You know that Saturday night out where everything is going to happen just right? All the right people are coming out. Everything’s set, the night starts and it’s going great, but somehow at the end you have this feeling the night was a failure.
That was the Grizzlies on Saturday. All the right people where there. The fans were there. Marc and Zbo were playing and looked healthy. Shaq was in the house. It’s always a party when Shaq’s in the house. And even though there were way too many fans in green for the place to feel perfect, it still felt really good. But then it didn’t.
Throughout the game, as the Grizzlies battled with one of the NBA’s best teams shot for shot, as Greivis Vasquez and Tony Allen played out of their minds, as Rudy Gay hit the game tying shot with 7.3 seconds left and then denied Paul Peirce a chance to win it on the final possession, the whole crowd knew – this was their epic night.
But not to be. Allen went to the bench and the Grizzlies shot 0-4 to open overtime, falling down by 6 early and unable to claw back.
So what does this mean? Was the whole night a waste? No way. Vasquez, who was perfect from the floor and looked like a real point guard, gives a nice beacon of hope. Don’t get too excited, Lester Hudson had a similar performance at home against the Lakers last year and then disappeared, but Vasquez’s situation looks to have a lot more potential.
Tony Allen showed that, when he wants to, he could fire up the entire team because he’s not scared of anyone in the league. He’s beaten all of these guys before and he is anything but timid.
And the Grizzlies showed, once again, that they could compete with one of the best teams in the league. Coach Lionel Hollins said it was “am improvement” over the Dallas debacle of last Wednesday because the team fought to the end. Marc Gasol noted that staying this close gives them more confidence, and drive to get better so that they can walk away from games like this with a win.
Tonight the Grizzlies travel to Orlando to play another elite team. A team they beat at home in a close game last year. A team they, at 4-6 and coming off their performance Saturday, should think they can beat.
The thing Grizzlies fans are waiting for from their team now though, is when the team goes from knowing they can win, to knowing they will win.
Follow @memphissport @douggillon @bharris901@chasingphoto and @cerrito for live Grizzlies tweets during games and check Memphissport.net after each game for a full recap from FedExForum.