The Grizzlies may have lost two of their last three games, but they're still moving up my power rankings.
And while they might not be rising quite as fast as a couple weeks ago, the Memphis Grizzlies are showing a hell of a lot more resilience than anyone expected from this team. This recent run has seen the Grizzlies playing the Mavericks, Cavaliers, Thunder, Heat, and Celtics. That's quite the spread right there.
I don't want to take anything away from the Celtics, because that's not my point. It takes an enormous change in team culture for the Memphis Grizzlies that most people remember as the Memphis Grizzlies to come out on the second night of a traveling back-to-back and play a full-strength, reloaded championship squad down to the wire.
And this game wasn't just down to the wire, it was the Memphis Grizzlies making all the easy plays while the Celtics seemed to make all the hard ones. Don't call it luck, because it's clutch execution since the C's do it time and time again, but I honestly believe that the Grizzlies played better than the Celtics tonight.
Even a moral victory is a tough loss though, huh? I honestly believed the Grizzlies would pull this one out. They had great contributions from Jamaal Tinsley and Hasheem Thabeet. Sam Young scored a little bit too. In what seems to be becoming the norm here in Memphis, there were three scorers over 20 points on the night.
Everything seemed to go right. Rudy Gay was showing his new aggressiveness, shocking the Celtics by getting to the line seemingly at will in the first half. O.J. Mayo was a rock solid shooter, Zach Randolph was being Zach Randolph, which, as it turns out, isn't so detrimental to a team.
The difference in the game was that the Grizzlies couldn't hit their threes, with a hand in their face or not. Rudy blew it by shooting 0-5 from deep, and OJAM's long ball wasn't exactly splashing tonight -- he shot 1-6. The Celtics, by the way, made 10-20 of their three pointers. Difference maker? I wonder.
Rockness Monster: It's tough, because I really liked O.J.'s game and he defense on Ray Allen, but I have to give this one to Rudy. I don't know if it's Coach Hollins, him just putting it all together, or steal-master Z-Bo's sage advice, but Rudy has finally figured out how to make his agility, awesome hands, and creepily long arms work to start some serious thievery. The 3 steals against Paul Pierce, just like the one's against Prince James, were just a bit bigger than huge.
U-Turn: Hasheem Thabeet posted 8 rebounds and 4 blocks in 18 minutes. This boy's learning how to play the game of basketball.
Bitter Limon: Is plus/minus really one-hundred-percent useful in a single game. No, not really. But after several solid performances, Mike Conley looked pretty mediocre and posted a team worst -12. Jamaal Tinsley tied his 4 assists. The difference is that Ashey Larry only played a third of the minutes and was the only Grizzlies with a positive plus/minus at +7.
Sleeping With the Enemy: Maybe it's my Midwestern sensibilities, but if there's one thing I hate more than the city of Boston, it's their sports teams. Don't care about the enemy. I have nothing to say terrible about the Celtics that I haven't already said a million times about Dancing With the Stars -- they're all fake, way past their prime, and their knees will be shot by the end of the year anyhow.