The following was the recap I was working on before the most amazing thing I've ever seen happened:
The sparse crowd at FedexForum gave a warm welcome to another Rudy Gay return Thursday night, and the Grizzlies themselves brought out the welcome mat for Rudy and Co. as they played disinterested basketball and allowed the Kings to sprint out to an early lead in the game.
Besides the effort of Memphis, a questionable start for Tayshaun Prince over the recently en fuego Courtney Lee left the offense hamstrung until Kosta Koufos and Jon Leuer brought a little spark off the bench. Kosta would get into some quick foul trouble, however, and the Grizzlies struggled to find anyone else who could play with urgency and precision.
Memphis halfway whittled down Sacramento's lead before hafltime, but a lazy finish squandered some opportunities to put themselves within a comfortable range for a second half comeback.
The Kings would come out with a purpose in the 3rd and quickly get the Grizzlies into foul trouble, driving to the basket at will and snagging rebounds with similar ease. Outside of the valiant scoring combo of 19 pts from Zach and Marc in the quarter, it didn't seem as though Memphis had the firepower to fight their way out of the corner they'd backed themselves into.
Much of this game was summed up by the final play of the 3rd quarter when Darren Collison took four remaining seconds and awkwardly split two defenders to heave up an underhanded three pointer that was destined to find net. It extended the Kings lead to 15 going into the final period, a deficit the Grizzlies likely couldn't overcome.
The following is what I tried to put into words when the Grizzlies started on their journey towards history:
Ummmmm, BUT THEN... the 4th quarter happened. And the spirit of Memphis crept into the Grindhouse like a predatory phantom. The shots started falling, the Wendigo started howling, and the Memphis Grizzlies remembered that they reside in Hoop City, USA.
I'm not sure how to explained what I just witnessed, folks. It wasn't as if someone for the Griz suddently went atomic, it was Grit and Grind at its absolute finest. A very slow boil came to a head in the final minutes of the games, and Memphis clamped down defensively to leave themselves a 1 point deficit with 0.3 seconds to inbound the ball. Dave Joerger would make a brilliant call that saw Vince Carter lobbing a pass towards the rim as a cutting Courtney Lee would make the catch and put in a reverse layup as time expired to give Memphis its biggest comeback victory in franchise history.
The Grizzlies are 8-1 and in high spirits after stealing one from Sacramento and protecting their home court once again.
More to come on this amazing game from GBB!