Well, isn’t that special.
I promise, no more Church Lady voice.
Three road wins of varying difficulty and degree, and the team is surely flying over the moon morale-wise.
Seven reasons they should be doing so…
Reason one: Zach Randolph. Only problem…NO WAY can they trade this guy anytime soon, say in the next 40 years. 26 and 15 on only 16 shots, and stick a couple steals in there for good measure. The PF matchup is always ridiculously fun to watch when these two teams play, and this night was no different. Watching these two try to establish game supremacy in the first quarter was just downright fun. When ZBo has it rollin’, don’t bother getting in the way. His role has always been to occupy the paint and put the ball in the hoop, and he’s doing it.
Reason two: Tony Allen or Bruce Lee? Hard to argue the flagrant call, but a flagrant two…I dunno. The King Flopper sells a foul once again. Gotta admire TA’s flexibility-didja see how far his leg swung up? Anyway, we were “treated” to Bayless trying to stop CP later in the game when it would have been really nice to have TA in there, but it’s hard to question the game result, right?
Reason three: 11-38. That’s the total for Paul/Redick/Crawford. THAT is what I’m talkin’ about. To hold the supernova-esque Clippers offense under 40% overall is indicative of the Grizzlies’ defense finally coming around. Scrambling and working, that’s how they did it. Conley, Pondexter, Allen when he was in there, and Gasol, getting back to his “patrol the perimeter of the paint and run the defense” ways, all played a nice role in helping the team win.
Reason four: Gotta start using “big late in games” in association with Mike Conley’s name. Gotta do it.
Reason five: 29 points on 11-20 bench shooting. 5-5 from KK is the big one here, and it demonstrates (WARNING: CAT EMERGING FROM CELLOPHANE BAG) the Clippers’ biggest of many defensive weaknesses: they, well, uh, don’t have any big guys good at playing it. Positioning, rotations, all of it. Jordan still relies on his athletic ability (although he’s using it to its fullest on the boards to amazing effect), Griffin isn’t all that interested in it, Ryan Hollins is bad at basketball, and Mullens would have been better off if he’d stopped growing about four inches earlier.
Reason six: Also regarding the bench, the same four guys didn’t play. I hate it for Leuer and Calathes, but being on a deep team means splinters. File once again under “good problem to have”.
Reason seven: Prince is back to his anonymously un-aggravating self. A team-leading +12 in his 36 minutes and played his perimeter defense role just right in helping hold the Clippers to 30% from three, which, as we all remember, is how they have hurt the Grizzlies in the past.
Notice a phrase that came up more than once in the last few minutes…”played his role”?
Are they getting it together? The Warriors will provide a stern test of that…