Be known, the Memphis Grizzlies blew it last night. Big time. With a 27-point second-half lead, they somehow managed to lose to the Los Angeles Clippers, at home, mind you, in a historic-epic-shocking-stunning-failure of a fashion. It was not pretty. And no, things don't look good for the Grizzlies, who now have handed over home-court advantage to the Clippers. BUT, all is not lost. Some is, but not all.
Shall we start with this: it's one game in a series of seven possible games. It's one loss, one "historic" loss, that's here today, lingering on Tuesday and gone on Wednesday. In the end a loss of varying proportions counts as one loss. So we're at 0-1 in the series, the same as the Celtics, Nuggets, Knicks, Jazz, Pacers, 76ers, and Mavericks. Ours stings, it stinks and it really sucks. But we're not out of this series, and I think we need to take a step back and recognize that. We need to realize that the Grizzlies will make the proper adjustments, and that they'll learn from their mistakes. Namely, the one that took the clipboard out of Vinny Del Negro's hands.
What's tough about this loss is not that we didn't execute at all over the final nine minutes of the game, it's that Lionel Hollins, who is on the short-list for Coach of the Year, was grossly out-coaced by, yep, Chris Paul. Not Vinny Del Negro, but Paul. When VDN was ready to waive the white flag, Paul stepped forward and begged for him to let the Clippers make one final run. Just a great job by Paul, and yet another terrible job by VDN. But on the flip-side, from a Grizzlies perspective, can that and will that happen again this series? Of course not. Hollins will not be out-coached in this series by Del Negro, and he certainly won't let Paul get him again. That's not to say we won't lose another game, but if we do it won't be at the hands of Del Negro.
So take comfort in knowing that while Hollins isn't a perfect coach, he is one of the best in the game. One of the brightest and, typically, well-prepared for such moments as last night. He let one slip away, but that's not to say that the Grizzlies have let this series go. We're down but not out. Epic words, I know.
And then there's this, from our friends over at Yahoo!:
As it turns out, the last three teams to surrender a lead of 18 points or more in the fourth quarter of a playoff game — the 1994 Houston Rockets, 2002 New Jersey Nets and 2011 Dallas Mavericks — all advanced to the NBA Finals.
How about that. We're still in this! I know it's easy to fall into a state of despair (and on the flip, get a little ahead of ourselves when all things are greater than equal -- Um, I tweeted this at halftime last night, soooo....), but take the time to make your own adjustments. This is, without a doubt, the best Grizzlies team in franchise history. It's the best you have ever seen. So while you were confident in the 2010-11 Grizzlies as they pushed the Oklahoma City Thunder to seven games in the second round of the playoffs, remember that this team is better than that team was. Overcoming a tough-historic-epic-crippling-immense-back-breaking-soul-crushing loss is going to be tough. But the reason why you have the Grizzlies pegged as a championship contender this season is because you were confident they could overcome such moments that caused you to get blackout drunk last night. Not that I'm speaking from experience, but...
You know, I know, Clippers fans know, this series isn't over. Now, you tip your cap to the Clips and prepare for Game 2. That's all we need to do. Starting tomorrow. Today, go and play the sympathy card. But tomorrow we get back at it, writing about how we're title contenders and re-tweeting some killer words of wisdom from Tony Allen:
Thas on me grizz nation I didn't get the stop when I needed it for my team " but I will bounce back" believe that" cause I believe
C'mon. How does that NOT GET YOU UP FOR GAME 2!?!