Yeah, verbs are great. i thought about “dismember” (probably the most accurate). Considered “eviscerate” (suitably gory), considered “vivisect” (maybe *too*gory).
Settled on “defile”, because, well, it just seemed right. Denotes a very disrespectful defeat, doesn’t it?
Well, let’s pick seven items out of the inestimable galaxy of stuff that was terrible about the Grizzlies’ performance this day…
Thing one: No, it’s not Randolph’s invisibility. It was the way he expressed it. On one play in particular, second quarter perhaps, I saw something VERY disturbing-an unpleasant exchange of words between TA and ZBo. Tony looked back after Zach made his remark, whatever it was, thought about barking back…and let it go. Sure, 1-8 is not gonna get it done-but expressing his frustration in the wrong way is what could damage this team’s chances even worse.
Thing two: Tony Allen running around like the proverbial headless chicken. Yes, we’ve seen him guard two dudes at once many times, and we’ll see it again-but trying to do it against two guys who are OWNING your team is a recipe for disaster. I was reminded of TA’s first season in Memphis when Hollins yanked him so quickly (if you’ll recall, that happened A LOT to him that year). Worst part of it is that this is not unfamiliar territory for him-he’s been there, and been all the way. He’s gonna feel a lot of responsibility for the loss, and I’m not going to say he shouldn’t.
Thing three: HEY A BRIGHT SPOT. Bayless had five assists and no TO’s.
Thing four: Well, that didn’t last long. Back into the darkness. The Grizzlies gave up 53% shooting to a team that doesn’t even need to shoot that well to win. It was not Timmy D-he went a slack 3-6 and took ZERO free throws-it was Green, Parker, and Neal who were responsible for the barrage of made baskets. Another way to say this is “boy I’d hate to be a Grizzlies backcourt player at practice tomorrow”.
Thing five: In other perimeter news, the Spurs went 14-29 from three. That’s one of those “when you let a team do this” situations. The Spurs, smart old cookies they are, suckered the Grizzlies into helping too actively (pick and roll, post entry, you name it) and found guys who could make them and took advantage of lazy closeouts by halfway-recovering Grizzly defenders.
Thing six: The Grizzlies won the rebounding, steals, and blocks columns. Wow, they must have had a good defensive game, huh? WRONG. When the ball is coming out of the basket every time, you did horribly on D. Gasol didn’t play too horribly, and his decent game stands out like a sore thumb among what was the team’s worst defensive performance since game one of the Clippers series.
Thing seven: THIS IS NOT MEANT TO DENIGRATE PONDEXTER OR HIS PERFORMANCE AT ALL. HE IS A VERY IMPORTANT PLAYER ON A VERY GOOD GRIZZLIES TEAM. However, when he’s the leading scorer for your team in a WCF game, and it’s because of a very nice hot run in one quarter of said game, you’ve got a problem. In the playoffs, everyone has to raise his game-but the major cogs in the wheel have to bear the majority of the burden, and that didn’t happen. Randolph was invisible and frustrated (the Spurs had studied his recent games very well-they stopped him from getting deep position and doubled him smartly on the rare occasion when he did receive the ball in a viable spot on the floor.
Thing eight (yeah, my frustration runneth over for a quick second here): The Grizzlies have to remember how they acted when they closed out the Thunder a few days ago-no wanton celebration, just handshakes for each other and for the opposing team on a job well done. They acted like they belonged where they were. Today, from the outset, they looked like the bright-eyed kids who had just gotten to play the old guys in Chucks at the playground and got taken to school AND out behind the woodshed. Confidence in their ability to recover from such a drubbing will be key.