I don't want the Warriors to get the record. Call me a hater; I probably am. I'd sit every starter against the Clippers so they could play forty minutes against the Warriors. Not because they'll get that historic win against my favorite team. Not because I hate the Warriors.
It's this simple: I want the Grizzlies to make history.
If Golden State gets 73 in two years nobody will remember it came against the Grizzlies. At least, nobody outside of Memphis will. The city of Memphis will remember. They'll take it as another slight in a lifetime of slights. They'll take it as their lot, and maybe eventually they'll be able to appropriate it into their civic identity. No city I've ever lived in has been so sure it was not allowed to have nice things. This will be just another version of that.
I want the Grizzlies to be the ones to make history. After all, preventing history is a history all its own. This game will not be shown on NBA TV's Instant Classics if it's a typical Golden State blowout. In other words, if the Warriors to Warriors things. The only way it will be remembered is if the Grizzlies do Grizzlies things.
This game isn't about what the Grizzlies are, or where they are going. This season was lost when Marc started limping, and it was lost forever when Conley followed. All that's left is taking something precious from someone else.
The cotton trade; housing discrimination; delicious barbecue clogging arteries for generations: rightly, but mostly wrongly, the city of Memphis was built on Pyrrhic victories like these.
Call me hater, but years from now when people coo about how great the '15-‘16 Warriors were; when they're not real anymore, just an amalgam of gifs and vines and whatever-the-hell comes after gifs and vines; when millenials post vintage clips from a site called YouTube of Curry's nearly 400 threes to post-millenials proclaiming Karl Anthony-Towns as the greatest player they've ever seen, I'll smile.
Because a band of misfits, -- ten days and thirty-something -- stopped history. Because the prefix "Co" in front of "Best Record Ever" is about as good a victory cigar as this Grizzlies team can hope for.
Because the asterisk chilling above and to the right of the '15-'16 Warriors will be put there by a goon squad.
This Grizzlies team is what the Warriors are not. Spare parts, square pegs jammed into increasingly round holes, unsexy. Headed towards a pre-ordained first round exit. They are not the NBA's darlings. They are not the reason talking heads squawk about moving the three point line back.
They are just limping to the finish line. They are over the hill. Their best players are in walking boots and their window is shut.
So call me a hater. But if Grit and Grind is to have a denouement, I'd like it to be on Wednesday night. I'd like it to be taking somebody else's nice thing. I'd like to look back on this team and say they might have had nothing to play for, but they weren't letting history happen on their watch.
They will need to be perfect. Tony Allen will need to live inside Klay's jersey. Vince Carter will need to refinance his mortgage with the basketball gods. ZBo will need to bound every board, mean every mug, and whup every Dub in the building.
If you have ever wanted an underdog story. You have it. It's Wednesday night.