Yet, Superman is about as clutch as they come, and last year so was Rudy (this year: not so much, but hopefully he'll find it). If anyone is capable of carrying this team on his shoulders, it's Rudy and with any luck we'll be seeing more Superman and less Clark Kent to come.
I'm not trying to self-promote, but that's what I wrote in yesterday's article. I guess Rudy must've seen this one, because he just went ahead and proved me right. For the night, he did his best Black Mamba impression and hit tough shot after tough shot, it was pretty amazing to watch. I'm probably the biggest Rudy apologist here at SOV, and so for at least one night I feel vindicated.
In all seriousness, this game wasn't really anything special outside of a few highlight reel plays. Essentially, the Grizzlies played just like they were supposed to: we were in control for most of the game, Marc, Rudy, and Mike put in star-worthy performances, our bench played reasonably well, and we won the game. The only moment of concern was when the Hornets put together a nice little run together in the 4th and closed the considerable margin. On the one hand, I feel like I should be concerned about our team letting a bad team back into the ballgame, but on the other, it gave a chance for Rudy to do that thing he do. With less than 2:30 to go in the fourth, and the Grizzlies up by 7, Rudy got the ball out on the perimeter, crossed over a few times, rose up, and hit a 3 in former-Grizzly Grevis Vasquez's face.
Here a couple more things worth mentioning:
- Memphis was only outrebounded by 3 in this game. Part of our problem since Zach went down is that our team rebounding has suffered. With Zach and Marc healthy, it allows our guards to get down the court when a shot goes because they know they can rely on our bigs to get the board. Unfortunately, heading into this game, we were 26th in rebounding, and it's hurt our offense.
- Mike Conley had a nifty little play in the first. He started about 3 feet back from the top of the key, shot past Jarrett Jack (who was caught by a nice pick set by Speights), faked right, and shot past the help man Kaman, made it under the basket, and dished to Marc for a two-handed slam. Conley's one of the fastest guys in the league, and I always love to see him turn on the jets.
- Speaking of Speights, he had himself a nice little outing: 12 points on 4-5 shooting, 3 boards, 2 assists and a block in 17 minutes of play.
- No one was getting "Alex Smith'd" on either side tonight. Everyone played about how you'd expect them to.
- The Grizzlies are now within one game of .500, but our next opponent is the Bulls. Yikes.
Your Grizzly of the Game: After gushing about Rudy for 2 paragraphs, I'm going to surprise you guys and choose Marc. 20 points on 13 shots to go along with 11 rebounds, and +13.
...Uhmm...Who is That? (Obscure Player Shout-out): Carldell Johnson, 28-year-old Alabama-Birmingham alumnus.