Mar 22, 2012; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Raymond Felton (5) drives past Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley (11) at the Rose Garden. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-US PRESSWIRE
To be honest, this is the kind of game that I really hate to recap. In a tightly-contested game with a superior opponent, you can at least take solace in the fact that while Rocky may not have beaten Apollo Creed, he pushed him to the limit. Likewise, we may not have beaten the Lakers last week without Rudy and Zach, but we took them into double overtime. On the other hand, blowout losses are much easier to swallow in that they can usually be written off as a fluke (unless you're the Wizards). You can't do either of those things with games like last night. Let's examine why for a moment:
- Although they have several great players, Portland is pretty much in tank-mode after the trade deadline, meaning that it was truly a winnable (or should-win) game.
- Memphis is coming off several losses to bad opponents (more on that later) and should have come out tonight ready to compete.
- Heading into the 4th quarter, the Grizzlies were actually in the lead.
- Tony Allen (!!!) went off for 11 points in the 4th quarter.
Basically, Memphis had no right to lose last night, but they did anyway. I could go on for another 500 words, but that's a waste of everybody's time, especially when I can summarize it in three sentences and less than 40 words: the Grizzlies didn't give a damn about playing transition defense or defending the 3-point line. Also, Portland went 25-25 from the free throw line, which is kind of neat, while Memphis went 16-23. We lost by four points.
Now, if you're counting at home, this makes the Grizzlies 1-4 in their last five games. All but one came at the hands of teams under .500. Even including the Lakers, those teams are a combined 82-104. If there's anything good that can be said about last night, it's that the Clippers lost to the pathetic Hornets, so we're still holding onto the 4th seed. Yet, if we would have beaten Portland, Sacramento, and Toronto, we'd be 28-16 and the 3rd seed in the West. Also, in this fantasy universe Rudy Gay is MVP. I can dream.