First, I’d like to say…Matt Barnes, you put out your best. It wasn’t enough. Enjoy those towels and have a really, really nice loooong summer.
Most savory Grizzlies victory ever? Hmm….gotta think on that one, but that’s likely the case.
Well, sometimes things in life that become significantly “built up” before they take place don’t live up to billing.
Let’s dig on seven oh-so-wonderful and lucky things about this clinching victory….
Unreal. Just unreal. Never would have thought that it might have gone like this, eh? Oh, yes we did.
OK, here we go.
Thing one: The Clippers did/do not know how to play physically without getting rattled and turning into disgruntled, dirty foul machines. Heck, they turned Grant Hill to the dark side-how’d they do that? The Grizzlies went to the line almost FIFTY TIMES this game, and might have deserved a few more. Gotta hand it to Conley especially-yeah, he only went 12-17, but the battering he took over and over was just insane. It’s just tough not to apply the term “sore losers” to the Clippers. So many dirty fouls, particularly Paul’s bullcharge foul with an elbow to Marc Gasol’s abdomen, which Paul knows is injured (a later repeat earned Paul an early exit from the evening’s proceedings). Purposefully trying to exacerbate a known injury to an opponent? Petty and puerile, not to mention dangerous. This podium audio from postgame with TA and ZBo says a novel about the way the Grizzlies approach the game, and about why they are a better team than the Clippers:
Thing two: Matt Barnes left it all out on the court to say the least. Can’t slight him for his effort. A role player thug/enforcer guy like him going for 30 in a do-or-die game is admirable.
However, he just isn’t good enough, and now he goes home. Again, enjoy those “We Don’t Bluff” towels. Don’t forget them from the visitors locker room at FEF.
Thing three: Please stop with the “if Blake had been healthy”. Just stop.
Thing four: Blake Griffin could have wound up really, really regretting starting static with ZBo. Not his smartest move. He should climb into his Kia with paddle shifters and get out of town. He should consult with Kendrick Perkins about messing with our man ZBo. As for the game, Zach Randolph really just really played his game-Blake is lucky that the and-one just after the wrestling match was pretty much the extent of the punishment he faced. On the whole, ZBo’s style helped him greatly this game as it does each game-you’d be hard-pressed to find a player who relishes and is more accustomed to contact than Randolph. Sure, he only had five boards-but his 23 on only 12 shots is about as perfectly efficient as could be.
Thing five: Tony Allen with 19/7/6 and four steals. AND ZERO CRINGE-INDUCING TURNOVERS. Primo-level Tony Allen on offense especially, where he played hard and maintained a good level of control…in his own Tony Allen way. He didn’t have so much going on in terms of the lane cuts that he has in the series, but he didn’t force anything, and that’s what is important.
Things six, seven, eight, nine, and to infinity and beyond:
Two ways to look at this. If the way the Clippers played was planned and calculated, the whole team should be fined some astronomical amount of money. What they learned is that the Grizzlies do not bow to indimidation, trash talk, and dirty play. If the purely thuggish style the Clippers played was a result of Paul/Billups/Butler/etc. concocting a plan on their own to try to intimidate the Grizzlies into folding, well, one must wonder if they didn’t trust themselves to be able to win on talent and energy.
Couple interesting basketball thingies: no Ed Davis, no Turiaf, no Ryan Hollins. Huh. Interesting, and understandable.
Ten TO’s, this season’s team playoff average, for the Grizzlies.
I want a Grizzlies/Pacers finals SOOOO badly.
Small markets of the world, unite!
Let’s finish it off with Coach Hollins’ postgame comments, and look out Thunder!