Site Manager’s note: As the offseason begins, we here at GBB want to take a chance to reflect on what was quite the season once again for the Grizzlies. It surely wasn’t the most exciting from a record standpoint, but there were plenty of moments worth remembering. Over the next month, we’ll look back on our favorite moments of the season as this era of Memphis Grizzlies basketball perhaps comes to a close this summer.
The first up in this series? The glorious 111-107 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, who were 9-1 entering the game and the darlings of the early NBA season.
The One Where Gasol McGregored - November 16th, 2016
First, some back story. The Clippers were perceived to be an early (very early, way too early) favorite for the NBA Finals. Chris Paul was a monster - he led the Clippers to early season double-digit wins over the Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs, and Portland Trail Blazers. This was the Clippers team everyone (ok, national media and L.A.) always wanted to believe in during this dreaded “Lob City” era - substance along with the sizzle.
The “Grit and Grind” Grizzlies, whose genesis almost directly aligned with the start of this Clippers core, served as a perfect foil for L.A. They were the antithesis of Lob City - it’s hard to jump too high when you’re stuck in the mud - and playoff battles and regular season showdowns were must-watch for Grizzlies fans.
The feud cooled a bit ever since Memphis defeated the Clippers in 2013 (you know, Z-Bo ejection, skipping off the court, but that’s another story). But Clippers and Grizzlies fans never forget, and considering the ENTIRE STORY entering this game was L.A.’s early dominance, there was plenty to feel slighted by in Memphis.
The Clippers and Grizzlies had already played once, on November 4th, and it was another double-digit win for L.A. led by another terrific Chris Paul performance. But this night would be different.
For one thing, it was an early glimpse at what exactly Mike Conley could do within the new schemes of David Fizdale. 30 points on 12 shots with an absurd 7 of 9 shooting from beyond the arc, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals...he was able to dominate his matchup with Chris Paul (9 points on 3-11 shooting) and force him into one of the worst performances of his season. It was Mike’s best game to that point, and one of his best of the campaign.
Beyond that, it served as a reminder of what was supposed to be, even with a wounded Chandler Parsons limping his way to 4 points in 14 minutes. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter combined for 30 points off the bench. James Ennis III started for an injured Tony Allen and scored 10 of his own, showing his potential to contribute. Marc Gasol scored 26 points as well, with 6 points and 6 rebounds.
But more than anything else? The threes. OH YES, THE THREES. The glorious 15 of 26 from beyond the arc stat line that Memphis posted. That is 57.7%. The Memphis Grizzlies shot that well from three! And Mike Conley and Marc Gasol hit 11 of them.
Yes...MARC GASOL! This was Marc’s national “hey everyone I can shoot threes now” coming out party. He had hit four threes in a game against the Wizards earlier in the season (a Grizzlies win), but that wasn’t on national television against the mighty Clippers. And it wasn’t quite as dramatic as this...
...and it didn’t result in a moment quite like this...
Marc Gasol wants to takes this time. To apologize to no one. pic.twitter.com/Sate2BtoqT— Michael Beastly (@Michael_Beastly) November 17, 2016
That’s why we’re all here, right? For the moments? In a rivalry as storied as this one among these fan bases, in a clutch situation, Marc Gasol showed off his new toy for the world to see as he drove a dagger into the hearts of the Los Angeles Clippers.
And afterward, he put a little sauce on it, Connor McGregor style.
Grizzlies beating a team that gets more media coverage? Check. Celebratory dance after clutch basket? Check.
A certifiably Memphis moment to be sure.