Please, please no “see, we can win without Zach” jokes.
Well, Hollins was quoted in the last couple days as saying “we gotta win unpretty” or something of the sort.
He’s likely coming as close to jumping with joy as we’ll ever see, ‘cuz this was as unattractive as it gets.
Let’s look at how the Grizzlies won this game, somewhat in spite of themselves….
Thumbs up: Defense. They did play that well, and they did it in a way that can be done against a team like the Kings-let the one guy go nuts (although there wasn’t really any “letting”-DMC is an absolute beast and I LOVE watching him play), just don’t let some no-namer like Fredette/Garcia/Salmons/etc. be responsible for doing more than his share to throw the Grizzlies off-balance. Ten blocked shots, eight steals, and an opponent under 35% and under 70 points for the game. Biggest defensive stat? A combination-2 for 10 from three for SAC, with one lonely assist for Cousins. Those two things are related. Didn’t let him get rolling as far as passing out of the post to open three-point shooters, and the Kings can be contained.
Tony Allen’s ears and mind being all full of this (warning: language and content) didn’t hurt either. What a game from Allen.
Thumbs down: Bench scoring. Sure, the bench was significantly shorthanded, missing Pondexter and Speights, but eleven points? Whether Bayless’ recent struggles have much to do with his increased court partnership with Conley it’s hard to say (and worth some investigation), but they are real. Must we chalk up another quasi-failed PG experiment? We shall see. 4-14 from the field for the bench. Ouch.
Thumbs up: The flip side of the bench struggles was the best offensive balance among the starters in quite a while. No fewer than eleven FGA’s, and no more than sixteen, for the first five. Also…21 assists on 34 makes. Good efficiency, although the percentage for the game won’t win any awards. Perhaps most encouraging was the return of the nice interior passing to which we’d all grown so accustomed earlier in the season-a couple very nice close passes from Gasol, and a nice dish from Gay to Conley from the short wing to the baseline cut.
Thumbs down: Fumble fingers. Sixteen turnovers, and a bunch of just terrible unforced errors, and a vintage blown TA layup to boot. Gloriously, this was a lonely TA weak moment in an otherwise awesome game.
Thumbs up (the big one): Not hanging heads when Mo Speights missed those two FT’s with the team only up 8 in what had turned out to be a tightly contested mid-fourth quarter. They kept up the defense, and Conley came through with two huge threes (although the second one was really just a sealer-the game was pretty much decided) to help maintain the lead and secure the victory.
A good night for the Grizzlies overall: Nuggets lost, Rox lost, GSW lost (although the Spurs had to win to get that one done). Gotta keep an eye to maintaining homecourt.
The Bulls won a crazy one in overtime in Boston tonight-will they react the next night as the Grizzlies did last Saturday when they laid a giant egg against SAS?