Memphis Grizzlies: Best and Worst (February 5-11)
This week’s Memphis Grizzlies: Best and Worst column discusses the Grizzlies recent three-game home stretch.
Memphis Grizzlies: Best and Worst is a weekly column dedicated to discussing the most positive things that happened with Grizzlies basketball this week – along with the negatives.
Last week, we kicked off the inaugural edition of Best and Worst by discussing the good and bad that came with a six-game road stint endured by the Grizzlies.
This week (February 5 – February 11) the FedEx Forum hosted a three-game home stretch –starting with the Spurs, followed by the Suns and capped off with the return of the Golden State Warriors.
As usual, the week was a roller-coaster of emotions for the franchise. It was dominated with encouragement, but the latter typically raises more conversation.
The Memphis franchise caught some blessings this week. It also caught some hands – literally. As always, it’s best to kick things off with the best of the best. This week, that title belongs to the Grizzlies 15-point win over the San Antonio Spurs.
Memphis vs. ANYBODY
The Grizzlies continued to make waves Monday night, holding the San Antonio Spurs to a mere 74 points to their own 89. A 15-point win over the second place Western Conference team made things clear: Memphis can play with ANYBODY.
Prior to Monday, the Grizzlies had beaten the Warriors (twice), Rockets (twice), Cavaliers and Raptors – top playoff contenders from both Conferences. The Spurs were the only team in the West that Memphis had yet to meet.
Holding any NBA team to 74 points is a feat. When that team is the San Antonio Spurs – a yearly contender for the Western Conference title – holding them below 75 points should be celebrated.
In the low-scoring affair, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol led the way for Memphis with 15 points each. The absence of Kawhi Leonard sparked a 14 points from David Lee. The Grizzlies front-court held LaMarcus Aldridge to 13 points on 21-percent shooting, but an injury to Pau Gasol eliminated the possibility of a Gasol get-down.
Many a team have succumb to the Grindhouse this season – See: Golden State, Russell Westbrook, the Houston Rockets. Memphis is a hostile atmosphere. It sucks you in and spits you out in a quick, painful cycle.
The next best thing that happened this week came at the expense of a newfound villain in Grind City – Devin Booker.
Devin Booker: Hand-catching extraordinaire
Late in the fourth quarter of a Wednesday night Western Conference matchup between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Phoenix Suns, Troy Daniels sank his fourth 3-pointer. He was fouled in the process, sparking a reminder form Daniels that the Grindhouse is, in fact, his house.
Here’s the video:
Things were getting heated during the Suns vs Grizzlies game. ????
— NBA SKITS (@NBA_Skits) February 9, 2017
As you can see, words led to shoving, bringing players from both benches to the half-court circle to break up the scuffle. Tyler Ulis stepped between Devin Booker to save him, and Brandan Wright hugged a grown man for the duration of the tussle:
Tyler Ulis out here fighting Devin Bookers fights pic.twitter.com/3xM2OGWkQc
— Beale Street Bears (@BealeStBearsFS) February 9, 2017
Phoenix’s Alex Len and Tyler Ulis would be ejected from the game along with Memphis’s Troy Daniels. The Grizzlies went on to a 119-99 victory, extending their win streak to three games.
This is where things go (slightly) downhill.
Golden State: They’re still good
Nobody saw this one coming?
Coming into Friday night, the Grizzlies were the only team to beat Golden State two times in a row since the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals. (this really never gets old)
It’s easy to forget how easily that a game against GSW can go from good to bad in a matter of seconds. In this case – Klay Thompson 9 points (3/3 from downtown) in what seemed like 30 seconds – fast.
As much as neither of us want to hear it – the Grizzlies held Golden State to 89 points in their first meeting, and overcame a 24-point deficit in the second half of round two in Oakland.
They were due.
Klay Thompson’s 36 points led the Warriors 50-percent shooting efforts (46-percent from beyond-the-arc), followed by lots of points (24) from Kevin Durant and another 22 added by Andre Iguodala.
In other words, there wasn’t a whole lot the Grizzlies could do, except try and keep up. At the final buzzer, the score was 122-107.
Memphis leads their series with the Warriors 2-1, meaning that this loss is not as bad as what many made it out to be. It’s Golden State. They do this to everyone, consistently. Memphis still accounts for 25-percent of their losses this season.
The remainder of February features the Nets, Pelicans, Pacers and Suns (again). A finally healthy Grizzlies roster should have absolutely no issues running the table.
Come back next Sunday to catch up on the Best and Worst of next week, including a (hopefully) dominant performance from Marc GasolStar in New Orleans.
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