Shane Battier picks Duke to defeat Memphis

In case you were wondering, beloved former Memphis Grizzlies player Shane Battier picked his alma mater’s Blue Devils to defeat the Tigers at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Battier made his pick in response to a question on Twitter:

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Twitter: @cerrito
Email: kevin@memphisport.com

SEE ALSO:

Shane Battier comments on Mike Miller’s return to the Memphis Grizzlies

Shane Battier, who had his own comeback tour with the Grizzlies in 2011, tweeted his thoughts about his former Memphis and Miami teammate Mike Miller making a return home to the Bluff City:

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Twitter: @cerrito
Email: kevin@memphisport.com

SEE ALSO:

5 Must See Grizzlies Games on the 2012-13 Schedule

 

 

Photo by Justin Ford

The Grizzlies announced their regular season games for the 2012-2013 season and it is full of intriguing matchups.  Thanks to consecutive trips to the post season, Memphis has 15 nationally televised games, the most ever in franchise history.  They get the annual MLK game, this year it is against the Pacers, and get to play every NBA team at home this season after not playing the Celtics and the Heat at the Forum last year.  Here is a list of five games every Grizzlies’ fan should watch this year.

LA Clippers October 31st @ The Staples Center
This is the Grizzlies first game of the year and it comes against the team that eliminated them from the playoffs in the first round, in a thrilling seven game series last season.  The Clippers should be one of the West’s best teams and give Memphis a good gauge of how good they are at the start of the season.  The masters of flop are down one phenomenal flopper in Reggie Evans and Nick Young.  However, Chauncey Billups will be back and LA has added Jamal Crawford and Mr. Kardashian himself Lamar Odom, so they should be even better this year.  A back court of Billups and Chris Paul with Blake Griffin at power forward is going to be difficult to matchup with, but will be an exciting first game for all Grizzlies’ fans.

Utah Jazz November 5th @ FedExForum
This is the home opener for Memphis and it comes against a very good opponent.  The Jazz were a playoff team last season, and while nobody is going to get any Jazz player confused with Karl Malone or John Stockton, they are very capable of ruining the festivities for fans during the home opener.  Memphis is  3-1 the past two years against the Jazz at home, so a win is highly probable on opening night.

Miami Heat November 11th @ FedExForum
A Sunday night game against the defending NBA champions is cause for excitement every year.  Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh return to Memphis for the first time since 2010 thanks to the lockout.  The last time the Heat visited the “Grind House” Rudy Gay hit a last second shot over James to give Memphis a 97-95 victory.  Add to it that this Heat team has former Grizzlies’ fan favorites Mike Miller and Shane Battier and you have a must watch scenario for Grizzlies’ fans.

Oklahoma City Thunder November 14th @Chesapeake Energy Arena
Just three days after taking on the Finals Champion Miami Heat, the Grizzlies take a trip to Oklahoma City to battle the Western Conference Champion.  The hated Thunder have several superstars including the two time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka a First Team All NBA Defensive selection.  Perhaps the most intriguing player on the Thunder roster is former first round draft pick by Memphis, Hasheem Thabeet.   He has been dubbed a bust in Memphis, and nothing would make Grizzlies’ fans more upset than seeing Thabeet play a significant role on a title contender especially OKC.  This is also the Grizzlies first nationally televised game of the year.

Dallas Mavericks February 27th  @ FedExForum
The Grizzlies are 5-2 against the Mavs the past two seasons.  And this divisional rivalry has had some additional fuel added to the fire with OJ Mayo becoming a member of the Mavs this season.  This will be Mayo’s second trip back to the Forum after averaging 15.2 points per game as a member of the Grizzlies.  It will be an emotional game for Mayo and fans who have grown accustomed to seeing him put the three point guns in their holster throughout the past four seasons.  It is also the regular season finale and playoff positioning might be on the line.

CJ Hurt covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport.  Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from FedExForum.

2011 M Awards: Favorite Basketball Player

The Urban Dictionary lists a definition of the term Z-Bo as a slang word for a zombie. Wikipedia says that according to the tenets of West African Vodou, a dead person can be brought back as a zombie by a bokor. Maybe the Memphis Grizzlies are the bokor as Z-Bo has been brought back to life in a Grizzlies uniform. It is also said in vodou legend, that feeding a zombie salt will make it return to the grave. So take this as a notice Memphis: If you see Zach Randolph in a restaurant anywhere in town, do NOT under any circumstances allow him to ingest any salt. Steal the shaker from his table at once.

Zach Randolph, Memphis GrizzliesFirst Place: 31.76%
Joe Jackson, Memphis TigersSecond Place: 16.22%
Shane Battier, Memphis Grizzlies, Third Place: 14.19%
Best Write-in Vote: LeBron James

So what do you think, Memphis? Did you get it right? Tell us what you think in the comments below. And look for another winner soon. Here are the winners so far…

The 2011 M Award Winners

For the first time ever the M Awards are being announced online. Check back here daily in the month of July for a new winner in MemphiSport’s annual celebration of the best in Memphis sports.

Favorite Concessions: FedExForum
Favorite Place To Tailgate: Tiger Lane
Favorite Sporting Venue: FedExForum
Favorite Race: The Grizzlies Playoff Race
Best Game: CUSA Championship Game
Most Memorable Moment: Rudy Gay Beats the Heat
Favorite Annual Event: Memphis Madness
Moment We Would Most Like To Forget: Murder of Lorenzen Wright
Best Offbeat Moment: Snoop Dogg courtside during his concert
Best Musical Performance: Yo Gotti at Memphis Madness
Best In-Game Entertainment: Memphis Tigers Dance Team
Best Place To Stock Up For The Big GameKroger
Best Local Sports Bar/Restaurant: Hueys
Best National Sports Bar Restaurant: Buffalo Wild Wings
Best Place To Eat Before/After The Game: Hueys
Best Place To Take The Team After A Victory: Memphis Pizza Cafe
Best Place To Play Cards: Horseshoe Casino
Best Golf Course: Mirimichi
Favorite Golf StoreEdwin Watts Golf
Favorite Sporting Goods Store: Dick’s Sporting Goods
Favorite Sports Apparel Store: Tiger Bookstore
Favorite Workout Facility: YMCA
Favorite Healthy Store: Whole Foods Market
Favorite Place To Spend A Nice Afternoon: The Memphis Zoo
Favorite Bike Shop: Peddler Bike Shop
Best Local Sports Radio Personality: Chris Vernon
Best Local Sports Radio Program: The Chris Vernon Show
Favorite Sports Talk Radio Segment: Harvard or Horn Lake Trivia
Favorite Local TV Sports Personality: Geoff Calkins
Favorite Local Sports Website: memphisroar.com
Favorite Local Sports Twitter@aa000G9
Favorite Mascot: Super Grizz
Favorite Spirit Squad: Memphis Tigers Dance Team
Favorite Hair: The Grizzlies Playoff Beards
Favorite Fighter: Tony Allen
Favorite Golfer: John Daly
Favorite Baseball Player: Albert Pujols
Favorite Football Player: DeAngelo Williams
Favorite Basketball Player: Zach Randolph

Click here to listen to the 2011 M Awards Nominations Special

Top Five Everything from the Grizzlies’ Game 6 win over the Thunder

The Grizzlies will not die. Not in Memphis anyway. On the back of a massive 30-13 performance by Zach Randolph, who would not be stopped by Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins or any other type of Thunder, the Grizzlies rallied from a 10-point first half deficit to keep this series going and set up the first Game 7 in franchise history.

This is the master list from that game. If you want a more traditional recap, go here.

As always these are real things that happened in a real game…

Top Five Basketball Moments

5) Loose ball frenzy

GASOL BALL!!!

Two of these were memorable. One came in the fourth quarter, about 2:51 left with the Grizz up 88-79 and looking to close the game out. A crazy rebound bounced off hands and around the floor until Shane Battier flew in like a missile attacking the hardwood to secure the ball and pass ahead to a teammate. The effort was undeniable.

Two quarters earlier, Marc Gasol had an even more amazing loose ball effort play. On another botched handle, again on the Thunder side of the court, Gasol and the much quicker Thabo Sefolosha had an equal distance between them and a ball slowly rolling toward half court. Gasol managed to scoop up the roller and call timeout without even using his body. He just got there faster.

It was that kind of effort that had been missing from the Grizzlies for about six quarters prior to the event, and that kind of effort that propelled them in this victory.

4) The best dunk that didn’t count

With about two minutes left in the third quarter and the Grizzlies finally taking the lead on what was, at that time, a 26-12 run, Darrell Arthur barreled through Nick Collison for a jam reminiscent of a Blake Griffin highlight reel or O.J. Mayo’s physics defying dunk from Game 4 against the Spurs.

It was awesome, and it didn’t count. Nick Collison managed to eek a charging foul. Didn’t look like much of a call to most of the crowd, who didn’t realize the basket was null until they finished cheering for the spectacular dunk.

3) Tony Allen finishes a fast break

For more than three games now, the Grizzlies have struggled finishing and defending fast breaks. It’s been murder for them in this series and in direct contrast with their execution on such possessions in the regular season.

Well in the third quarter the Grizz started executing on those fast breaks. The change was a big part of the third quarter run, and none more memorable than an easy finish from Tony Allen.

With 9:40 left in the quarter, Tony Allen grabbed a fast break pass and dropped it in for a soft two-handed jam to extend the half-opening run to 6-0 and force a Thunder timeout. After a full game and two quarters of blown breaks and missed layups, it was a sign that the Grizzlies were becoming the Grizzlies again.

2) O.J. Mayo’s and-one

Did you know Juice can roar?

Lionel Hollins finally brought O.J. Mayo back into the starting lineup, and Juice made the most of it. Mayo finished with 16 points 4 rebounds 2 assists and 4 steals. Mayo nailed two three pointers, but none were as memorable as his fearless three-point play in the third quarter.

With 2:10 left in the period, Mayo dove into the lane and used his body like a heat seeking missile programmed for Kevin Durant’s torso. Mayo was able to convert the basket, get a whistle and latch a third foul onto Kevin Durant. The drive plus the free throw gave the Grizzlies their first lead since the first quarter at three points. It was neutralized seconds later on Durant’s only FG of the second half (which was also an and-one), but the tide had turned permanently.

1) Ibaka can’t deal with Z-Bo

Don't you know who I am? You must not know who I am.

If Mayo’s and-one was the turning point (and it was) Z-Bo’s fourth quarter performance was the foot on the neck, or the nail in the coffin, or chair in the back, or some other cliche.

Randolph massacred every Thunder big down the stretch. Mayo’s extra minutes had helped. Z-Bo had space and he made the Thunder pay by going back to the so-ugly-its beautiful layups and juggernaut post moves that have made him the darling of the city and the go-to-guy on the team.

The most memorable move came just before O.J.’s and-one, tying the game. Matched up one-on-one with Serge Ibaka about three feet from the paint, Z-Bo finalized his dominance over the big with a pivot, bump, pivot, bump, 360 pivot and lay-in that just said “You’re done #9. Accept it.”

Top Five “You had to be there” Moments

5) Christopher

Seriously. This happened.

Does non-halftime entertainment get crazier than Whiplash the Cowboy Monkey? Apparently yes. In between the first and second quarters, the Grizzlies brought out “Christopher” (seriously this is how he was introduced) who was a one-man version of the Village People. See the picture above for proof. He performed to a village people medley. Wild.

4) Flood Video

Want to love Memphis enough to almost cry? Watch this video.

The Grizzlies have been knocking out the pre-game intro videos, but they sent the whole thing to another level by adding that vid to the normal one that plays before the player introductions. Perfect. Perfect. Seriously watch it.

3) Fun with signs, giant heads

Definitely a step up from the last game. One highlight was “We Believe Hell or High Water,” a theme also used in the updated signs for BBQ Fest.

Taking the cake though was, again, Section 116, the kings of the giant heads, who this time showed up with a Barack Obama head wearing a Grizz headband in honor of Booker T. Washington High School having won the opportunity to have Obama speak at their graduation. The high school’s achievement and the head in attendance were featured on the jumbotron in the second half.

2) Al Green’s National Anthem

Yes this is Al Green.

How do you follow up an amazing National Anthem from the NBA’s best PA announcer Rick Trotter? Book Al Green. The Memphis legend absolutely nailed the anthem, because he’s Al Green! He could sing it again tomorrow and nail it again. If the Grizzlies get another home game they’ll have to book Justin Timberlake. And even then the singing probably wouldn’t be as good.

1) Jerry ‘The King” Lawler

Strap didn't even need to be down.

Very important stat: The Grizzlies are 3-0 in the playoffs when Jerry “The King” Lawler shows up to pump up the Grindhouse crowd. This time was the best. Just as the Grizzlies were starting their third quarter run (at this point it was at 6-0) Lawler slammed a chair into the back of a faux OKC fan and covered the body with a yellow growl towel. He then noted that, “It’s time for the Grizzlies to put the chair on the Thunder!”

Top Five Quotes

5) Zach Randolph on playing in game seven
“That’s what it’s all about. It’s what we play for. I’d rather be playing now than on vacation or anything else. We have to be ready. It’s going to be a tough game going into their place. They’ll be ready, their fans will be ready, but we’ll be ready also.”

4) Marc Gasol on not wanting to let the series end in Memphis
“We don’t want to go out at all. Not that way or any other way.”

3) O.J. Mayo on starting
“All year I’ve just been trusting in coach Hollins and staying behind whatever he says 120%. It’s a big responsibility to come in and start, you gotta make an impact fast. I just tried to do the best I could.”

2) Shane Battier on Al Green’s performance
“That was pretty sweet. He’s a big reason why my wife and I got married”

Note: Before anyone misunderstands this (as it seems to happen with Shane’s musings) he was referring to the man’s music.

1) Lionel Hollins on Kevin Durant only making one FG in the second half
“He’s saving himself for Sunday. He had some good looks but just didn’t make them. We can’t take credit for that.”

Top Five Tweets

5) @Grizzinmypants
I was planning on watching Thor tomorrow, but when I found he was the god of Thunder, I knew the movie would blow. #GoGrizz

4)@PeterEdminston
DA JUST MURDERED NICK COLLISON. JAYHAWK ON JAYHAWK CRIME

3) @bharris901
When Tony Allen hits a corner 3-pointer, it’s like finding $20 in your pocket.

2) @ShaneBattier
What a fantastic crowd at the Forum tonight. They propelled us to the win. Quick turnaround for Sunday. Uno Mas!!!!!! Mucho Believe-o!!!

1) @PatForde
Market size is irrelevent. This is fun basketball from Memphis tonight.

Top Five Photos

Still hungry for more from the Grizzlies’ payoff run? Check out the Top 5 Everything from the Grizzlies’ Triple Overtime Loss to the Thunder in Game 4, the Top 5 Everything from the Grizzlies’ Game 3 Overtime Win Over the Thunder , or our Game 1 recap.

Also take a look back at the historic series with the San Antonio Spurs by checking out the Top Five Everything from Game 6, the Top Five Everything from Game 4, the Top Five Everything from Game 3, or our take on the Game 1 win.

For more Playoff fun, check out Shane Battier proves young people no longer  watch Animal House MSL presents “Have Grizzlies PA announcer Rick Trotter say whatever you like”, Jerry “The King” Lawler talking Grizzlies on MSL, Traveling NBA super fan James Goldstein on MSL,  and the Top 6 Beards of the Playoff Run.

Doug Gillon covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. You can follow him via Twitter@douggillon. For more live tweets during Grizzlies games follow @memphisport@cerrito, and @chasingphoto

Photos by Chase Gustafson.



Shane Battier proves young people no longer watch “Animal House”

Battier, one of the great social scientists of our age.

About 8:40 p.m. CST Shane Battier (@ShaneBattier) tweeted the following:

“Over?? What?? Nothing is over until we say it’s over….was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor??? When the going gets tough…….”

This was, of course, a reference to both the Grizzlies current position of being down 3-2 in the best of 7 series with Oklahoma City, and to the classic movie “Animal House,” in which uber-screwup Bluto attempts to rally the troops in a time of dire straights. It shouldn’t have been unexpected, Battier is the same guy who referenced “The Big Lebowski” when he was stuck in an elevator last week.

Well… you know the internet. Apparently not content with Battier’s explanatory tweet that he was “fully aware of who bombed pearl harbor,” twitter nerds (or not nerds, because they didn’t see the movie?) lunged at their opportunity to call out a person who has two things (a diploma from Duke and an NBA career) of which they are jealous.

Some highlights (which were retweeted by Shane himself)

@ShaneBattier umm….. not sure but i think japan bombed pearl harbor. and u graduated from duke???
@ShaneBattier really? Germans bombed pearl harbor? Were did you go to school?
@ShaneBattier tweeted that the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor. Come on son! I bet Hamed knows it was the Japanese! You went to Duke!

@ShaneBattier the germans didnt bomb pearl harbor dumbass… im glad u left my city…. #thundervsheat

Hey but that’s the internet. It will recklessly jump to assault you like the idiot you are while being completely unaware of it’s own stupidity.

Doug Gillon covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. You can follow him via Twitter @douggillon. For more live tweets during Grizzlies games follow  @memphisport@cerrito, and @chasingphoto

Photo by Chase Gustafson.

Top Five Everything from the Grizzlies’ Game 3 OT Win over the Thunder

These headlines are really getting too long – might be about time to rename the series.

This is the master list from the greatest comeback in Grizzly history (going on quality not quantity). It was a weird one. Zach Randolph posted a 21-21 game, but this post is mostly going to be about O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen with a pinch of Sam Young. It was just like that.

You want a more traditional recap, go here.

As always these are real things that happened in a real game…

Top Five Basketball Moments

5) Tony Allen puts Thunder bigs in foul trouble

Do not underestimate Tony's tenacity.

In the fourth quarter, the crowd had finally showed up and the Grizzlies were showing signs of life. Tony Allen pushed that momentum with 7:31 left in the game with his trademark hustle and tenacity.

The series started with a steal by Allen, who drove fast to the basket and drew a hard foul. Allen missed his second free-throw, but tracked down a hot potato rebound and drove again. Again Allen missed the layup, but drew a foul and went 1 of 2 from the charity stripe.

The big thing about this, aside from how it showed a continuing change in momentum in which the Grizzlies were the harder working team, was that the two foulers on Allen were Thunder bigs Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka. Perkins would eventually foul out in overtime and Ibaka finished with five fouls. Allen propelled them to that fate in about 7 game seconds.

The extra fouls meant the Thunder big men could not play as aggressively underneath as they had in game two and for most of this game. It opened up lanes for Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo drives, and space for Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph late in the fourth and in overtime.

4) Three straight one point possessions somehow take a two-point lead.

Getting only one of two free throws plagued the Grizz in the fourth quarter, but their fourth quarter defense was so stout, that the team was able to tie the game and take a two-point advantage with less than a minute left on three straight one-point possessions.

It went pretty much the same way for each. The Thunder set up on offense and turned the ball over. The Grizzlies ran out on a fast break and were fouled while attempting the layup. The foulee would make only one free throw. This happened three times in a row because in the fourth quarter the Grizzlies became the great wall, and the Thunder the Mongolians.

3) O.J Mayo’s hustle

Mayo didn't have the biggest statistical day, but he made the W happen.

“Juice” kept the Grizzlies in this game. Lost in this story of the Grizzlies amazing comeback is how terrible the team played in order to dig themselves into a 16-point hole at the start of the fourth.

If not for Mayo, the hole could have been 25. Mayo sparked the team in the first quarter with eight points in four minutes, propelling the Grizzlies to a 22-20 lead in the period. Later in the game he made crucial threes during the Grizzlies’ fourth quarter run.

Even more impressively, Mayo defended the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook, one of the league’s elite scorers, and shut him down. Westbrook only managed two points in the closing minutes. Lionel Hollins said he made the switch to allow Conley to get some rest on defense, and Mayo’s performance allowed that switch to stay and benefit the Grizz.

2) Going Small

Sometimes smaller is better.

If not for the chaos of the number one selection here, this would have to be it. This changed the game.

Coming out in the fourth quarter, Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins sat his two bigs, the heart of his team’s offense, and went with a small lineup of Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo, Shane Battier, Darrell Arthur and Sam Young.

The move was different. The Grizzlies are a big team, they outmuscle their competition with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Problem was, Gasol and Randolph were struggling underneath and getting themselves out muscled. Early in the game Hollins countered with Hadaddi, who played admirably in limited action. But it wasn’t the answer.

The Thunder were insanely aggressive underneath, poking at dribbles, pushing and shoving for rebounds, and preventing Gasol or Randolph from getting into any kind of rhythm.

So Hollins tried letting the small guys to run around what had become a cage match under the basket and it worked. The small lineup was able to begin closing the gap on the Thunder while clamping down defensively and wearing down the Thunder bigs.

By the time Gasol and Randolph returned halfway through the fourth quarter, Perkins, Ibaka and Collison had more fouls, less energy, and less moxie. Z-Bo took advantage en route to the 21-21 monster stat game he posted, and the entire quarter set up the Grizzlies’ ability to roll in overtime.

Monster STAT: Once the Grizzlies went small, they outscored the Thunder 40-17 in the final 19 minutes. That’s the fourth quarter and overtime.

1) Sam Young’s ALL CAPS DUNK

No other way to describe it. This was the moment everyone in the arena, who started the game with enthusiasm to match the “whiteout” name of the game’s t-shirt promotion (hint: there wasn’t much) but had, at this point, come back into the contest with some energy as things began to look desperate.

Sam Young took that energy and slammed it right down Daequan Cook and Nick Collison’s throats. Young took a pass from Battier and, after a pump fake, found himself looking at a clear lane to the basket from 18 feet out. Young drove for the huge jam that brought the Grizzlies  within 7 with 9:20 left. At this point the crowd, and the Grizzlies, believed again.

Top Five “You had to be there” Moments

5) Penny Hardaway wins tater tots for everyone

Pretty self-explanatory here. Three-point shooting contest, one made three from someone in attendance in 30 seconds wins tots for everyone. Crowd gets to pick who the shooter is, Penny Hardaway happens to be one of the choices. He makes the second bucket and everything is rainbows, because Memphis loves Penny.

4) Fun with signs, disasters

This may have been the weakest sign night of the playoffs, but that says more for the quality of the previous nights than lack of effort in this one.

Some highlights included a “Marc > Pau” sign, and several signs making variations on the “we’ve survived a damn flood, what’s a little thunder” joke.

3) #“REFS U SUC!”

Considering the free throw differential (44 attempts for Memphis, 23 for OKC), this seems an unlikely chant. But it happened, and in a big way. After a third traveling no-call on OKC (it’s not nice to complain about this stuff, but all three were blatant) that was followed by a technical foul called on Zach Randolph late in the third quarter, the crowd, which had started to flirt with the idea of again being a factor in these playoffs, started the loud, unlikely chant.

“REFS YOU SUCK! REFS YOU SUCK!” Had to be coming from every person in The Grindhouse based on the volume.

Even this kid.

The crowd would not go away after that, although they had not yet reached their apex. For those moments see: dunk, Sam Young and Buzzer, final.

2) “Let’s Go Grizzlies!”

Not nearly as spontaneous or unexpected for most games, but somewhat for this one after three quarters of antiseptic from those in attendance. These chants went on so long and so enthusiastically that the unison began to break down from the echo. The chant continued like a round. So row, row row your boat, except with Grizz fever.

1) Growl Towel display

Normal towel use.

First, the whiteout kind of sucked. It sucked in Miami this year and last year and it sucked in Memphis on Saturday. It’s stupid. It looks stupid. in person and on television. It has a stupid name. There is nothing cool about it. Stop with the passing out of one color t-shirts. It’s garbage. Motion is lost in the sea of a single color.

Growl Towels on the other hand, highlight both a team color and the motion and enthusiasm of the crowd. They are AWESOME. Normally the proper display method of the growl towel is an elbow-based circular motion that whips the towel like a helicopter above the head of the fan.

But not late in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game. Especially during those three consecutive one-point possessions, the proper growl towel display was a straight hang, slightly above head, with the words “Believe Memphis” staring down on the audacious visiting team and pledging staunch support for the man at the line and the blue-collar team on the floor.

Clutch Towel Use

 

It was movie stuff. Couldn’t have been scripted better.

Top Five Quotes:

5) Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins
“I had preached to my guys all year long that it’s not over until there’s zero on the clock. We were dead in the water, and we needed to do something to get some energy. WE went small. You’re just trying.”

4) Grizzlies guard Sam Young
“It doesn’t always work the way you plan it, but a W is a W. I think that we played our best and when the time came everyone dug deep and we clawed this one out.”

3) Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo
“It’s like coach told us, tonight we needed the perimeter to step up big and help out the bigs. We’ve definitely got one of the best front lines in the NBA, that’s the bread and butter of our team, but we’re a team, and we all have to contribute.”

2) Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph on his “sulking” which was heavily talked about on the ESPN broadcast:
“Yeah I was ticked off. I was mad at myself. But I don’t let it carry over. I might get mad Monday you never know, I’m always getting mad at myself. Doesn’t mean anything except that I got to figure out something better to do.”

1) Grizzlies guard Tony Allen on the team going small:
“That was coach of the year type stuff. [Hollins] is a genius for that.”

Top Five Tweets

5) @ricktrotter
OJ’s end of quarter speech deserves a parental advisory label. I love the passion! #gogrizz

4) @sylamore1
WHAT the hell? Now announcers are saying Randolph “threw Ibaka to ground.” Replay obv shows him turn ankle and fall in to Zbo. HACKs

3) @johnhollinger
hollins was protesting to Mauer b/c he didn’t realize Mauer called a charge. Then attempted to high-5 him when informed of call.

2) @cerrito
The Grindhouse crowd sings “Whoomp There It Is” much better than they do the National Anthem.

Note: the crowd was invited to sing the National Anthem along with a Navy band to start the game. Thankfully, Grizzlies PA announcer Rick Trotter will take over singing the anthem on Monday.

1) @flyergrizzblog
Instead of waving the towels down the stretch, fans have been holding them up in defiance, showing “BELIEVE” logo. Cool.

Top Five Photos

Still hungry for more from the Grizzlies’ payoff run? Check out the game one recap, or from the Spurs’ series: Top Five of Game 6 the Top Five Everything of Game Four, our Game Four recap, the Top Five Everything of Game Three, our Game Three recap, our take on the game one win, and for some further back nostalgia, our Top 6 Beards of the Playoff Run.

Doug Gillon covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. You can follow him via Twitter @douggillon. For more live tweets during Grizzlies games follow  @memphisport@cerrito, and @chasingphoto

Photos by Chase Gustafson.


First to 100: Grizzlies quiet Thunder, 114 – 101, take 1-0 series lead

Again, no one thought the Memphis Grizzlies would win game one on the road. Again, they did. This time just 36 hours after the biggest win in franchise history. And this time, no miracle three-point shots were needed.

No, the Grizzlies won this game the old-fasioned way, with dominating play from their two big men Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, who combined for 54 points and 13 rebounds. Randolph’s 34 points are a new Grizzlies’ playoff record, and were the most of any player in the game.

Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant scored 33 and Russell Westbrook added 29 in a losing effort.

The Grizzlies were able to jump out with a small lead early, but took control of the game in the second quarter and went into the half with a double-digit lead. The Thunder had a few runs in which they came as close as 1 point, but were never even able to even tie the game.

The Thunder just couldn’t find an answer for Randolph and Gasol, who rolled right through single defensive coverage that was soft compared to the physicality of the Spurs. Oklahoma City did not even start double-teaming the two Grizzlies bigs until late in the fourth quarter, but by then it was too late.

Other notable players for the Grizzlies were Shane Battier, Mike Conley and Tony Allen who all scored in double figures.

The Grizzlies next game is Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. in Oklahoma City. The next home game takes place Saturday at 4:00 p.m. Both game 3 and 4 at FedExForum are already sold out.

Doug Gillon covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. You can follow him via Twitter@douggillon. For more live tweets during Grizzlies games follow  @memphisport@cerrito, and @chasingphoto

Photo by Chase Gustafson.

 

Top 5 Everything from the Grizzlies’ Game 4 Win

Tornadoes raged through Memphis in the morning and at night. Inside The Grindhouse which is also sometimes called FedExForum, a furry blue tornado raged through the San Antonio Spurs playoff hopes.

This is the master list for Monday’s “Beale Street Beatdown”. You want a more traditional recap, go here. As always these are real things that happened in a real game…

 

Top Five Basketball Moments

5) “You have to be the man Mike”

Pictured: Being the man

The final score kind of covers this fact up, but the Grizzlies looked like crap for the first half of this game. They trailed at the end of the first two quarters, were outscored in the paint, had a shooting % of lower than 40 for most of the half, and were losing the battles for rebounds and fast break points.

The Grizzlies were playing in quicksand on offense, and the Spurs couldn’t miss. It was amazing the Grizz were able to stay in the game.

Part of the reason why was Lionel Hollins. With 5:27 left in the second quarter and the Spurs lining up for free throws, Hollins grabbed Mike Conley by the shoulders and told him “you have to be the man Mike.”

After that the Grizzlies started to wake up and set up the monster second half.

4) O.J. Mayo buys dinner for laws of physics, says “I’ll call you”

Seriously Newton... it's just not working out.

O.J. Mayo must have overheard the talk to Conley, because HE was the man in the stretch surrounding it.

Mayo missed a free throw due to an air horn, but Gasol grabbed the rebound and kicked the ball out to Mayo – who hit a three. Two-point play becomes four. On the next possession, Mayo decided that matter, anti-matter, the fabric of the universe and generally accepted restrictions of human movement were irrelevant and slammed home a reverse jam that Grizz fans will be seeing for a long time.

3) Shane Battier sends Spurs to the bench with corner three

5:43 left in the game, the Grizz were rolling, and Battier nailed a corner three (as he is one to do) to extend the lead to 20. Popovich gave up at that point, called a timeout and sent his starters to the bench.

2) Darrell Arthur inspires a new Eminem hit, “Forgot about DA”

You should never forget about DA.

Nowadays everyone wants to talk like they got something to say. Like that the Grizzlies still couldn’t beat the Spurs despite being up 2-1. Those people obviously forgot about DA.

Arthur, who has been sneaky good all year, especially when Vasquez is in the game, had the minutes of his life in this one. With 1:24 left in the third, he pressured the Spurs into a turnover of their inbounds pass. Then he made a 20-foot jumper. Then he made another 20-foot jumper. Then he put on wings to send home an alley-oop from Mayo. He finished with 14 points.

1) The whole third quarter

Yeah this was when the game went from “Oh crap, here we go again” to “Whoa, are the Grizzlies going to run the Spurs out of this arena?”

“Believe Memphis” kept becoming more appropriate as the Grizzlies outscored the Spurs 30-15 in the quarter.

It started early as the Grizzlies were able to get into the bonus within 5 minutes. The Grizz capitalized on the free throws but also clamped down on defense, not allowing the Spurs to score until 7:22 remained in the quarter.

During this initial 14-0 run, Popovich called two separate timeouts to try and swell the tide. The second one finally did, resulting in a Ginobli layup, but the damage had already been done.

 

Top Five “You had to be there” Moments

5) Spirit of Memphis nails National Anthem

Nailed it. Nailed it. Nailed it. A soulful, a cappella rendition by the perfectly named group was a fantastic start to the night.

4) “The Grindhouse” originator passes out yellow cards for Ginobli

He was on the radio Saturday talking about how he invented the Grindhouse moniker, but Ryan Hamlin, aka @Hamlin38103, wasn’t content with that being his only contribution to the Grizzlies universe. After tweeting all day about how to make large yellow cards, Hamlin decided to pass them out to fans sitting behind the goals, with the intent of holding them up for every Ginobli flop.

The cards didn’t seem to catch on, but it was funny watching Hamlin pass them around before tip-off.

3) Grizzline joins in with “All I Do is Win” before fourth quarter and it doesn’t seem out of place at all

Because they believe.

Yes, the Grizzlies played the song normally reserved for end of the game a quarter early, but after that third quarter performance it didn’t seem like it would have been a jinx. By anyone. The crowd did the bump and grind right with Grizz line.

2) Tim Duncan picks up second foul, crowd erupts

Ginobli still got plenty of hate, but nothing like the boos he received in game three. The biggest hostile moment though had to be Tim Duncan’s second foul pickup in the third quarter.

Duncan predictably made the face he always makes, eyes wide open, hands out in front like “what did I do?” and the crowd ate it up. If anything Duncan made The Grindhouse louder by protesting the call.

1) The entire fourth quarter

This pretty much sums it up.

It became clear pretty early in this period that the Spurs were done, and then it was party party for the Memphis fans. For the first part of the game, the crowd didn’t seem to know how to get crazy for two games in a row. By the fourth quarter, they were screaming for every basket as the Grizzlies continued to pull away.

 

Top Five Quotes

5) Shane Battier on being up 3-1
“We held home court, and these guys can expect the toughest game of their life come Wednesday.”

4) Mike Conley on the start of the fourth quarter
“I think everybody smelled blood. We realized, a couple more punches and we got ‘em.”

3) Coach Hollins on who was the better team
“They’re the better team. They won 61 games, and we won 46 games. Their record all year long said they were the better team. As I’ve always said, it doesn’t matter who is the better team during the regular season. When you get to the playoffs, each series you have to be the better team.”

2) Darrell Arthur on winning both early home games
“We’ve been playing well at home all season. I think we can beat anybody. I can’t remember the last time we lost several games in a row.”

1) Marc Gasol on whether the Spurs were prepared for Darrell Arthur
“They stuck to their game plan tonight, but I promise you they’re going to change it to look for him next time.”

 

Top Five Tweets

5) @ShaneBattier
Are those tornado sirens going off or are they just trying to hype up the city for tonights game?

4) @HPBasketball
It’s ALMOST like Matt Bonner can’t guard Zach Randolph. ODD. MORE RESEARCH NEEDED.

3) @chasingphoto
Ginobili definitely has a career in acting after the NBA. I have the photos to prove it.

2) @johnhollinger
@ChrisVernonShow May need an ice bath for my Griz fever after this one.

1) @FakeCoachPop
I knew I should have bought that Groupon for that guided fishing trip yesterday.

 

Top Five Photos

For more Grizz playoff coverage, check out the Top Five Everything of Game Three, our Game Three recap, our take on the last Grizz watch party (you know, because another one is coming up Wednesday), and for some nostalgia, our Top 6 Beards of the Playoff Run.

Doug Gillon covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. You can follow him via Twitter@douggillon. For more live tweets during Grizzlies games follow  @memphisport@cerrito, and @chasingphoto

Amazing photos by Chase Gustafson.

 

First to 100: Grizzlies destroy Spurs 104-86 in game 4, take 3-1 lead

Maybe the Grizzlies were tired of sweating out close games, so they just got this one decided early.

Sparked by a 14-0 run to start the second half, the Grizzlies ran the San Antonio Spurs out of the Memphis Grindhouse 104-86 to take a 3-1 series lead and come that much closer to winning their first playoff series in franchise history.

Offensively, the Grizzlies earned the win in an unexpected manner. Points in the paint, a Grizzlies staple strength, belonged to the Spurs for three quarters. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph were effective, but not allowed to dominate – yet the Grizzlies still manhandled the Spurs on the backs of strong efforts off the bench from Shane Battier, O.J. Mayo, Greivis Vasquez and Darrell Arthur. The late big lead allowed for the entire team to play, and every Grizzly except Hamed Haddadi scored points.

The second half effort was even more amazing when considering that the Grizzlies trailed at the end of both the first and second quarters.

FedExForum, aka the Grindhouse, was again packed with the Grizzlies’ sixth sellout of the season. While the crowd was subdued early compared to Saturday, volume was again at 11 as the Grizz closed out the game in blowout fashion.

Doug Gillon covers the Grizzlies for MemphiSport. You can follow him via Twitter@douggillon. For more live tweets during Grizzlies games follow  @memphisport@cerrito, and @chasingphoto

Photos by Chase Gustafson.