The Memphis Grizzlies remind you of how the NBA use to be.
Nowadays the game is all about how fast your team can get up and down the court and see how hot your shooters can get. The Grizzlies, however, take a much different approach.
Memphis ranked 26th in the league in scoring this season,averaging 93.4 points. But they were the only team that held opponents under 90 PPG. They traded away their All-Star leading scorer and got a lanky 33-year-old has-been in return. Then they traded two of their best bench players, Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington, to Cleveland for the great Jon Leuer. And to make the trade a little more lopsided, Memphis threw in a future lottery pick. And their head coach, Lionel Hollins, who has led this franchise to the playoffs three straight years, will see his contact expireat the end of the season, and if the two sides don’t work out an agreement, Hollins will have many teams intrigued who are looking for a head coach.
This team is made up of a group of honey badgers. It doesn’t matter what their rank is, they aren’t scared of any team in the league. This team – the players and coaches – have carried out this mentality, making them the wildcard in the playoffs.
They’re reminding the NBA that the league isn’t all about shooting 3s and pounding the ball down low to their bigs. he Zach Randolph-Blake Griffin matchup is always a fun one to watch, and this series is no different. Griffin has gone on to be one of the league’s top power forwards, butI’m starting to learn this: it doesn’t matter who you are, Randolph and the rest of the Grizzlies are going to beat you down.
The league’s Defensive Player of the Year, Marc Gasol, has been playing up to his reputation this series. His counterpart, DeAndre Jordan, isn’t an offensive threat, but he has been doing his best keeping Chris Paul out of the paint and settling for jump shots. Gasol was victim of some hard fouls late in Tuesday’s Game 5, but that didn’t spark a retaliation. He simply got up and shot his free throws to ice the game.
Gasol and Randolph aren’t your typical power forward-center duo, but they’re getting things done old school. The post duo will out-work you on offense and make you earn everything when they’re on defense.
Lets not forget about point guard Mike Conley (although some may know him as the kid who played with Greg Oden at Ohio State). In the playoffs Conley has been cooler than the other side of the pillow, not backing down for a second against the league’s best point guard. He hasn’t shot the greatest against the Clippers, but he is averaging 8.6 assists, more than Paul who is averaging 6assists.
Conley teams up with Tony Allen in the backcourt. Allen provides plenty of playoff experience and is one of the league’s best perimeter defenders. And the aforementioned “lanky” has-been is Tayshaun Prince. He also provides plenty of playoff experience after his time spent in Detroit,where is first NBA coach, Larry Brown, preached defense.Prince and Allen have disrupted the Clippers’ two-point guard offense, forcing over 13 turnovers per game.
The Grizzlies are leading the series 3-2 heading back to their home court, FedExForum, which is also known as “The Grindhouse” after Allen renamed it. This team is a grind-it-out, ball-hard, now-or-never, in-your-face and if-you’re-scared-go-to-church unit. It doesn’t matter what team they play or what seed they are in the playoffs. The Memphis Grizzlies are going to make teams play their best basketball for 48 minutes if they want to advance.