People have gotten down on the Grizzlies for losing Game 1 of the playoffs after leading by 24 points with only 8 minutes remaining in the game.
That is understandable. When the Memphis Tigers blew a 9 point lead in the 2nd half of an NCAA game their season was over. All was lost. There was no game later to make amends.
But this isn’t the NCAA. This is the NBA. Memphis is not out of the playoffs. They are down 1-0 in a race to be the first to four. It’s not ideal. It could be better. It also isn’t the end.
In fact the last four teams to lose at least an 18 point lead in the 4th quarter of a game went on to win the series. They went on to the NBA finals. Two of the team won the NBA championship. For those wondering it was the 1994 Houston Rockets, the 2002 New Jersey Nets and 2011 Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets and Mavericks won the NBA title despite the blown lead loss.
Now I am not going to say that is what is going to happen here. What I am saying is that the Grizzlies are far from out.
It’s hard to sleep after losing a game like the Grizzlies did. The last time the Grizzlies looked that out-classed was against the Clippers back on March 24th. The next day the Grizzlies went out and destroyed the LA Lakers who were among the hottest teams in the league at that time and they did it in L.A. No lasting effects. No hangovers. Just a refocus on what this team needs to do and going out and getting it done.
You see it was just a game. Just one in a series everyone knew would be difficult. Few people believed the Grizzlies were going to coast to victory. It may benefit the Grizzlies not to blow out the Clippers in Game 1. There will be no overlooking them in game 2 now. Many teams that win big in the first game struggle in the second game. Some even lose. It’s human nature.
The Grizzlies won’t have that problem. They will be every bit as motivated as they were to start game 2. This time there will be no relaxing at the end either.
The Clippers will come out determined to end the series right now too. I don’t even know the last time a team lost their first two games at home and came back to win the series. I’m sure it has happened but that is not the route the Grizzlies want to take.
So this game, this evening, becomes a big event. The last one can’t be changed. This game is all that matters. The Grizzlies can control what happens tonight. They can’t change the past nor foresee the future. Tonight is all that matters.