I'm pretty much sick of moral victories, but... last night against the Lakers, we definitely picked one up. Don't get me wrong, when you're in the midst of a playoff run in mid-March, a loss is tough to swallow. Plain and simple. But seeing as we were without Zach Randolph (still) and Rudy Gay (concussion), we can rest easy knowing that in our 116-11 double-OT loss... eh, who am I kidding. This one really hurt.
In a typical Grizzlies fashion, we shot poorly from beyond the arc (2-of-19) and we struggled to get to the free-throw line (just five attempts). Those are two huge concerns we've pointed out a number of times this season -- and one we hoped to address at the trade deadline. I've said it a thousand times before, and I'll say it again, we can never live, but only die by the three. We just don't have the talent to stretch the floor. O.J. Mayo (0-for-8 from downtown) and Mike Conley (0-for-3) are good for an occasional trey, but outside of that, we're a lost cause.
Plenty of credit goes to Marreese Speights who played a strong game, offensively, and to the entire team for winning the turnover battle (8:18), but the clutch stops and crunch-time shooting shall remain a hindrance for this team. Sure, when Randolph returns he'll become our "finisher," for better or worse, but outside of Z-Bo, we don't have a closer. And that can be a serious issue in the playoffs.
As for the Lakers, well, all you need to know about their performance can be found in this 3-minute instructional video on how to dissect the Memphis Grizzlies!
Yup, he simply punished us. Game went to Bynum, especially down the stretch and in the overtime periods. We just had no answer for him. And for that, we lost a tough game... yet won the moral victory. Of course I'm kidding. There are no moral victories when you're a title contender, which me most certainly have proven to be.
For more on the Lakers: Silver Screen and Roll