As my fellow 3SOB writer Chip tweeted during the game, “it appears free throws have a cost”. Poor Quincy Pondexter will bear the brunt of it, but it wasn’t his fault. Never should have gotten to that point.
A painful, rather than lucky, seven things about a total gut punch of a loss…
Thing one: 14-24. Not one Grizzly who took more than one FT made all his attempts. That, basketball fans, will get you on the fast train to Lossville. Thunder, BTW, went 22-25. *This game examination could conclude right now*.
Thing two: It’s pretty easy to look at TA’s minutes and point the finger at Hollins…and I think I might throw my index finger in the mix there. He saw only seven second-half minutes. Seven. Sure, he was a downright somnambulist in the first half, allowing several baseline backdoor cuts while getting caught watching the round thing instead of his man-but putting him on Durant for a time needed to be an option. Sorry, coach, but leading into…
Thing three:….why no Ed Davis? I’ve tried to watch and see what it is that he does or does not do that evidently so infuriates Lionel Hollins, but I just can’t find it. He fills a niche for the Grizzlies, as they have no other pogosticks on the roster. Is it his lack of midrange game? DA hit only one short-corner two that Davis likely could have made as well. Tough inside rebounding presence? DA had *one* in his twelve minutes. Gotta think we’ll see some of Davis next game.
Thing four: ALL THOSE THREES in the first quarter. While the Thunder were busy not scoring over the game’s opening four minutes, the timeout they took when it went 7-0 Grizzlies changed the complexion of the game. They overplayed the Grizzlies in the post and forced them to take jumpers, and that’s when things evened out and the quarter mercifully finally ended with the Grizzlies up only two. Gasol’s outside shooting helped the team in the second half, and ZBo was able to work some in his “office”-he and Gasol did both hit the double-double mark- but the Thunder deserve credit for crowding the Grizzlies inside.
Thing five: Kevin Durant. There is just not much that any defender or team can do with or about him. It’s just that simple. His combination of size and mobility is just amazing to watch even when one *might* be rooting against him. Not that I was doing that or anything.
Thing six: If someone could let me know why Marc Gasol is not considered an NBA “star”, I’d greatly appreciate it. 20-10, with 3 ast, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. So much for the folks who think he’s not capable of being a stat sheet filler.
Thing seven: Only one out of a potential seven, but there are several things on which the Grizzlies must work between now and game two. They must play more intuitive, precise defense when the ball is on the wing-the Thunder were very successful at clearing space for Durant/Martin/Jackson to drive or to make a pass to a weakside shooter. Mike Conley has to come out from the opening tip and look for seams like he has done so very well since..well…a good while back now. Now is NO TIME for Shrinking Violet Conley to make an appearance.
On to the next one…