Final Score: Sacramento 110 - Memphis 111
RECAP & *NOTES
Earlier at the morning shoot-around getting ready for the game, Marc Gasol shared some words with Rob Fischer: "We know we can play better. The record is good. We have to keep playing."
The Kings averaged 111.2 points (*That 1.2 points would have been also the difference in this game) during a previous and surprising five-game win streak. But their two recent loses at Oklahoma and Dallas didn't build any momentum for them coming into the Grindhouse, home of the NBA's best defensive team, and where the Grizzlies have won the last 17 games played.
- Starting 5 for the Kings: Darren Collison, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, Jason Thompson, and DeMarcus Cousins.
- Starting 5 for the Grizzlies: Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Tayshaun Prince, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol.
- The game began with a crazy so-called alley-oop pass from Zbo to Tony, and the notes in my notebook say: "Really Memphis? Are we gonna start doing alley-oops now, after several years of good old fashioned style of basketball?" (*Yeah, it's funny how things work out sometimes. See more about this later).
- Cousins made the first bucket showing Marc that he has also good shooting range.
- Then Zbo missed, Gasol missed, and Allen missed another. After that, we all knew a slow start was coming.
- Rudy made his first bucket of the game testing the speed of Prince and the blocking ability of Randolph. (*Damn it Rudy! How smooth and talented you are!)
- Marc converted two free throws and woke up the scoreboard for the Grizzlies.
- The crowd realized that a slow start was already established at the FedEX when the following non beautiful sequence took place: Cousins for two / Marc misses / Zbo misses / Tony misses / Pete Pranica says Grizzlies are shooting 0-7 / Collison hits another two / Tony misses again / Cousins &1 / Kings 11-2 / Joerger time-out.
- Memphis defense keeps almost not playing during the whole period, and painful things like these continued to happen while points for the Kings kept coming and coming.
- On the other side, Pondexter hit an incredibly long 3 (*I sincerely thought that triple was going to be a game-season changer for Q, but nope, I think it wasn't) which let Memphis "only" down by 22 (33-11) with more than two minutes remaining in the quarter.
- Nothing more good happened, as the first quarter ended 38-16 for the Kings, while Rudy (13 points) and DeMarcus (a dozen) were bullying the Grizzlies.
- The quarter didn't start in the way that hopeful Grizzlies fans were expecting: "C'mon! We're angry bears now, let's defend with everything we've got." The truth was that Landry scored two and then Sessions made also two free throws. And the score just showed an extremely painful 42-16. (*That minus 26 it's history now, but good Lord, it wasn't easy to fight against it).
- But some signs of Grint & Grind coming alive were seen in the arena, and the bench definitely wore the big boy pants. Koufos was excellent and Leuer showed he still can make some buckets.
- A 9-0 run for the Grizzlies was pure beauty for the attendance. 44-26 for a minus 18 with more than 08:00 minutes remaining. There was still hope. (*Take it to 15, Grizzlies. Oh, please, take it to 15).
- Awesome Koufos' defense = scoreless Cousins in the quarter. Plus basket assisted by Conley = Sacramento 45, Memphis 30.
- The most used starting lineup during this season (Lee In, Prince Out) returned to the game and well, "ni fu ni fa", what it means not good not bad, so the point differential kept fluctuating (minus 15 - minus 22) and the game became a bit
boringless interesting. (*Understand me. It was already 3am and my European sofa is quite comfortable).
- (*Wake up dude!) Tony Allen almost Knocked Out Beno Udrih! (*Oh Beno, why did you do that crossover to Tony while wearing a Kings jersey? Tony never forgets... Just kiddin').
Halftime: Sacramento 62 - Memphis 46
- Top scorers at the half: Gasol and Conley both with 9 points and Koufos with 8. And for the Kings: Rudy 15, Cousins still a dozen, and Collison with 10 points.
- Some good news: Grizzlies won the quarter 24-30, and the bench outscored Kings' 28-11 in the first half. And bad news: the minus 16 wasn't pretty and the rebound battle didn't look good at all (25 to 16).
- I suppose that the break in the looker room wasn't very relaxing neither, judging the angry face of the assistant coach Bob "6'10" Thornton while he answered Fischer's question:
"What do you need to do more in the second half?"
"Play defense. We actually have to guard somebody. We have to play harder. Play tougher. Show up and be Memphis basketball."
(*Nailed it, Bob).
- 09:45 remaining in the quarter and first bucket of the night for Randolph. (*This is your quarter Randolph).
- Prince's first basket in the game too. Right after, Rudy answers smoothly with another one.
- 07:40 remaining and still minus 19 (73-54). But something happened. A little tension fighting for the rebounds featured by Randolph and Cousins. No big deal. Just some hugs here and there, as usual in the paints. The referee saw it in a different way. So personal fault on Zbo. Then Zbo got real angry cause he thinks that Cousins also hugs him real hard in the other zone -which it's true and DeMarcus knows it as well, but still...- Then Zbo says four words which can be heard by everyone in the arena and also by every Grizzlies fan around the world watching the game in a laptop: "What the f***, man!" And BOOM! Technical fault too. But those words defined completely the game at the moment, and changed not only the Zach's inner energy but also the mood in the whole FedEx Forum.
- Here we go. Zbo with a long 2 / Allen steals the ball / Zbo again with another bucket in the paint... The crowd started to feel it. It was a 20-points deficit still, but faces of the Grizzlies players had changed. Defense began working. Kings called Time-out. Grit & Grind was finally ON. (*Welcome to Memphis, Kings. This is "THE COMEBACK").
- 91-76 (minus 15). 29-30 for the Grizzlies in the third.
- 11 points in the quarter for Zbo, Marc with 8, and Lee with 7.
- Victories for the Grizzlies are never easy, and keeping in mind that, the last quarter started with a 3-pt from the corner by Stauskas.
- Conley answered with a two-points bucket (*This is your quarter Mike).
- Then, a suppodsedly fun thing it'll never happen again: Mike getting a technical. (*I think it's fun. What do you think, DeMarcus?) This match was becoming special. And this is just one of the reasons why I said before that the "WTF, man!" said by Zach, was the real game changer. 8 minutes remaining and the Kings led 99-83.
- Don't laugh too much Cousins. There is your technical too [EVIL SMILE].
- Welcome to Vinceland! (*Don't mix up with "Vineland", the Californian postmodern novel, although this game is gonna be a kind of Californian postmodern thing too) 07:12 minutes... CARTER for 3!!! (-14) / 05:18 minutes... CARTER for 3!!! (-8) / (*Pete Pranica's voice ON) "Carter with the steal, taking away from Rudy Gay" / 04:16 minutes... CARTER for 3!!! (-4).
- 2 minutes. Beautiful pass by Gasol to Randolph, and two. 106-104 Kings still winning. Defensive Zbound, pass to Conley running the floor, and the Grizzlies matched the game with 1:32 minutes remaining. Rudy missed the shoot. Gasol got the rebound. Zbo missed.
- 1 minute. McLemore for 3, in and out. Gasol got the rebound again. Conley's bomba for the lead, missed. Cousins against Gasol, damn! Kings 108-106. Memphis time-out with 24.6 seconds remaining.
- 10 seconds. Conley, a 3 for the lead... YESSS!!! (*Oh my God, I have no words for that triple). Memphis 109-108. Kings time-out.
- Cousins against Gasol. The fault is called. DeMarcus made both free throws. Kings winning 110-109.
- 6.5 seconds. Zach Randolph for the win... nope. 0.6 seconds remaining. McLemore got the defensive rebound, and personal fault.
- What???? 0.6 seconds remaining, Kings winning by one point, and two free throws for them. (*Game over? I can't believe it).
- McLemore on the line. Misses the first one. Misses the second one too. And quick defensive rebound by Zach. Memphis Time-out.
- 0.3 seconds. Memphis ball. And the amazing happened...
- (*Best regular season game I've ever seen. I love the Grizzlies. All Heart. BRAVO guys!!!)
- Mike Conley's words after the much-more-than-sweet win: "WE DESERVE THIS". (*Hell Yeah).
On to the next one: Grizzlies vs. Pistons, Nov 15th at FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN.