Looks like that players-only meeting I predicted after last night’s abortive effort happened and worked to a degree.
Yep. My systolic is probably a bit high, and my fingers have no nails left.
But SO WHAT, the Griz got out of the losing streak-vortex in which they’d been trapped.
It was by no means the Griz’ best game of the season (and we’ll find out why in a bit), but there were many great things about it…let’s run it down briefly. -If you saw this on TV like I did, that shot of Tony Allen in a sort of waking-meditative state at the start of OT said as much about that guy as anything he’s ever done in a live-ball situation, subjectively speaking of course. To say that his hustle had a huge impact on the game would be the understatement of the millenium. Working his teammates, working his opponents, and workin’ the officials. His game was not perfect (pushed WAY too hard on a few offensive possessions, refusing to give up the ball to his PG when it was necessary more than once), but it was perfectly TA. His ability to handle multiple switches on D is one of the things that makes him the elite defender he is, and what made the Griz able to get those crucial stops in Q4 and OT.
-OJ Mayo. Now put away the tomatoes…but could Anthony Morrow have hit those threes? Now put down that billy club…he might have hit the threes, but he could not have made the moves with the ball that OJ was able to make. OJ is playing like a scorer looking for his “meat of the career” contract, and the Griz will be the beneficiaries of that play for the duration of the season. OJ, like the rest of the Griz, got lured into some weak-side ball-watching, but he gave it all he had. What else could you want. He did ok at his unexpected stint at PG (WOW how far could Pargo and Selby be in the back corner of the doghouse???), but once again showed that it’s just not his position, which is just fine.
-Gay and Gasol. Rudy with the standard redemptive game, but I’m not fooled just yet-he’d better not lay an egg against the Hawks. Rudy with 5 assists-that’s the number that matters. The other numbers look cooler on the stat sheet maybe, but making sure that no one thinks is Rudy playing 1-on-9 is what is important to the team environment, and he did that well. He made quite sure of it. He’s still in his own head a bit about his ISO play, and heading into a crowd without being aware of when he’s gotta elevate is what leads to his turnovers, which are high-but getting that ball in the hoop, for himself and for others, is what matters.Yes, he took 20 shots-but in ZBo’s absence, that’s perfectly permissible.
Marc Gasol had 20 and 13 in 50 superhuman minutes. Huh. The fact that I’ll likely have Kashi waffles for breakfast in the morning is a more shocking revelation. By the way, I have Kashi waffles every single morning. Gasol is epitomizing “playing up to the new contract” like few NBA players ever have.
Honorable mention to Dante Cunningham, for maybe the best Griz high-flyer play of the season thus far-energized the building, energized the team, and helped keep the Nugs within reach.
The negatives? It’s obvious that the Griz are still unsure what to do with themselves on offense without big #50 out there. When they do get open looks, they are still pressing-it’s like watching a perfectly competent starting pitcher try to aim the ball over the plate. Knows how to do it just fine, just lacks confidence. The Grizzlies also got sucked into leaving the weakside too open many times, and credit for this goes largely to George Karl, who is flat-out awesome. Knows how to use his weapons and gets his guys to listen. Gotta wonder if Ty Lawson would have turned into the above-serviceable player he has under the tutelage of a lesser coach.
Must tip cap to Andre Miller-missing that AARP meeting shows his commitment to the game and the team. Kidding aside-this guy is an iron man. One of my favorites except when he’s playing the Griz. Thanks for those FT’s, Andre.
Wish I coulda been there tonight-that OJ three brought the roof down. My sinuses, I am getting annoyed with you.