Ahh, revel in the unprettiness.
Revel in the defense.
Yes, as the man who wears the clock might say…SHUT ‘EM DOWN.
Seven more lucky things…let’s see, perhaps we can count, oh…seventy more lucky things before it’s all said and done?
Who knows, this is just about today…
Thing big one: 36.4% FG’s for the Thunder, even as they outscored the Grizzlies 23-7 on the break and 44-30 in the paint. If 6-17 on FG’s for Kevin Martin speaks a fairly thick volume about the Grizzlies’ D, then the fact that he garnered ZERO free throw attempts in 33 minutes speaks a volume that makes War and Peace look like a half-page pamphlet. “We overhelped in the first half, I felt like”, said Marc Gasol after the game, and he’s right-but shutting down a team like the Thunder with a player like Durant at the end of the fourth makes a lot of early-game boo-boos disappear. Check out the full audio from the presser from Gasol and Conley:
Also of note is the somewhat giggly remarks by both players to a question about heated exchanges between Hollins and his players during timeouts. Be sure to check that out.
Thing two: The Kevin Martin “free throw defense” aside, the Grizzlies were plus 9 in attempts and plus 11 (!!) in makes from the line, and that was the difference. Remember the 14-24 game? Yep, the Grizzlies do too, and they’d do well not to omit that from their collective memory, because these games will all likely be close and trips to the stripe could be the difference.
Thing three: Hey..there’s another 6-17, this time from Ibaka. I’m not going to jump on the “Ibaka is overrated” bandwagon, because he’s a valuable contributor on a very good team-but it does seem like he and/or Brooks and/or Durant would notice that it hasn’t been falling for him and keep him as more of a short-corner decoy for Jackson/Martin/Durant/Fisher in the lane. Sure, it’s hard to indict 13 and 10 with any chance of getting a conviction-but that’s a few too many shot attempts…or, in Westbrook’s absence, is it?
Thing four: Big plays in the fourth quarter, and a larger statement about the Grizzlies possibly going further into the postseason. The back-to-back threes from Bayless and Pondexter to make it 77-70, the charge Conley drew on Jackson, the six free throws in a row to seal the game…these are plays that teams in the playoffs have to make, and the Grizzlies made them today. As this series (and potentially/possibly successive series) move along, Coach Hollins (1977), Tayshaun Prince (2004) and Tony Allen (2008), along with Gasol from his Olympic and international experience, will have to show increasing leadership, as the other Grizzlies will look to them to help the team handle the insanity that will just increase as the days pass.
Thing five: Back to the series at hand…there are two ways to look at this game score-wise. Are the Grizzlies lucky to win after being outrebounded by a healthy margin and outscored in the paint, or can they rest a bit easier knowing that these boxscore circumstances will likely not repeat themselves? The answer…neither. Check out what Coach Hollins had to say about the various aspects of the game, from sub patterns, to intrateam “yelling”:
Thing six: Check out the tone in Scott Brooks’ voice in the postgame presser-this series isn’t over, and he’s not ready to give up and neither are his players. He knows good and well that if one shot goes here, and maybe one more there..the outcome is quite different. Or..is he clutching at straws with how many times he says “we hope to get those shots again”? Check it out and decide:
Thing seven: The Grizzlies are not really a “young team” any more. They are showing their poise, and 29 points from the bench out of 87 total shows the depth the bench can provide when focused. Where’s the ceiling? If they can hold on to win this series, what’s the end point? How far can they go? It’s likely that there will be a game upcoming where some Grizzly will get rattled, and as Hollins said in his postgame (and he’s said previously about 952,000 times), “you can’t have success without first facing adversity”-how will they react? The answers to these oh-so-hotly burning questions will be decided during those times.
To Monday, and the next most important game in franchise history…