There are nights for statistical analysis and film breakdown. There are times where deep dives in to the X’s and O’s are warranted and needed. Grizzly Bear Blues is a community with a writing staff that can cover all of those things and then some.
The moment when Mike Conley saved this team’s season. The Spurs were up ten in the first quarter and Conley came back in and subsequently either scored or assisted on the Grizzlies next nine points to get them back in the game.
The moment when Andrew Harrison stole the ball on one end of the floor and got an and-one opportunity on a coast-to-coast play, or blocked a lay-up that led to a Marc Gasol and-one in overtime, or hit two clutch free throws to help the Grizzlies put the game away. Memphis had role players step up on a night where Zach Randolph (4-12 shooting) and Marc Gasol (7 turnovers) were not their best. If that can hold, the Grizzlies can win this series.
You read that right. The Memphis Grizzlies, without two of their best five players, are now essentially in a best-of-three series with the mighty San Antonio Spurs. And they have a real shot to win. Because they believe. And they know who they are. And they have unquestioned leadership in Mike Conley (35 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists), and unique skill in Marc Gasol who made the game winning shot on this night, and uncommon grit in Zach Randolph. They have veteran presence in Vince Carter, and a passionate coach who will fight for his players in David Fizdale.
They still may not win this series. But after two games at FedExForum, they have reminded us all how special sports can be. How uniting, how nerve racking, how imperfect and yet divine. The raw emotion and drama that can accompany the simple bouncing of a ball, the highs and lows of a child’s game that brings grown people to their knees.
The unfiltered satisfaction knowing that your belief was rewarded. And that there will be another opportunity for the city and team filled with beloved players to live and love and compete together.
Memphis needs more of that, and they’re going to get it. The Grizzlies won tonight. But we are all winners for getting to be a part of the moments.