All it took was one quarter to end the Grizzlies season, and it wasn’t even overtime. Memphis blew an 18 point lead in the second quarter and they really have no one to blame but themselves.
Whether you want to chalk it up to a lack of scoring or a diversion from a defensive game plan that was clicking on all cylinders in the early goings , it all came down to a lack of consistency; and it’s only appropriate that it would ultimately be the dagger to do them in.
Be that as it may, here’s a look at the nice and not so nice of the Grizz’ loss.
The first quarter
If only it could have ended after 12 minutes, right? It took a minute or two but the Grizz came out with outstanding defensive intensity and were creating easy buckets in transition off turnovers. With a 29-13 lead heading into the second, it was pretty enjoyable to see the man who’s been orchestrating our @55 whooping a little flustered:
Well I guess the Prince, Pondexter debate is settled, I just wish we could have realized that a little sooner. Before fouling out, Pondexter dropped three of his six attempts from beyond the arc and went 6-13 from the field for 15 points. His defense can leave a little to be desire at times, but he actually looked like a starting caliber wing most of the night – who would’ve thought.
For the second consecutive game, the Grizz hauled in 19 offensive rebounds. 19. That’s pretty freaking absurd. Albeit they continued to struggle converting second-chance opportunities. Memphis’ 21 points off second-chance opportunities with 19 offensive rebounds and the Spurs 20 points off 13 offensive rebounds can attest to that. Zach Randolph finished with nine and Marc Gasol five; 14 of the Grizz 19 total offensive rebounds.
16 points on 7-18 shooting, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, two steals and a block. I’ll just let his stats do the talking. I can’t help but wish he would be a little more assertive on the offensive end. But when he actually has some viable weapons surrounding him on the perimeter, I don’t think it would be all that far-fetched to see him average close to six assists.
Free throw shooting
The Grizz went 10-18 at the line, and it really hurt them down the stretch. Just proving that you can have all the heart in the world, but if you can’t execute the bare fundamentals you’re not going to get very far.
The Grizz gave up a plus-eight advantage on the defensive glass. Which is something that’s haunted them all season, as they ranked 23rd in defensive rebounds per game during the regular season and ninth in the postseason.
When only two players on your roster seem capable of hitting a shot out of five feet and one if them is your starting center it’s going to be a problem. The Grizzlies shot 38-97 for 39.2 percent, their second consecutive game of being unable to eclipse 40 percent from the field.
No team in NBA history has ever battled back to win a series down 0-3. So basically, great season Grizz. The experience they earned from this postseason could very well be enough to put them in the Finals next year.
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