling laterally slow at the game’s outset in the audio above), and they’ll need a good day of rest tomorrow before the flight to DC.
It’s not that unusual for a playoff-level team to go through a heavy fatigue period just before the playoff energy boost comes around-the Grizzlies just must find a way to get past it before the second season kicks off.