Even a team like the Grizzlies can’t dig holes like a 46-31 halftime deficit and expect to get out, even with the much-improved second half they played in game two.
Well, seven things (and more) did happen, let’s look at it.
Thing one: Never thought I’d see Tony Allen writhing in pain selling a foul…
Thing two: Moral, schmoral. This was a loss, and it stings just as much as the first game, if not worse. To not have your defense wake up until the fourth quarter (held the Spurs to nine points, and two over the last EIGHT MINUTES OF THE QUARTER) when defense is the professed and proven calling card of the team is not something that can be overcome. The necessity of a 15-2 run to close the game and send it to OT means that there will be some very tired legs in the extra period.
Thing three: The hustle game. The Grizzlies won it again. Steals 9-5. Rebounds 60-46 (!!!). Turnovers 10-13. These stats are perhaps the most encouraging things that can be taken from such a dire loss. If the Grizzlies can put forth similar effort in these aspects of the game at home, they should be able to tie the series on Memorial Day. Most importantly among the contributors to these stats, especially the rebounding…
Thing four: HEY ZACH! NICE TO SEE YOU! WELCOME TO THE SERIES! What ZBo did in the second half was tremendous on its own, but the energy he showed and the example he set for his teammates inspired the whole of the Grizzlies to come back from 13 down with eight minutes to go. 15 and 18 is a more Randolph-esque line…but six of eighteen from the field and a much-more-damaging 3-8 from the line were likely the Grizzlies’ downfall in the game. His positioning got better, his hustle on the boards was better, and his body language improved as the game went on…but to beat a team like the Spurs, he’s got to get to full ZBo mud level. Didn’t happen, although this game was enough to make one think that it might at least be possible.
Thing five: Tayshaun Prince. He’s the championship-level vet that Rudy Gay is not, but with a bum hip and some other nagging ailments, he’s just not been himself, to the point that Hollins only played him 16 minutes. Will Hollins change the starting lineup, or will he want to reserve Pondexter as an energy and shooting infusion off the bench?
Thing six: Speaking of Pondexter, the bench didn’t make me want to vomit! HOORAY!! Actually, I lied. They sorta did. Wroten did enough damage in his three minutes to make me hurl the lentils I had for dinner. Arthur was his playoff-standard wheres-my-2011-DA self with an uninspiring 2-6 with a big fat unforgivable ZERO in the rebound column. Of course, Arthur has never been an inside banger kind of player, and his perimeter D and vertical recovering ability has been valuable-but none? It wasn’t that he wasn’t in position to get some things done, as he managed to commit four fouls in that short window. But the largest motion sickness bag must be reserved for…
Thing seven: WHY, JERRYD, WHY???? There was ETERNITY on the clock! That play was just, well, not good. Can’t believe that Hollins wanted it done that way, and reading Hollins’ lips after the play told the story. And this was NOT a story that I’ll be telling to my four-year-old son, unless I want him to grow up talking like an extra-angry Dirty Harry Callahan. The fact that Bayless obviously went WAY outside of the box speaks a large volume about the Grizzlies v. the Spurs as far as this level of NBA ball, and if plays like this continue to mount, it will be that much harder for the Grizzlies to have a chance of taking the series.
Could this turn out like the Clippers series? Frustrate Duncan again, and keep Parker from going quite so nuclear…maybe…..