Yes, I used the word “smearate”. As in “the Kings faced a total smearation in that third quarter”.
I can’t call it a perfect game (reason why in a little bit), but “buzzsaw” is just not an overstatement of how our Griz are playing right now.
Same old guys making the game? Sure. But it’s not *just* the usual suspects….…HADDADI BABY! Now leading the NBA with 36 rebounds per 36 minutes! Oh. You have to have some number of minutes to qualify? Huh. Oh well. All joking aside, it is nice to have another 7-footer finally back in uniform on the bench, and it’s a guy who has played for the Griz for a while now. No, he’ll never see 30 minutes a game, but he’s a good foul-trouble backup.
Ok, it really was the usual suspects. Mike Conley, 7 for his first 7? Not that surprising, given the team’s recent north-of-torrid pace in first quarters, but to see him playing with such confidence still strikes such a sharp contrast with the scaredy-cat we saw his first years in the NBA. He’s not the best PG in the NBA, but he doesn’t care. He plays his game, plays it hard, and plays the same way every game. He picked his spots well in that first quarter-he wasn’t just jacking up shots. Three, runner, transition layup, etc., etc. He scored them the same way he always does, there were just a few more of them than usual.
There are just not enough superlatives to describe how Marc Gasol has taken ownership of the Grizzlies on the court. The Bill Walton quasi-comparison I made a few games ago? Not afraid to make it again. It’s sometimes easy to forget that the big men play behind the rest of the team on D, and are thus responsible for calling screens and being, literally, the last man standing when an opponent gets to the hoop. Eleven rebounds, six blocks, and a staggering +39. Ridiculous. Just crazy.
O-O-OJ MAYOOOOO. Sorry, New Jersey, Morrow or Farmar is just not enough for this man now. Sure, shooters are streaky, and OJ is a shooter, so logic dictates that he’s gonna hit a dry patch-but for now, he’s hitting his spots and the ball is finding him. We’re seeing the pinnacle of what OJ is meant to be in the NBA-a scorer who can also hold his own on D. No, he’ll never be mistaken for Gary Payton on the defensive side of the ball-but he’s trying harder, and that is what makes the most difference.8-16 with 6-10 from three? Sure, anytime.
The Grizzlies were also dominant on the boards, which was nice to see-25 boards between Speights and Cunningham? Really? Yes, lots of those came in garbage time-but the number does not fail to impress.
Best sight of the game? Rudy laughing and smiling on the bench during garbage time. He’s obviously feeling good injury-wise, he’s finding some flow, and all those weapons are getting sharp.Wouldn’t be too surprised to see him go completely NUTTY in one of the upcoming West games.
Now..this, as stated earlier, was not a perfect game-it must be said that giving up a 39-point quarter to a team as lost as the Kings is darned near inexcusable. It’s Jimmer, guys. KNOW WHAT HE DOES. At least the Griz let the other team back in momentarily in the FIRST half this time, came out with a murderous run to start the third, and put it away (with a Hollins tongue-lashing when the Kings briefly got it down to 16 providing whatever extra motivation that may have been needed).
This was a game the Griz were supposed to win, and they did, as convincingly as they’ve won a game since…uhh…last night :).
The road trip upcoming, with a dangerous Warriors team,the Blazers, Clippers, and Suns is gonna be tough-to run the table is a tall ask, but not impossible. If they could, well, we’re back to thinking that the sky is the limit, aren’t we?