This play, shot and resulting score may look insignificant when you measure its three points against the season as a whole for the Memphis Grizzlies, but I think we might be able to eventually read much more into it if my optimism rings true.
The Grizzlies have been on a little kick of winning a game and then losing a game, not the strategy they need to have for securing a playoff spot with substantial ground still to cover in the Western Conference. Things have been going fairly well, but Memphis needs a "really well" to reach any of their season goals. Marc Gasol had given the Grizzlies a boost since his return from an MCL sprain, but he still has looked hampered and hesitant compared to the Wendigo we all know. Little did I know that we were in for a Gasolian evening last night.
Memphis' first quarter against the Cavs (and still even into much of the second quarter) did not look like the Grizzlies team that fans hoped to see chomping at the bit on the first day of March. I even found myself with wandering thoughts and plodding actions of food prep for dinner because I had no specific desire to rush from the kitchen to the living room to see the latest rainbow-swish from the Cavaliers.
And then this incredible shot from Marc Gasol happened. I found myself clapping for the first time during the game, and perhaps even smiling for the first time. My huffs and puffs were quelled with a surge of optimism from Gasol's amazing feat. We weren't down double digits, and the Griz scored 20+ points to avoid the maddening scenario of another first quarter ending in the teens points-wise.
The half court+ heave wasn't an instant spark, by any means. The Cavs would continue on the path of the juggernaut with effortless scoring on a lethargic Grizzlies defense, but it did seem to instigate some offensive drive for the Grizzlies in the second quarter. Offense that snowballed into a ferocious avalanche in the 3rd and 4th quarters. The crowd and the defensive intensity were vital elements in last night's surge, and I think that Grizznocity possibly grew out of the seed that Marc Gasol planted at the end of the first quarter.
I hope it's a seed of the kudzu varietal. The Grizzlies need a helluva week.