MEMPHIS – It will be hot. It will be crowded. It will be loud. It will be physical.
This is the Grind House. That’s the nickname that guard Tony Allen has given to the Grizzlies’ home, in honor of their rugged, scrappy style of play.
“It’s backyard basketball,” Allen said. “Backyard basketball is pullin’, grabbin’, scratchin, divin’ on loose balls, takin’ charges. Nobody wants to lose. Everybody is trying to do what it takes.”
It’s a style that enabled the Grizzlies to compile a 30-11 home record this season, third best in the Western Conference, and one they’re hoping to continue to thrive on as Games 3 and 4 of this rough-and-tumble first-round series shifts to Memphis for the weekend.
The Spurs’ Tony Parker has compared the Grizzlies’ style to that of the old Utah teams with John Stockton and Karl Malone – “foul and grab.”
Memphis point guard Mike Conley nods his head and smiles.
“There’s a big difference in a regular-season foul and a playoff foul and there’s a difference in the no-foul (call),” he said. “When you go in the paint, you’re going to get hammered and there still might not be a whistle. So you concentrate more on finishing the play than worrying about drawing the foul.”
Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins doesn’t want his team to get too caught up in the hoopla of what is being called the biggest game in Grizzlies history and, possibly the biggest game ever played in the city of Memphis.
“It’s not about the crowd and it can’t be about the emotion,” Hollins said. “We’ve got to concentrate on playing our game.
“We’ve got to get one home win. That’s the goal, to go out and win one game and worry about the next game when it comes. We have to go out and compete and do what it takes to win the game.”
More than anything, it means welcoming the Spurs to the Grind House.