I think the only thing that would have made that hurt more is if
I dug out my heart with a salad fork Thabeet had posterized Gasol on a windmill dunk to win the game.
Breathe. Compose yourself. You can sweep up all the broken glass later. To the recap...
After the first period it was looking like this one would finish somewhere in the 40-38 range. The Grizz got off to a nice start with Zbo looking to assert himself early and the Thunder shaking off some jitters and funky play. We kept OKC's Community* standing for several minutes before Durant started to get in his rhythm, and unfortunately he'd never really come out of it again. OKC brought out the zone defense and forced us to look for perimeter shots - with us taking 8 beyond the arc - and missing 7 of those over the course of about 7 minutes. Although both teams shot abysmally in the 1st, it was a little unsettling to see us getting out of our game so early on. Jarry D aka Yella Yella aka Please Call Me Yello Yello Bayless looked like he might heat up early, but the Thunder made it a point to stifle him after his hot start .... sorta like we shoulda done with Kevin Martin methinks? ...
The 2nd Q saw some of our worst fears start to manifest themselves like demons crawling out of a brimstone-reeking-coagulation of pure darkness and evil. Hyperbole aside, the Kevins were making mincemeat of our paint, hitting ridiculous shots and getting silly And1's tallied up to the point where I'm sure Chris Paul was belting out fervent "AMEN!"s from his couch. We did a standup job of weathering the storm and stayed toe-to-toe with the Thunder once we figured out how to get the ball back inside to the Big Fellas. I was, personally, a mixed bag of emotions at halftime. You could feel the Grizzlies starting to figure things out, but, as someone commented on a previous post, having Kevin Durant and Kevin Martin both heat up so early is not our recipe for success. We'd go into the locker room only down by 1, but the 14 and 15 pts respectively for Durant and Martin were turning my stomach a bit.
And then I got to listen to Magic Johnson at halftime. Weeeee!
Remember when it was the end of the 3rd quarter, and the Grizzlies had just Ground out a spectacular 12 minutes that embodied how we beat teams? Mike Conley looked like an elite point guard, we were moving the ball and racking up the dimes, Qpon was hitting 3's like Ray Allen and summoning the mashup spirit of Shane Battier & Rudy Gay, Austin Daye was on the bench and I think there might have even been a few rays of sunshine outside. Yeah those were good times. Maybe I should just end the recap here while I still have an appetite. We really looked poised to steal this one with how we played in the 3rd quarter. The Kevins continued to score and get to the line, however, they had their fair share of misses and bad shots mixed in. Five Grizzlies in double digit points at the end of the 3rd and Qpon hitting an amazing buzzer beater; we had it. We had the momentum, the pace ... the look. How foolish I was - I was doing my best to ignore the 53% FT shooting - and that really came back to bite us in the ass.
Up by 9 points with twelve minutes to play!
Then it all.... just... kinda.....fell apart.
It actually took a while to fall apart, too. The Grizzlies maintained a 7 pt lead with just 6:25 to play. Then Kevin Durant happened ... er .. continued happening. Mix that in with the fact that Conley couldn't buy a basket or get to the line, throw in a dash of Gasol missing some untimely shots that he usually makes, sprinkle on a little bit of going 6/9 from the line and that actually raising our overall %, and you've got an Alton Brown quality recipe for perfect game-choking disaster a la Grizzly. Oh did I mention that with 2.9 seconds left we were given a GIFT of a moronic foul by Reggie Jackson when Qpon rose up for a potentially game tying 3 point shot? Yeah, 3 shots to tie the game. AAAAANNNNND..... miss. doink, clang, doh, fart, boink, brick, bangalangalang ... choose your sound effect. All it sounded like to me, honestly, was my adrenaline-ravaged-heart falling from somewhere in my chest down into my shins. After a make and an intentional miss, we Grizzlies fans were further tortured when Gasol gets a rebound .1 seconds too late and actually has his hail mary flip shot goal-tended .... then reviewed and squashed even though it wasn't even close to coming off his hands in time. The Grizz were beaten at their own game, being out-hustled and giving up ridiculous turnovers down the stretch.
Well, now that I'm sobbing and rocking back and forth while sucking my thumb - we should look ahead. It's a heartbreaker, but we should be encouraged with the matchups we'll have the rest of the way. It took the Grizzlies 1.5 games to even begin to figure out the Clippers so to see our boys come out and come that close to stealing one should act as a mental Tums for the acid reflux of anguish that comes with a loss such as this. It's quite a bugger to go from worrying about CP3 to worrying about the Durantula, but Durant will get his 30 ... I say give it to him** and focus more on stopping his supporting cast - Kevin Martin and Reggie Jackson.
GnG. On to Tuesday. But the Boys in Beale St Blue can't let another opportunity like this slip away.
Worthy of Note:
- I really hope Treat Tony comes to play on Tuesday. TA being limited to 20 minutes is not going to favor our attempts to keep the Kevins under wraps. (84 seconds of play in the 4th Q - sad face)
- Sir Chewbacca (h/t to Fajotni), Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison were a combined 3/19 from the field. Zbo, Gasol and Arthur were a combined 16/33. Inspiring yet frustrating at the same time. We have the paint dominated if we can just get it there.
- Overall the stats were very close for both teams, with the defining differential being our 58% FT shooting compared to the Thunder's 88%
- Good thing we traded for Ed Davis.
- No technical fouls called. I expect that to start changing.
- Quincy Pondexter is taking this game especially hard. I'd encourage anyone on the Twitter box to send him some positive messages and give him some love.
*Community? Really? Will the next shirts say "Friendship" or just "XOXO"? Or is this one of those creative ad campaigns that'll have Tuesday's shirt say "Starring Joel McHale" with "8/7c on NBC" rally flags?
** Anyone else notice the defensive move a couple of Grizz pulled on Durant where he was driving in the lane and instead of trying to match his movement they calmly step to the side and give him about 4-5 ft to shoot? Not sure if it was intentional or just bad rotation, but it seemed to throw Durant off a couple of times.