It was the worst possible scenario for the Grizzlies on Wednesday night. Coming off a triple-overtime loss where their bigs each played 57 minutes and having to play on the road just some 48 hours later, where the Grizz have been less than stellar, you could see how Memphis was doomed from the get.
I'll admit, I had thought the Grizzlies were well gassed up after the first quarter. It wasn't a flawless quarter, but they did force 9 turnovers (which lead to just 7 points) in the first 12 minutes and were able to hold the game tied at 17-17. Again, it wasn't pretty, but at the very least it seemed as if the Thunder and Grizzlies were as equally gassed. Well, that obviously wasn't the case.
Let's get the horrific numbers out of the way.
- Grizzlies shot 35.9% from the field; 60.9% from the free-throw line.
- They were out-rebounded 50-33.
- Grizzlies shot 14-27 (51.9%) at the rim and 8-21 (38.1%) from 3 to 9 feet from the basket.
- They posted a 78.3 Offensive Efficiency Rating with a 37.2 effective field gold percentage.
- Posted 15 assists to 14 turnovers.
- Marc Gasol was the only Grizz to score in double figures (15 points).
- Nick Collison outplayed Zach Randolph.
I'd like think we can rattle off a few positives from last night, but you really have to take the pluses in this game with a grain of salt. Hey the Grizzlies held Russell Westbrook
and Kevin Durant
to a combined 30 points! Awesome! Well, yeah, considering Westbrook played 25 minutes and Durant just 30. Hey, they held Westbrook to 5 shots in the paint! Again, we can't read much into those numbers considering the Thunder had held onto a double-digit lead from early on in the 3rd quarter and beyond.
The Grizzlies clearly struggled through both a physical and mental toll which came as a result of their Game 4 loss. It was obvious as the game went along.
My biggest complaint was that Lionel Hollins
opted to play some of his starters longer than was necessary. These guys are already gassed! There's no reason why Marc Gasol should have been in there in the 4th quarter at the 5-minute mark with the team down by 20 points. Not when you have a must-win game on Friday. Randolph should not have played 36 minutes. He was ineffective and tired. Think about the series as a whole and not trying to earn mental victories. It was clear that Z-Bo and Gasol both needed to rest, and I can't see why Hollins would have even bothered putting them in there once the game got out of hand in the 4th quarter.
Sure, I've thought about how we've already "won" the playoffs by defeating the top-seeded Spurs
, taking the Thunder to 6/7 games, and doing it all without Rudy Gay
. But I won't be one to say that this series is over. We have a winnable home game on our hands this Friday. Despite the 3-OT loss in Game 4, we're still among the toughest teams to beat on our home gym.
For now, let's just hope our bigs resting, soaking, or whatever it is they do which gets them ready to battle in the post. We need to see fresher legs on Friday!