No Kobe Bryant buzzer-beater. Not last night.
With 28 seconds on the clock and a chance to tie the game, Mike Conley capped a 28-point night with a bad pass turnover that set the Lakers up with a potential winning possession.
Everyone in the arena, watching at home and on the internet was thinking the same thing, “We’ve seen this before, the Grizzlies outplay the Lakers, do dumb stuff at the end, and here comes Kobe to win with a three at the buzzer.”
But no. This time it was different. Kobe drove for a tying shot but was met by a wall of Memphis defenders. He kicked the ball out to Ron Artest for a game-winning three, but Rudy Gay closed fast enough to get a hand on the shot, tipping it short and right into Marc Gasol’s hands.
As the buzzer sounded and the confetti came down, Gasol through the ball into the stands in a show of emotion that’s sure to dominate forum hilghlight reels for as long as the Spaniard is with the team.
“Sometimes [Kobe] does it and we’re heartbroken,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said after the game, “but he didn’t do it tonight and we’re going home celebrating.”
Aaaaand going toe-to-toe with Kobe Bryant is… Mike Conley?
Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley has been a source of ridicule for almost his entire tenure in Memphis, with perhaps only Hasheem Thabeet receiving more negative press and opinions for his play and value for being a high pick.
Though Conley has improved over his four NBA seasons, many fans and pundits thought the recent $40M contract extension given to him by the Grizzlies was premature.
Well last night Conley was worth every penny.
Conley’s 28 points were a season high, and just three short of his career high. He spent much of the game trading baskets with Kobe Bryant, and was able to get inside and create tough shots in the paint despite facing much larger opponents.
“He’s just so nimble and quick,” Xavier Henry said of the 6’1” veteran. “He’s able to get in past everyone else, and then he’s skilled enough to make hard shots over much bigger players inside.”
Speaking of Henry…
Should he be called Shane Xavier?
Henry has held his own since replacing O.J. Mayo in the starting lineup, providing defensive support and appropriate role-playing as he assisted the other starting four.
Last night he was his own offensive force. Henry finished with 12 points and, as Hollins put it, “helped us out a lot more than you see on the stat sheet.” He also did a solid job guarding Bryant for much of the night.
“I think he’s a very mature person,” Hollins said of Henry. “I remember when we interviewed him in Chicago and I remember thinking, ‘that’s Shane Battier all over again.’ He’s poised he’s mature and he understands the big picture of what’s going on.”
So a guy who does what he’s supposed to a plays well above his line night in and night out? That was Shane Battier, and so far, that’s been Xavier Henry.
Faux-laker fans, fairweathers, fakers, whatever you want to call them, they were there last night. Late in the game the forum was almost constantly filled with noise, with every play getting big cheers and, if Bryant was involved, boos from the extremely mixed crowd.
Grizzlies fans did come through big towards the end, with the Grizzlies up 98-91 with a little over a minute left, “Beat LA!” jeers rang heavy.
Press Conference Highlight
Lionel Hollins knows what déjà vu is. So if you were worried about that, don’t be.
Me: At the end of the game did you feel a sense of déjà vu?
Hollins: I don’t get what you mean. I mean I know what déjà vu is.
So there you go.
Greivisvasquez Gracias a dios por esa Victoria en equipo.. Ahora en camino al aeropuerto via Atlanta. Dios por favor cuida a mi venezuela!
He thanks God for the win and now he’s about to fly to Atlanta, also Venezuela? I don’t know use google translate.
RudyGay22 RT of Greivis and then “wht he said! Lol”
SamyYoung4 “You might win some but you just lose one” ….lol A town what’s good.
We have this fancy newfangled website, and it’s pretty awesome, but we’re still figuring it out! (Or I am at least). We’ll be up to 100% again very soon, but in the meantime and even afterwards, we want to hear from you! We’re Memphisport, not a regular paper, we can get the real scoop on the things you care about, but everyone else is afraid to ask. Like what? Well like why no headband for Zbo in the first half last night? See I knew you would ask that, so I asked him. He said he was “just trying something different,” but thinks things will go back to normal because he “sweats a lot.” Quality journalism.
Stuff like this. We’re on it. So follow us on twitter. I’m @douggillon. Kevin Cerrito is usually at Grizz games too. He’s @cerrito. Send us a DM. Leave a comment here. Send me an email. (it’s doug at the name of this website) Whatever you need. This is your blog too.
Story photos by Chase Gustafson. The Grizzlies next game is tonight at Atlanta.