Betcha that was a short flight home from Dallas. What a win.
Then to come home and basically wipe the floor with the Timberwolves, gotta love it, for several reasons…but this wasn’t as great a game for the Griz as one might think….
Reason number one to love it: Anger and attitude. Yes, the Grizzlies held off the Timberwolves pretty well this game, but in the third quarter and for a small stretch in the fourth, the Wolves (particularly Nikola “call me Lurch” Pekovic) tried to go…no other word for it…thuggy and physical to try to get back in the game. When this happened, the Grizzlies got mad. Real mad. No soft layups on breaks during a blowout. No. Rudy with two of the most crazily authoritative dunks I’ve ever seen him throw down. It was nice to see the ever-elusive killer instinct from the Griz.
Reason number one to not-so-love it: Griz -14 on the boards, and they gave up a TON of offensive boards to the Wolves. The reasons for this are several…Randolph was out, Gasol battled first-half foul trouble (more on him later), and the Wolves crashed the offensive boards HARD. The Grizzlies made lemonade out of the lemons, though-they did what you have to do when a team hits the offensive glass on you. If the opponent doesn’t get that rebound, you’ve got a fast break laid in your lap, to the tune of 33 fast break points.
Reason number two to love it: a franchise-record 22 steals. Yes, the T-wolves are not exactly a well-oiled triangle machine at this point, but 22 is just a crazy number. CRAZY. Ball pursuit and “smart cheating” in perimeter passing lanes. The Griz stole high-low entry passes, they stole inside handoff passes, they flat-out wrestled the ball away from guys, they stole perimeter swing passes. Mike Conley went totally nuts with seven steals and Tony Allen earned his defense-based paycheck with steals and generally aggressive defensive play.
Reason number two not to love it: Twelve lonely bench points. Yes, when DA returns to the bench, this number should improve, but two players who will almost certainly be part of the regularhealthy-team rotation-Young and Thabeet-have shown little if anything in the way of productivity. The Grizzly starters most certainly cannot withstand another season of 42-minute games. The biggest problem I see thus far (yes, I realize it’s only been three games) is Acie Law. He’s just all over the map in terms of controllling the offense. His size and ability to bust passing lanes makes him a halfway viable option on D, but he simply must learn to run the offense. Coach Hollins has him on a short leash, and it’s not gonna get any slack in it until Law learns the nuances of the team offense (which is not all that complicated).
Some things great, some things still in rather vast need of improvement.
On to Los Angeles for the Griz, and a nice late-night game Tuesday, which I believe will be the NBATV game of the night. Thanks NBA fans for getting our Grizzlies on national TV!!