Tayshaun with his patented ‘step back and throw off the camera man’ buzzer beater!
How many thought we would come back from the road trip 4-0?
- Figure out some semblance of a rotation, work in some chemistry
- One good win against a Conference rival
- Play some grind it out basketball
The first occurred with the emergence of Koufos as a contributor, and believe it or not, as only one year older than Ed Davis, seems set as the main reserve big over Davis and Leuer. Wins over the Lakers and Kings were patchy but still wins, but the game over the Clippers was great, as they matched LA blow for blow on offense while also employing great team defensive strategies.
Which comes to this game, which for a few reasons resembled the classic Grit and Grind basketball Memphis fans have come to love. It had all the ingredients, poor three point shooting, huge line-ups and an awesome power forward matchup (no, not Kevin Love and Blake). The game was captivating until the final buzzer, with some vintage Tayshaun Prince sealing the win for the Griz.
It should be noted that Stephen Curry was out with a migraine, and with him, the style of the play (and the final score, maybe), could have been drastically different. The opening line-up for the Warriors was huge:
Iggy 6’6 // Thompson 6’7 // Barnes 6’6 // Lee 6’9 // Bogut 7’0
And from the tip, the Warriors looked to post Conley, either through switches with Klay or straight post ups from Iggy. This shot them in the foot down the stretch, as it slowed down their pace, right what the Grizzlies wanted (it was effective in patches against the 6’1 Conley and Bayless).
A slow opening quarter for the Griz had Conley shooting 1/6 and Zbo 2/7. The offense started to break down after the easy shots weren’t falling, and Memphis started to settle for straight post-ups too far from the basket (a recurring theme for the night). Past games have seen nice ball movement leading to the entry pass in deep position for Zach, so tonight was a little disappointing in this area.
(Lazy, straight up, feed the post play, Zach a little too far from the bucket. He had 22 points so maybe i should stop compaining)
On defense, the Warriors were breaking us down through nice passing from Iggy on the pick and roll, or through movement generated from post-ups. We were doubling Lee, as well as whoever Conley had to guard in the post, early on, which generated a few easy looks for Golden State.
The Grizzlies grinded along through this quarter, with a lot of Conley pounding the ball on the court, a few free throws made and Koufos shooting a deep mid range jumper (never again please Kosta). Again the Warriors worked to take advantage of the Thompson – Bayless matchup, and Jerryd defended well despite his height.
Defense kept them in this quarter, as they closed out on shooters (0-5 from three), and made the Warriors pound it down low, where they were effective but played to our pace, with 14 of 18 points this quarter coming from the inside for Golden State.
I hope these Grizzlies are the ones we see the rest of the year, and to be honest I didn’t even care what happened the rest of the game after this move.
It was in this quarter that Golden State were punished for trying to play the Grizzlies style of play, as they outrebounded them by 5 and had 7 second chance points. Iggy and Thompson struggled this quarter adjusting without Curry, as they shot a combined 2/9, calling their own number when it looked like they should have tried to feed Lee a bit more, who was shredding Z-bo with his speed down low. Conley finally started to sink shots, and was defending well in the post, fronting with aggression and burning down seconds on GSW’s shot clock. The slow pace was again evident, but the Griz were starting to take advantage.
A fourth quarter shoot-out wasn’t really on the cards, more a kind of grind-out. Things started getting a little chippy, before Mike Miller hit perhaps the most open three he’s ever taken.
(Z-bo is somewhere in that blurry bit fighting everyone)
Klay Thompson started making shots, whilst David Lee and Z-bo had a battle in the post that I was shocked only equated to 9 points combined. (Zach hit a big crowd silencer for the and-1 play with 5 minutes left). Over the last 5 minutes only 10 points were scored, mainly the result of both teams pounding it down low despite dominant interior defenders, Bogut and Gasol.
Overtime started with Conley showing just how cold his blood is, hitting a wild layup and another three with a defender running his way. Zach played perhaps the most risky defense ever (TA was obviously in his mind) on three consecutive possessions, but Golden State seemed to struggle with it for two reasons, one, they realised there’s a BIG man rushing at you, and two, Gasol is darn good at keeping Bogut in check and challenging shots at the rim.
The slow pace clearly favoured the Griz, but nothing favoured the gassed Warriors, as all starters had played at least 38 minutes to start OT (Barnes, Klay, Iggy all played 42). This gritty affair ended with perhaps the best basketball moment ever, with Tayshaun hitting the stepback over Iggy with 0.2 seconds left, throwing off the camera man on his way to matching his season high of four field goals made.
(Greatest moment ever)
So all in all, this was the grittiest game in recent Griz memory, but let’s not get too overboard. If Steph had been playing, or if the Warriors decided against posting up Klay or Iggy on every single play, maybe the result may have been different. The Grizzlies ball movement was fairly vomit worthy bar a few occasions, but the way the Grizzlies clawed, fought and battled each possession showed why we’ve all come to love this team. A low scoring, high offensive rebounding game where the winners shot 38%, ahhhh, Grizzlies basketball is back!
(Yes I am struggling to not get overboard after we’ve gone 4-0 on this road trip)