Well, everyone knew this would happen at some point. The “terrible start” was in full evidence this night, eh? Broad side of a barn, golf ball into a swimming pool from the diving board, etc., etc….
“Miracle” is no overstatement to describe the fact that the Grizzlies were down only 8 at the half after the putridity they had just spewed all over the court….
Let’s dig on seven things…even at this advanced hour of the night.
Thing one: The charge Bayless took when it was 64-56. Hard to pin the game on another play (well, there are really about eleventy-teen choices, but that one stands out…ok maybe the TA steal), when the game looked to be on the verge of getting away again and at a much more lethal juncture time-wise. The Thunder still stretched it out a bit more after that, but the Grizzlies went on to tie the game by the end of the third.
Thing two: Gasol and ZBo both hit the 20-10 mark, and it’s a darn good thing, as the bench only chipped in 15…hey wait, if Conley/Randolph/Gasol combine for 56 of the Grizzlies’ 89 FG attempts, there’s just no way that the bench could have done much more, now is there? On the surface, it would seem that this game was another in the line of “unsustainable” Grizzly wins…but when you’ve got three of them, there has to be a thread of repeatability in there somewhere. The repeatable part?
Thing three: Defense. Eight steals, seven blocks, fifteen forced turnovers, and the Grizzlies brought the Thunder down to 43% shooting after giving up over 50% in the first half. Let’s listen to Mike Conley’s postgame comments:
The dichotomy between halves comes up immediately, and he tells it like it was-first half, the Thunder went anywhere and did anything. The second half and OT, the Thunder were much less able to get the shots they wanted. And Durant and Martin didn’t stage a parade to the FT line either-the two were only 7-8 for the game.
Thing four: KD is a truly transcendent player, but his shoulders clearly buckled a bit in the fourth and OT. No shame in it, but it happened. Here’s KD after the game:
Thing five: It’s late and I need to have been in bed two hours ago, just like many Grizzlies fans…but it’s tough, ain’t it?
Thing six: The threes by Conley and Bayless in the first half were the only things that kept the team halfway within striking distance in the first half. Talk about unsustainable. Whoof. But…they went in, and the team kept fighting.
Thing seven: As ZBo was asked in the walkoff interview-was this the Thunder’s best shot? Doubtful, they’ll be giving that Wednesday. However…Ibaka with 17 and 14 (although the Grizzlies were +7 on the boards in the second half and OT), Martin with 18 points (but Conley with 24), and the Thunder go 9-20 from 3 and a crazy-ish 20-22 from the line (although the Grizzlies went 25-29)…can/will the Thunder do much better than that? Maybe a little bit, but the Grizzlies could surely play better than they did in that first half.
Special thing 7.1: Tony Allen is the most charismatic Grizzlies player there’s ever been. Sorry, ZBo. Sorry, James Posey/Jason Williams/OJ/Pau/even Marc/Rudy/whoever. This guy is like a bandleader in that FedEx Forum, and with any luck, this season, whenever it may end, will not be his last concert at the FEF. Gotta believe (see what I did there?) that Pera, Levien, and co. will dig as deep into the pocket as is necessary to retain his services.
At least they’d better…but I’m sure they will.
Nine more wins? Can the Grizzlies do it?