Whoof. That one stings, maybe even worse than game one?
That last “possession” was a real mess..sorta…but not really, but the problems started well before that few moments.
Three things cost the Grizzlies this game:Item first: Foul trouble be darned, MARC GASOL HAS TO 1) be on the floor, and 2) get his hands on the ball on offense (that steal by CP notwithstanding). Hollins should have played Marc until he fouled out, and THEN figure out what to do without him, instead of pulling him and leaving a foul on the floor, so to speak. 11 and 10 with 3 blocks in 35 minutes. If that number is about 39 minutes, the Griz likely win the game. The playing Pondexter so much was understandable, as he was hot….except that he had ZERO points in the second half, sickeningly similar to the way Gasol had zero second-half points in game one. Mareese Speights has had a couple good stretches in the series, but he’s been such a huge liability on D that it’s not worth the sweet jumper and occasional hard glasswork.
Item second: Not defending the three. That last three from Foye was the killer, but the other seven threes (out of only seventeen attempted) set the stage for the now-routine Blowing of the Lead as the game progressed. Some late in the shot clock (like the one to open the fourth) and some earlier off set plays-they all did the same damage. It’s been a problem for the Grizzlies all year, especially after playing 20 seconds of quality D against teams like the Suns, Spurs, etc. Throttling back the threes for the Clippers is the key to the Griz winning the series if they are to do so. Bigger than stopping Paul, MUCH bigger than stopping DunkBoy.That’s been the calling card of Grizzlies teams past that played no D-letting some random guy (i.e. Mo Williams, Randy Foye) beat them.
Item third: OJ’s turnovers. Does the fact that OJ, with his 1-8 and 5 TO’s, was a big reason for this loss make it MORE likely that MH opens the wallet to keep him this summer? Does MH bet that OJ will become less of a TO guy who loses games and more of the insta-offense guy we saw in the first two games? The ever-hyped-cliche “barometer” term sure does fit OJ, especially for a guy who many deem a “possibly expendable” asset. It’s hard to say, but his total lack of fear is, as it is for many shooters, a blessing and a curse. His lack of conscience pulling the trigger is one thing, but if he doesn’t learn to control the ball more effectively, he’s gonna cost himself some major money on his “meat of the career” contract.
The Grizzlies, once again, took 39 FT attempts, to the Clippers’ 30..and made as many as the Clips attempted. The Clippers, for their part, missed a whole ton of free throws before those last-minute jobs.
Not throwing the game away after going down thirteen IN A HURRY in the second quarter was admirable, but the final is the only score that matters.
A rare badly-coached game? Too many threes? Who knows, but “must-win” is quite an understatement when referring to game four.
Come on Grizzlies.