Game six was a thrilling, intense, and nerve racking 48 minutes of NBA basketball for Grizzlies fans everywhere. But FedExForum was especially intense, as hundreds of Grizzlies fans packed “The Grindhouse” for a do or die game six.
The atmosphere was great. FedExForum was chock-full of energy, excitment, and “Beat LA” chants. Fans cheered every bucket and big play the Grizzlies made, while booing everything the Clippers did. It was like watching the game with a couple hundred of your closest friends. All of you cheering for the same team, and believing in the same dream of a trip to the NBA Finals.
“Life is easy in our house if you are a Grizz fan,” said die hard Grizzlies fan Thurman Richardson, who was at the game with his two young daughters.
“I think it is great,” Richardson said about the watch party, “we try to get out and see as many games as we can. It is a great opportunity to get out with our friends and family and enjoy the big screen with other Grizzlies’ fans.”
FedExForum was full of parents and their kids enjoying the game and other activities that were happening inside and outside. None were more appreciative than Richardson for the wide array of activities for the younger Grizzlies fans.
“I like the fact that you can come out here to the courtyard and they have a lot of activities for the kids,” he said. “There are things to do during timeouts… there is a lot of interaction with the kids and the families during the game that makes it enjoyable for everybody.”
Grizzlies’ fans, young and old, gathered to will their team to victory and root for their favorite players. Long time Grizzlies fan Darien Rice was cheering especially hard for his favorite player, Zach Randolph.
“He (Randolph) and Tony Allen brought the whole grit and grind thing to the team,” Rice said, “I feel like they represent the city in a way.”
And represent the two did, as they combined to score the final seven points of the game for Memphis. Randolph snagged 16 rebounds while scoring 18 points and making timely free throws. Allen was only 2-7 from the floor, and an awful 4-8 from the free throw line with just eight points. Yet the team was +12 with Allen on the court thanks to his disruptive defense and constant energy.
“It is kind of amazing to see the city come together like this,” said Rice, “you know in hard times like this to gather around a sports team is a great thing.”
Not only is it a great thing, but it looks like it is becoming a common occurrence for Memphis. Playoff wins are now expected from this franchise after never winning a playoff game during their first 16 seasons. Memphis was 0-12 in the playoffs before last years run saw them fall one game short of the Western Conference Finals.
The Grizzlies have won 10 playoff games going back to last year, and with game seven in Memphis on Sunday, they look poised to make it 11 playoff wins in two years. They are 7-2 at home in the playoffs dating back to last year, and a win on Sunday would make them just the ninth team in NBA history to win a playoff series after trailing 3-1.
Memphis fought all year so that they could get a game seven at FedExForum, and now the time has come for the Grizzlies to rise to the occasion. Hopefully the Grizzlies rise to heights we have never seen them reach before. Otherwise, thousands of fans will be using their growl towels as tissues to wipe the tears from their eyes.
CJ Hurt covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from FedExForum.
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