First: Ryan Hollins thinks he’s finally playing with the big boys. He’s still not NBA good.
Ok, now on to the game. A super seesaw of a game, kinda like that little bunching of games these two teams played at the end of last season, you may recall that set of seven contests.
The Griz made some dumb early-season plays (couple shot clock violations, a 3 sec call on ZBo, etc.), but they showed flashes. It’s the same team, and it should be…’cuz it’s mostly the same team.
So how’d this all go down?
-The Grizzlies’ defense was good, but not that good. Sure, the Clippers had over 20 turnovers, and the run in Q2 was fueled by some very nice classic helter skelter Grizzlies D, but the transition defense for the Griz was about a hundred light years south of horrid. Useless. Non-existent. The Griz defense, for the most part, was bad. Like, Blake Griffin bad (see what I did there?). Poor Wayne Ellington had to guard Crawford, which is a fate I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Conley had to guard Chris Paul, who is healthy and amazing. Jordan and Griffin made swiss cheese out of the Griz’ interior D early in the game, but fouls and chumpiness, respectively, took Jordan and Griffin out of the game later. Giving up 51% is not like the Griz….at least it better not be going forward.
-Conley struggled. No two ways about it. It’s like CP3 is his kryptonite (not that Conley is a superman PG, though he’s certainly above average). Was it the two early fouls? Ah, maybe. But 2-8 (until he missed two desperation threes with the game running out) is not due to fouls, it’s due to…who knows. Jitters? After this many seasons, I’d hope not. The Clippers did do a great job shrinking the lane on him when he did get close to the hoop, and Conley’s turnover numbers and lack of assists showed it.
-I always say I’m not big on this stat, but ZBo had a big ol’ -25. That’s interesting, if not important, ‘cuz he had a ZBo game except for his horrid shooting (a flaw shared by the whole team save for Rudy and Gasol). Besides getting into some schoolyard chippy business with Griffin, his defense was lacking. Fitness? Lack of focus? Who knows.
-Rudy Gay had the most encouraging opening night (offensively) I remember since his rookie season (sure, you remember-that triple-OT game against the Knicks where Rudy and Lowry started to make a name for themselves?). On several occasions, he just took the ball, found space, and made a shot. He did have 3 assists too, which was nice, as his lone-ranger style of scoring this game did nothing to ease the concerns of many regarding his ability and/or willingness to play a team game.
Tough loss, but aren’t they all?
At least I didn’t have to look at Matt Barnes.