Finally, everything clicked! When the Grizzlies needed it the most, they came up with their biggest performance of the year. It was the Grizzlies night from the beginning. As a matter of fact, there were countless times throughout the course of the game where I caught myself smiling and saying "this is the Grizzlies night."
In an awesome pre-game ceremony, Marc Gasol received his well deserved Defensive Player of The Year Award from Dikembe Mutombo... This was the Grizzlies night.
Zach Randolph returned to 2011 playoffs form and had a man's man game, posting 27 points and 11 rebounds... This was the Grizzlies night.
Chris Paul received a technical. That's right, the Point god received a technical... This was the Grizzlies night.
Paul was also held to an underwhelming 8 points on 4-11 shooting... This was the Grizzlies night.
18,000 vociferous, synchronized fans shouted "FLOPPER, FLOPPER, FLOPPER" at Blake Griffin as he shot free throws... This was the Grizzlies night.
Quincy Pondexter, after posting 5 points in Game 1 and 0 points in Game 2, carried the bench with 13 points in Game 3... This was the Grizzlies night.
After allowing the Clippers 98 offensive possessions in Game 1 and 100 offensive possessions in Game 2, the Grizzlies held them to 93 possessions in Game 3 while posting a series high 107 offensive possessions themselves... This was the Grizzlies night.
Y'all get the point. The Grizzlies were determined to have their way with the Clippers tonight, and there wasn't a damn thing the Clippers could do about it.
1st Quarter: The game started incredibly slow, and our very own Grizzly Bear Blues twitter account put it best:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>This game is liable to end up 40-35.</p>— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) <a href="https://twitter.com/sbnGrizzlies/status/327602026517250048">April 26, 2013</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Z-Bo had a bit of a coming out party tonight for the first time in the 2013 NBA Playoffs. He looked like an indomitable force from the start of the game, posting 13 points in the first quarter. Randolph also played very well against Griffin defensively, and only 2 of Griffin's 10 first quarter points came with Randolph guarding him. Over the course of the game, it looked like Z-Bo has finally figured out how to guard Griffin, which is to give him space and not let him spin around you for an easy dunk, so that's promising for the rest of the series. As you can see, the first quarter was very much a battle of the big men. While Conley had an atrocious scoring game, he more than compensated for that with his assist numbers. He got 5 of his 10 assists in the first quarter. The quarter finished with the Grizzlies leading 23-20, which is exactly what we wanted. It was shaping up to be a lower scoring, ugly game.
2nd Quarter: Lionel Hollins opted to open the quarter with a lineup of Keyon Dooling, Jerryd Bayless, Quincy Pondexter, Darrell Arthur, and Ed Davis. Ugh. This lineup surprisingly held their own, outscoring the Clippers 6-2 until Mike Conley was subbed in for Dooling only one and a half minutes into the quarter. With Conley's steadying presence, this lineup was able to do its job, posting a plus-minus of only -1 until a second starter, Tayshaun Prince, reentered the game at the 9:34 mark of the second quarter. While a plus-minus of -1 is usually not good, that is excellent considering how the Grizzlies second unit has played in the series thus far. It also must be said that any time the Grizzlies bench holds their own in this series, that gives the Grizzlies a huge advantage because their starters can afford to rest more minutes.
The Grizzlies got a well-rounded scoring effort with Z-Bo posting the most points, 5, of any Grizzly during the second quarter. On the Clippers front, some bad defense between Darrell Arthur and Jerryd Bayless allowed Matt Barnes to go for 9 points in the quarter. With his big quarter coming off the bench, I couldn't help but thinking that the Clippers bench could lead to the Grizzlies demise in yet another game of this series. The Grizzlies headed into halftime with a 47-39 lead, their first halftime lead of the series. Yet another sign that this was just the Grizzlies night.
3rd Quarter: The third quarter was a push with both teams scoring 23, and the Grizzlies just held their ground. Grizzlies still up 8 heading into the final quarter of play. When Randolph is Zbounding like he was tonight, the Grizzlies are tough to beat. There were a couple of times tonight where Randolph made the Clippers look like school boys. The play below is one of those plays. This play was not only big for Z-Bo, but for the Grizzlies continued momentum after halftime as well.
4th quarter: The fourth quarter is when some weird
s*it stuff started happening for Pondexter. If you would have come up to me before the game and told me that Pondexter would finish with not one but two and 1s and they would both come at the rim, I would have 1.) asked you if you just came from either Colorado or Washington and 2.) said gimme some of what you're having.
Here is a video of Pondexter's first and 1 of the game:
Pondexter's second and 1:
MIND... BLOWN!! What world do we live in where Quincy Pondexter scores multiple and 1s in an NBA game!? Both of Pondexter's and 1s in the fourth came at crucial points where the Clippers were just starting to chip into the Grizzlies lead. Who knew that Pondexter would be the one that put two daggers through the Clippers' collective heart in game 3?
- The Grizzlies can't expect Chris Paul to post such low scoring numbers again.
- We are going to have to continue to find ways to limit the Clippers bench production. The Clippers outscored the Grizzlies bench 35-30 in Game 3, which is not bad at all. It is probably still not good enough to allow the Grizzlies to steal four games from the Clippers.
- Mike Conley continues to impress and show that he can proficiently run a playoff team at the point guard position. Conley finished tonight 1-9 from the field with just 6 points, but just like all good point guards do he found other ways to have an impact on the game. He finished with 10 assists. Also, Conley was outstanding on defense and was largely responsible for holding Chris Paul to just 8 points.
- Tony Allen had a nice offensive night to go along with his usual stellar defensive performance. Allen almost finished with a double double, posting 13 points and 9 rebounds. Allen has had only two double doubles thus far in the 2012-13 season, with both coming in the regular season. So coming that close is extremely positive.