First off: well done, everyone else who was there tonight, for the two ovations after the final buzzer. The team deserved it.
The Grizzlies are done feeling this moment for this season.
This was but one game, but boy, does this one come with some weight.
Standard seven points, for the last time this season…
Thing one: This Parker fellow. He ran literal circles around the vaunted Grizzlies defense. Sure, the Grizzlies’ (especially Conley’s and Allen’s) fatigue level made him look even better than he performed…but he’s just found that same fountain of youth from which Tim Duncan’s been doing shots. His midrange was falling, he was using the screens set for him perfectly, and the Grizzlies’ lack of lateral mobility surely didn’t help.
Thing two: ZBo has some frustration issues through which he’s gonna need to work. The Spurs’ constant hassling of him really, really affected his already-iffy defense, and it significantly hurt the Grizzlies’ interior rotations (see also: a million, well, ok, fifty-two paint points for SA this game). The paint points lead to point three…
Thing three: The Spurs gave the Grizzlies a resounding “pick your poison” treatment. One hand: the Spurs went a measly 3-13 from three, and made zero threes in the first half…but Parker lived in the lane in the first half and shot the ball incredibly well to boot, and he then hung a double-digit third quarter on the home team. The Spurs shot over 51% for the game, with Parker’s 15-21 (!!!!!!!!!) from the field being the chief strategic weapon deployed against the Grizzly defense. The fact that Bonner and Diaw are both at least credible deep threats kept a Grizzlies rebounder out of the paint on too many possesions, although death-rattle-hustle still kept the Grizzlies in front on the glass (+7 for the game).
Thing four: Pondexter again. I’ll say again…a young guy like him should not be forced into such a pivotal offensive role in such huge games, but he did everything he could. Seems weird, but even though he was forced to exist “outside the box” and it was a bit out of place in this series, the Grizzlies need about two more Quincy Pondexters. That should do it. Except for that SA turnover he wasted by getting in too much of a hurry when the game was close late. Boy did that one hurt.
Thing five: Tony Allen was overamped. The whole series. Sure, he’s a loose cannon, and that’s part of what makes him the amazing guard-two-dudes-at-once player he is-but I literally had to turn my head when he got the ball on the break a couple times this game. His out-of-control energy was representative, unfortunately, of how a lot of the Grizzlies played over the course of the series. Rushed shots (Bayless), misplaced frustration leading to poor position and fouling (Randolph), and a lack of consistency on both ends (Conley). Prince and Allen have been there, but Prince was obviously physically limited this series.
Thing six: Don’t let TP go right, don’t let Manu go left. Sounds easy enough. But it ain’t.
Thing seven: Well, that’s that. Season’s done, but we’re not done here at Three Shades of Blue. Watch this space for pontification aplenty, as well as thoughts and analysis about the roster, the coaching staff (the team will likely lose one of Joerger or Hollins this offseason, another poison to pick), and how the now-established fanbase should view what was undoubtedly the best Grizzlies season there’s ever been.
It’s officially summertime here in Memphis, and not just ‘cuz the thermometer and calendar say so…