Ok, show of hands. Who thought that the Grizzlies would go lossless on this road trip?
Stop lyin’, no you didn’t.
Let’s play a broken record with seven little scratches regarding YET ANOTHER road win against a quality oppponent…First: This game was like that pickup game in seventh grade where the one kid got yelled at by his mom to come in and do homework right before it started, so his team makes the other team sit out that awesome guy they have who can shoot the lights out. Did Memphis miss TA more than GSW missed Curry? Hard to say, and it’d seem pretty even. Conley did a wonderful job trying to be taller than he is, and he was helped by the fact that all those Gay/Iguodala comps were right in one respect-neither have a great handle, and it gets worse the faster they move. Iggy’s fourteen (!!) assists were impressive every one, but it wasn’t enough.
Second: Going to get tougher and tougher not to use the term “big three” to describe Gasol/ZBo/Conley. Three Grizzlies in double figures, and guess who they were. For the Warriors, Bogut and Lee both had impressive games as well (12/11 and 18/8), but the Grizzlies’ big men were once again the key to the win. 39 and 23 combined for Gasol and Randolph, and the Grizzlies only scored 88 total. Let’s see, this over this, carry the two….that’s a BIG percentage of total points. A weird thing happened, though…
Three: …in overtime, Conley and Prince scored 9 of 13 for the Grizzlies. Took what the Dubs gave ’em (more on this in a moment). The HUUUUGE three that Conley hit to make it 82-79 was another in the long line of “he’d never have made or even taken that shot five years ago) moments for a player who’s grown into a stellar example of “thoroughly competent NBA point guard”.
Four: As for the “took what the defense gave ’em”…can a Grizzly bear also be a chameleon? It would surely seem so, because the Grizzlies won these four games in variable but pointedly consistent fashion. The Grizzlies outrebounded the opponent in all four games, ZBo went nuts all four games, and the opponent was held under 87 points in three of the four…but the Grizzlies also won the “shootout” against the Clippers, who could be construed as the best team they faced on the trip. Per Elias Sports via NBA.com, the Grizzlies are only the third team to sweep a four-game all-California road trip. Meaningless but impressive nonetheless.
Five: The bench was not quite as pointedly consistent once again. Hard to argue 7 and 8 from your backup center, but Miller and Bayless will still need to crank it up as the season goes along if the Grizzlies are to have a chance at a fruitful postseason. 28 minutes in the fourth and final game of a road trip in November is too many for Miller…or is it? Were I Grizzlies conditioning guy Drew “the hair” Graham, I’d have my closest eye glued to MM’s health. Nice to see Calathes get off the pine, if only as a few minutes’ worth of breather for Conley/afterthought.
Six: Basically two games in a row without the defensive stopper. Impressive, and goes once again to the ability of a good team to adjust to adversity, and against two darned good offensive teams to boot.
Seven: Fourth game of a road trip, no TA, and the Grizzlies hold the potent Warriors to 81 points in an overtime game. Only seven total TO’s for the Grizzlies to 15 for the Warriors. Grizzlies go 17-19 from the line, while GSW only shoot 8 total FT’s and miss half of them. Ahhh…like settling into an old favorite chair.
Is the team coming around fully? Things don’t get easier from here, so we’ll see…