Matt Moore is an NBA writer for CBS Sports Eye on Basketball and the founder and Editor Emeritus of Hardwood Paroxysm. He is also one of the Internet's most famous Griz fans not named Timberlake. Matt was actually the guy who recommended that I try to get on the staff of Straight Outta Vancouver back in the day.
The thing that Matt and I have the most in common, though, is that games between the Grizzlies and Clippers make us nervous wrecks. Matt calls this the PEPTO/WHISKEY series, and I'm sure a lot of you can relate. I asked him five questions about where things are right now headed into tonight's Game 6 in Memphis, and he was gracious enough to take time and answer them.
1. We've commiserated on Twitter about the high anxiety involved in watching the Grizzlies play the Clippers. What is it about this matchup that causes so many Griz fans so much psychological anguish?
IT'S THE WORST. THAT'S WHY IT IS SO HORRIBLE. BECAUSE IT IS THE WORST. You can't guard Chris Paul (at least over seven games, they did a killer job for three games). Blake Griffin is athletic and underrated. Jamal Crawford just makes you terrified with hitting jumpers.
It's the flopping, in part. It's also that this team has out-muscled, out-worked, and out-dirtied a muscling, hard working, borderline-dirty Grizzlies team at times. Throw in the GAME WE SHALL NOT MENTION and it's all bad.
2. Do the Grizzlies miss Rudy Gay? Just kidding. Do you think both coaches' jobs are on the line in this series? Is that reasonable?
I don't think Hollins' is because the new ownership group are going to look more at process than results. They could win but if it doesn't look good or they can't come to an agreement on getting along, it won't matter. Likewise they could lose but like where the roster is headed and retain him.
[Vinnie Del Negro] is probably gone any way. IF they're having this much trouble with a team that can't hit jumpshots, what do they do as the playoffs go on, should they advance?
3. Did you think Z-Bo had another year of postseason play at this level in him? If I'm honest, I wasn't sure.
I did. Whether he's able to do it consistently is another question, and whether he would another. But the guy's game isn't dependent on athleticism and he showed enough through the year. Paul Pierce, you watched him this season and he had more games where he looked old than young. Not the same with ZBo. But it doesn't change that his aggression in the past three games has been truly inspiring. And glorious.
4. How are you feeling about Game 6 (other than the normal soul-crushing Grizzlies/Clippers anxiety)? If the Grizzlies can't win Game 6 at home, do you think they can win a Game 7 in LA?
They have to treat it like a Game 7. They HAVE to. This is it. Home crowd gone nuts. Beale Street in May. Grizzlies Day at City Hall. Game 6. End the Rudy Gay talk. End the questions about this team. Shut up the hype machine out of L.A.. Kill the ghosts of that 30-point collapse. This is a huge moment in Grizzlies history.
THEY HAVE. TO WIN. THIS GAME.
5. What did you think of the moment in Game 5 where Chris Paul stopped playing until the ref called a foul? We all know superstars get calls in the NBA, but doesn't it seem like Paul has some sort of extra Jedi mind power over officials? And what about all those dumb double fouls on Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph? Shouldn't officiating in the playoffs be a little better than this?
Concerning fouls, it does Memphis fans no good to get rattled by it. It's part of it. They're going to get the calls. That's the NBA and it's unavoidable. They have to live with it. Drawing fouls is a skill and it comes with respect. The best way to not have to worry about it? Win by 20.
The double fouls are completely asinine and an attempt to try and keep order, something the officials have sucked at all year.