The theme of the night for Grizzlies' fans will be a balance between self-medication and an attempt to feel secure in their identity with the team.
It was ugly, scary and bizarre. The Jazz played to their generous crowd and possibly overachieved for 95.5% of the game. The Jazz sank every shot, got every bounce, completed every hustle play and summoned all the muster to be had in the state of Utah this time of year. But ... it wasn't quite enough to take down a veteran team that has danced this dance before.
Memphis held Utah to 16 points in the 4th Q while scoring 29 of their own, that stat alone usually spells out a Grizzlies victory.
They needed incredible efforts from several different players; Gasol scored 18, Conley scored 19 and Randolph scored a Grizzlies high 22 points, 10 of which came in the 4th quarter, but outside of Tony Allen & Courtney Lee the Griz got a very balanced effort on offense.
You could sense the Grizzlies attempting to take the night off, as evident by their 20 personal fouls compared to Utah's 14, but they were also supremely aware of the weight of this game. If they lost tonight they faced enormous pressure going into to the weekend's games against Golden State and Portland, both of which hold a full game's weight in the ever-so-close bottom rung of the Western Conference playoff seeding.
As a Grizzlies' fan, am I alarmed? No, not tonight, but I think we'll have a better gauge on the true momentum of the Grizzlies by the end of the first half against the Warriors on Friday. They don't need to bury themselves with another 2nd -half-double-digit deficit against a team that can score prolifically in very minimal amounts of game time.
Memphis has played very well on the road this season. The balance of effort and available energy will be interesting to observe this weekend.