The Memphis Grizzlies lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 111-89. This wasn't the way the Grizzlies wanted to start out the string of tough games coming up. Everything fell apart against a Cavaliers squad that had a favorable matchup coming into the game.
In the preview for the Grizzlies/Cavs game, resident GBB friendperson Joe Mullinax wrote that we could be witnessing a NBA Finals preview. I'm here to remind you how terrible that would be for the Grizzlies. I'll say no thank you, but thanks for mentioning it Joe. The Cavs are the single worst matchup (besides the Spurs) for the Grizzlies in the whole NBA. They showed it in their big win over the Grizzlies.
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The Cavaliers run an efficient offense that creates a ton of open looks from behind the three point line. When the whole defense (and I mean everyone) was sucked in by James driving to the basket, he would kick it out for open shooters or let Kyrie do his thing to Mike Conley. The best player in the world makes you commit to a strategy. Guard him one on one or collapse the paint, which leaves the point shooters open and gives the Cavs' big men plenty of opportunities. The Grizzlies chose the second strategy and it made them pay, but I'd be willing to bet they'd do it again if given the option because that's how they've played the pick and roll all season. King James ate it up.
It wasn't even the best player in the world that killed the Grizzlies in this game. It was Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love who shut the door on the Grizzlies. James just helped then opened the door and slammed the Grizzlies foot in it repeatedly. Irving absolutely destroyed Mike Conley Wednesday night. He had 18 points at half then went on cruise control when Kevin Love shut everything down in the third. The Kevin Love I saw play is going to be the one that helps the Cavs win the championship. He's a matchup nightmare. Nobody on the Grizzlies can guard him when he's playing like that. Even when he's not scoring 22 points and pulling down 10 boards I don't know how the Grizzlies would handle him. He can step out to the three point line, hit mid range jumpers, work in the post, and has some great court vision. That guy is a power forward. It's almost unfair.
Defensively, the Cavs have weak points that can be taken advantage of, but the Grizzlies had troubles taking advantage due to their lack of outside shooting. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph were getting doubled in the post because Courtney Lee, Tony Allen, Nick Calathes, and Jeff Green are not the three point threats that they need to be right now. Tony Allen is never going to be a three point shooter and is not a good offensive player in general so whoever was guarding him was allowed to roam freely. Gasol was able to power through at some points, but it had a big effect on how the Grizzlies played the whole game.
Mike Conley and Courtney Lee were two of the bigger disappointments against the Cavaliers. Conley was non-existent in the first half and tried to turn it on in the second half, but tit was too late. The Grizzlies need a full four quarters out of Conley. He can't keep doing this thing where he only shows up in second halves. At least Conley showed up for a half; Courtney Lee disappeared for a whole game again. It could be still related to his hand injury and that would make sense considering his performance.
Hopefully, this isn't an indicator of what the Grizzlies will be doing against the better teams they face off with in the coming weeks. This game isn't a big deal. These things happen. If it becomes a regular thing, I'll let you borrow Josh Pastner's panic button for a week.
I have been at a bunch of Grizzlies games this season, but the last few I've really made a point to watch the people around me. AND LET'S JUST SAY I HAVE A FEW THINGS TO SAY. Here's a list of experiences and observations of my FedExForum experience the last few games.
- Here's my PSA for the week: Growl towels are great. I love and own several of them. BUT IF YOU PEOPLE CANNOT GET CONTROL OF YOUR GROWL TOWEL WAVING TECHNIQUE I MAY GO INSANE. It is not a shake weight. I do not understand why grabbing the towel and shaking it around like a crazed workout fanatic is your go to move, but it needs to be stopped. It's also great when a bunch of people are holding up the front of one growl towel so there is a wall, but I don't understand why the one guy in the $5 Sonic Saver seats is doing this. I think they need to teach a class on this. I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE, CHRIS WALLACE. I WILL FALL ON THE SWORD. LET ME TEACH THE PEOPLE.
- If you don't stand up, are on your phone, talk, giggle, or pick your nose during the National Anthem, you're lucky I'm not running the Forum because I would eject you if I saw that. In the same vein, who doesn't stand up when the Soldier is introduced? It's not like they've put their life on the line to protect the country and stuff....oh wait.
- I no joke saw someone eat food off the ground. They didn't even call 5 second rule or anything. Just......why? I'm pretty sure if you told the vendor that you dropped your food they would replace it. It's not like there is a shortage of food.
- Why are you going to come to a game and just be on Facebook messenger/Snapchat/texting/Twitter the whole entire game? Not a few minutes or a quarter. THE WHOLE ENTIRE GAME. I'm not even mad. That's just impressive. I wanted to ask about what kind of phone has that kind of battery power, but asking seemed like a poor idea.
- No, I don't think the beer guys take credit cards and I don't really know why you're asking me. I can't legally buy beer.
- Why did you bring your baby to a sporting event then get super upset about the loud fireworks and "loud video"? I'm confused as to what you were you expecting? These folks left in the second quarter, bless their little hearts.
- Actual sentence I heard: "When's the halftime show?"
Next up, the Grizzlies host another Super-Game as the Golden State Warriors head in to Memphis tomorrow.