Well, well. That alarm that went off in ZBo’s head was LOUD, eh?
Of course, the Rockets, with one center to their name who actually plays, make for a great “revival opponent” for Gasol and ZBo.
But it wasn’t just the big men who made it happen…let’s count those seven savory bits comprising a seemingly-rare defeat of the Rockets…with some great sound provided by our own Lee Smith.
Thing one: I hope Tony Allen has some fun with all those lunch dollars he took from James Harden this night. Up in his face constantly, especially at the beginning of the game. Not letting Harden think he could go nuts from the outset was huge. Allen was able to play fairly freely, knowing that Marc was back there waiting to help off of…well, whoever was there. Which was no one a lot of the time, since “back to the basket” means “I’m gonna grab another hot wing out of that serving receptacle” to the Rockets.
JAMES HARDEN DID NOT ATTEMPT ONE FREE THROW.
Listen to the very end of what TA said after the game-this man says the things that a rookie or fringe player would say after a great game, but he’s neither of those-he is a player who understands his role and station within the team as well as any player in the league. And he loves where he is.
Thing two: Marc Gasol is a superhero. In his remarks after the game (see link below), he said he feels “100%”. Oh, sure. Right. Mmm, hmm.
Check out what Marc says at about 1:40 of the clip, in response to a reporter’s question about his abdominal injury:
It’s pretty obvious which player in the NBA should get to inherit the red “S” on the front of the jersey, isn’t it?
Thing three: Another double-digit assist game for Mike Conley. Again, the Rockets do present a good opportunity for the Grizzlies to establish their game (56 paint points!!), but if the Grizzlies aren’t assertive, and that starts with the PG, then there aren’t 18 assists on 24 made FG’s in the first half. Movement in between Conley and the basket was particularly good this night, as the Grizzlies knew that a misdirected step or a second screen could make a Rockets defender take one step away from the basket, leaving a space for a Grizzly to drive or shoot.
Thing four: Can we talk about how James Harden was colder than an ice cube on the dark side of the moon tonight? Ok, never mind.
Thing five: Another “yay Bayless!” game. With scorers like him, feast or famine will be a recurring theme…and a coach either lives with it or s/he doesn’t. It seems like he took a TON of shots, but he was one of five Grizzlies with either 11 or 12 shot attempts. Going forward, it’s going to become even more obvious that offensive balance on an average night is what will keep the Grizzlies alive during the second season. Out here in (in this case, “on”) the perimeter there are no stars…out here…whoops, was thinking about the Grizzlies being a “no big stars” team and got to thinking about Doors lyrics. Sorry.
Thing six: What did the other guys think? Check out this bit of audio with Kevin McHale after the game and count the number of times he says “they played hard” about the Grizzlies.
After that, count how many times he says “we made mistakes on defense”. Mike Conley, come on down. You have frustrated YET ANOTHER opposing coach!
Thing seven: Hollins and ZBo. Do they really get along? WHO CARES? They are grown men working together. I don’t care if they get together for a knitting bee or a game or two of air hockey in the offseason-they both know what works for this team and they’re trying to do it. ZBo took full advantage of the chance he had to regain his step, posting an impressive 21 and 12 in 34 minutes. Could he/should he have played more minutes? We’ll trust Lionel Hollins to make that decision-check out what Coach Hollins says about “managing minutes” in this audio clip from his postgame:
Particularly starting about the two-minute mark, he speaks on the subject of wearing down players, resting key guys, etc.
I’d be willing to bet that every starter was relieved, in an odd way, to hear that he’s gonna play ‘em ’til the wheels fall off. Hollins wants to win as badly as any of the players, to no one’s surprise.
Grizzlies fans, go have some fun and check out the ESPN shot chart for the game for James Harden….