Sure, the Memphis Grizzlies did all that work to battle back from 20 points down against the San Antonio Spurs Sunday night only to lose in the end, but it's not all bad. Make the jump for some possible reasons why the Grizzlies can hold their heads high going into tonight's rematch with the Spurs in Memphis.
-- First, the obvious: The Grizzlies were down by a lot, then they made the Spurs look pretty bad. For a stretch you could actually call it a 35-8 run that Memphis put on the Spurs. It took Matt Bonner shooting like his hair was on fire (which, well, you know where that's going) and lots of Manu Ginobili antics to eventually push San Antonio, ever so slightly, into the winner's circle.
-- Zach Randolph missed a lot of shots, but they weren't all that silly. Missing 18 of 25 shots and scoring less than your shot total is not a good night by many measures, but in Randolph's defense, many of these clanks were not contested jumpers or offense-killing jacks. Often, Randolph was busy trying to bulldoze any Spur in sight as a means to finishing around the rim. Often, this resulted in misses and rebounds and probably a few bruises. Though sometimes this may have been the necessary maneuver, it's just not easy to make baskets and break faces at the same time. You can't fault the BOOM/SMASH mentality he played with, though.
-- Maybe Memphis would've won this game if O.J. Mayo scored more points than I did. Probably wouldn't hurt.
-- Manu Ginobili was super awesome, and they needed every bit of it. There's no doubt Ginobili could pull the same stunts tonight, and with Tony Parker's injury, more of the offense will likely run through him. Memphis has the perimeter defenders to throw at him, but they need to make the paint, uh, less inviting. I wouldn't make fun of his bald spot though, as it likely only angers him more. Maybe note how distinguished it makes him look, thus lulling him into daydreams of wearing velvet sweatsuits poolside while Argentinian supermodels feed him grapes straight from the vine. Because this is exactly what distinguished gentlemen do.
-- The Grizzlies were kinda screwed by the karma Gods after Tony Allen injured that referee. If they can avoid that tonight, they will avoid any nasty negative energy coming down from on high. It should be noted that David Stern controls the karma Gods, and he really doesn't need a good reason to use them. We do hope referee Tommy Nunez is okay.
-- REVENGE. The Grizzlies don't have to wait long for the chance at it. A few more hours, actually. That's always nice in terms of rage carry-over.
All told, there's really no reason to be all that upset with Sunday night, aside from the final outcome. It was in San Antonio, a ridiculously tough place to play thanks to the constant thumping of beats, which probably makes one believe they're in some sort of rave party for most of the game and, oh yeah; the Spurs are just really freaking good.
Tonight brings another chance. Stay tuned for a preview later this afternoon. What other silver linings did you take from Sunday night's effort, Grizz fans? Let us know in the comments.