So what the Memphis Grizzlies had a franchise best 56 wins during the regular season? So what the Memphis Grizzlies have the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year? So what the Memphis Grizzlies have their “Grit and Grind” attitude towards playing the game?
None of that matters come playoff time in the Association. The Memphis Grizzlies can tell you that first hand now, after falling down 2 games to none to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.
After a more than putrid showing in Game 1 of the series in which the Grizzlies lost 112-91, they played a more competitive game in Game 2 before falling 93-91 on a buzzer beating layup by Chris Paul. The Grizzlies, however, did have their chances to win the game.
Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 28 points and 9 assists. Total, four Grizzlies scored in double figures. One telling difference in Game 2 from Game 1 was the rebounding margin. Saturday night in Game 1, the Clippers out rebounded the Grizzlies 47-23. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combined for 6 rebounds in that game.
In Game 2, the Grizzlies closed the rebounding gap to 40-38. The difference in the final score on Monday night, though, came from the free throw line. The Grizzlies only made 23-34 attempts from the charity stipe. At no level of basketball will that kind of performance get the job done. Just ask the 2008 University of Memphis basketball team.
I digress. If the Grizzlies ever hope to become one of the NBA’s elite teams, they have to be able to put together a deep run in the playoffs. The only time in team history Memphis made it out of the first round was as an 8 seed back in the 2010-2011 season, when they made it to the Western Conference Semifinals before losing in Game 7 to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Focus now shifts to Game 3 Thursday night at the so-called “Grind House,” FedExForum in Memphis. If the Grizzlies have any chance of getting out of the first round, they have to win Game 3 at home. Their backs are now up against the proverbial wall. There is no more time. There can be no more excuses. The time is now.
For Grizzlies’ fans, there is a hunger now to achieve success. Success far beyond just making the playoffs. If there is any hope in that happening, fans had better hope players like Zack Randolph, Tony Allen and Marc Gasol step their games up and help Mike Conley out. If not, this series may be over on Saturday night, and Memphis fans will be left wondering what could have been again.