Well boys, tonight the Grizzlies put on a full display of their talents. They showed us the lethargic, I forgot there was a game today Grizzlies. They showed us the “Pound it inside and ride the big fellas” Grizzlies. They showed us the “Stingy defense and force a ton of turnovers” Grizzlies. They even showed us a little bit of the “Dear God, I’m ready for baseball season” Grizzlies. But despite the many faces Memphis put on display tonight, the most important thing is, they got the victory, in one of the most grit and grind games of the season.
The whole thing started off weird. I paid with a $20 bill for a $5 parking lot, and the attendant took a full minute to give me my change because his fingers were having trouble gripping the money. The lady that sang the National Anthem came out in a prom dress with a guitar around her neck. She never once strummed the guitar, and did some of the weirdest hand gestures you will see from anyone not Miming or doing sign language. Even my favorite Grizz Girl was a little off tonight. Then the game started.
It really was a tale of two halves. The first one being tentatively titled “We Suck, We Suck: Dear God, Why Do We Suck?!”
They had to tip the ball twice to start the game, because neither Chris Kaman (CA-RIS! KAAA-MAN!) or Marc Gasol could get a hand on it. On the second tip, Marc got smashed in the eye, yelled a profanity, and gave us a pretty great glimpse as to what the first half was going to look like. Dallas got off to a 16–2 lead with the Grizzlies taking two (2!) timeouts before four minutes had ticked off the clock. The first Memphis bucket didn’t fall until Austin Daye hit a jumper with 6:47 left to go in the quarter. Dallas would double up Memphis 38–19 after the first quarter.
The second quarter started off in similarly poor fashion. The Grizzlies scored one (1!!) point in the first 4:38 of the period, on a Marc Gasol free throw. Dallas started the quarter on a 13–7 run, which saw their lead expand to 25. The Grizzlies battled back, forcing turnovers, and getting a few nice transition buckets, culminating in Darrell Arthur stealing an inbounds pass meant for Dirk “The Jerk” Nowitzki and taking it the other way for a dunk. The strong closing helped them pull to within 13 to close the half.
Then the second half began. We’ll give this one the working title of “Oh Yeah! We Can Be World Beaters!”
The Grizzlies started the quarter on an 18–0 run to take control of the game. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combined for 16 points in the quarter, reminding us all they really are All-Stars and still really can (and should be) carrying this team. The Grizzlies signature defense also showed its face in the quarter, as they forced 7 turnovers in rout to giving up only 5 points. Anytime you’re forcing more turnovers than points allowed, you know you’re doing something right.
The Mavs would fight back in the fourth, but the Grizzlies would never relinquish their lead. Zach Randolph finished with 22 and 10 with 4 assists, and his twin brother from a Spanish mother posted an eerily similar line of 21/12/5.
This wasn’t an overly great victory, Memphis shot well under 40% from the floor, including an atrocious 2/13 night from Mike Conley, but it sure was nice to see the boys battle back from a huge deficit and get a victory. This was the Grizzlies 8th straight victory, and they now head to Miami to try and cool off the red hot Heat.
That’s not a slight. When discussing this with my brother tonight, I told him I’d still run away with her right now if she wanted and leave him at the arena. Alone. He’s 11. ↩
It feels like every time Dirk comes to Memphis, he puts on his little baby pants. He was complaining ALL night long, even when they were up, and it is beyond me how he didn’t get T’d up in this one. ↩