Grit and grind one more time?

MEMPHIS – The Thunder beat up the Grizzlies and then the Grizzlies beat up themselves.

“We got embarrassed,” said Mike Conley.

“We didn’t have it,” said Shane Battier. “The ubiquitous ‘it.’ Whatever ‘it’ is, we didn’t have it.”

So it’s been a fun ride, but now the Grizzlies are at the edge of the cliff.

That’s how everyone sees it.

Everyone, that is, except the Grizzlies.

“The series is not over,” said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins. “I’m sure a lot of you guys are writing about it being over. I still believe in my team. I’m sure we’ll come back and regroup … and be ready.”

“He says this is where we find out who we are,” said Conley. “Find out the kind of people we are. What kind of players we are. Because you don’t know until your back is against the wall, and everything is up for grabs. This will be a good test for us.”

The Grizzlies, down 3-2 in the best-of-seven, will have to be ready for Game 6 on Friday (9 p.m. ET, ESPN) with much more enthusiasm and energy than they could summon for Game 5. Whether it was the product of a physical and emotional hangover from the triple-overtime Game 4 or a surge in confidence by the Thunder, for the first time in the series there was a clear difference between the two teams.

The Grizzlies insist that it’s not the Thunder defense that’s been the difference, but their own lack of aggressiveness at going to the basket and finishing. They missed 18 layups in Game 5

“We missed shots. I don’t think it’s nothing special they’re doing,” said Zach Randolph, who has shot just 22-for-69 in the last four games.

Through the first four games, the Grizzlies had actually outscored the Thunder by two cumulative points and dominated OKC on the offensive glass. But Game 5 was a complete collapse. Now the Grizzlies face the challenge of proving that they belong for the first time since the playoffs began a month ago.

Since they waltzed into San Antonio and used the magic of Battier delivering a clutch 3-pointer at virtually the same time that his wife Heidi was delivering their child 200 miles away in Houston, the Grizzlies have been living the free and easy life, always exceeding the expectations of a No. 8 seed, always staying ahead of the pressure.

The Grizzlies opened up a 3-1 lead on the No. 1 seeded Spurs in the first round and closed out the series in six games. Then they rolled right into Oklahoma City on 36 hours of rest and repeated their trick, knocking off the Thunder.

Now, for the first time since they became the grit and grind Cinderella darlings of the postseason, the Grizzlies are behind in a series.

Somebody suggested to Battier that the Grizzlies now face a two-game series for their playoff lives.

“It’s a one-game series for all intents and purposes,” Battier corrected. “We have to win [Friday night]. So it’s a one-game series. All we’re looking for is one win in a row.”

61 Comments

  1. ManOfTheFans says:

    Just wrote an article about the future of the Grizz.

    Check it out

    http://www.manofthefans.com/2011/05/roster-breakdown-day-6-memphis.html

  2. AusRob says:

    I think OKC need to win game 7 more than the Grizz do… I mean sure, anything less than a championship can be viewed as a bad result, but I think even if the Grizz lose they’d view their big win over San Antonio and pushing the Thunder to game 7 as a great result that could change their fortunes over the next five years. When Rudy Gay is back this team could really compete. You could say they’re going through what the Thunder were last year, a sign of things to come.

    On the other hand, if the Thunder bow out on Sunday I’m not sure they’ll be terribly happy about it. Yes, it’s progress on last year, and no disrespect to the Grizz but getting pushed out by the eighth seed which is missing its best player isn’t exactly how you want to go out. The Western conference final I’d imagine would’ve been their goal heading into the playoffs if it wasn’t at the start of the year, that’d be a good result for them on the previous season. It’s not a trophy, but it’s progress.

  3. moneyball says:

    First things first I want to tell that guy Heat Fan that that was the best comment I have ever seen and to tell the boston fans to stop crying because LeBron flat out killed paul pierce twice on that 10-0 run in game 5. Matter of fact, that whole Heat team killed them all series long.

    Now to the reason I am on this blog. I don’t care who wins this series but it is the best one so far. The to winning is taking the advantage on the frontcourt and backcourt. Right now the grizz got the front court. If they can get turnouvers and bad ball handling from Westbrook( which has happened in this series), the with meet the mavs.

    Right now OCK has the backcourt.If Westbrook don’t turn over the ball and they try to stop Randolph & Gasol, they will win.

    My Pick: I have the grizz in game 7. sorry OCK, but the task I have for the grizz looks easier to do.

  4. Aaron says:

    If Rudy Gay wasn’t injured Memphis would have taken this series no doubt, him and Z-Bo would tear OKC’s defense up

  5. Cha says:

    Z-BO

  6. RESpect?? says:

    yeah number 30points and 13rebound for zach in game 6? haha

    we will see what will happen in game 7..

    dont get too excited okc finish the series first.

    • OKCKD35 says:

      No Respect for Randolph, if you notice (with the exception of game 1) Randolph cant put together back to back good games, and he doesnt do it on the road like he does at home, which tells me he gets away with a lot of crap at home, watching that series he is a dirty player, always pushing and elbowing after the whistle, clears out with his left hand on shot attempts and hooks when driving to the basket, he is just too fat for the ref to see around him, you want something to laugh at look at the series and enjoy your ride home!

  7. Ventruck says:

    Right now I see it that both Atlanta and Memphis have made huge strides to make the most use of their talent/potential. Neither team has the prominent All-Star or All NBA 1st-team, but let’s get real: both teams are rather “stacked” all around. Most players in their team’s primary rotations would be getting a number of offers once their contracts are up – unless they’re really coming of age or something.

    side note:
    Funny how Heat fans feel so entitled to an exclusive sense of relinquishment for the team being hated on. It’s not like it’s happened before or elsewhere.

  8. Angel_Killer says:

    It’s funny how in almost all threads, we have a HEAT hater. Well, all of us have a team that we hate, a player we despise. Just like me, I hate how Kobe cocks himself as if he is the most important player in LA. Well, he proved to be was, on how he let his team down (as always) and blame it to his team mates. Let us just watch and give comments after the games have been played. Bulls are strong but I do not see them matching up with the Heat in a 7 games series. Let us just wait and see. But for the series of OKC and Memphis, OKC should win it all in LA. Mem already had their fair share of success but I hate to see them going against MAVS. They will be eaten alive.

  9. HelloEveyone says:

    thunder got their arse handed to them tonight, westbrook really pisses me off, he takes so many shots and misses so many, they wont lose at home but they really should of closed it out tonight.

  10. von wallace says:

    I have been a sonics fan my whole life nick collision is going to be the shutdown low post defender for the rest of the playoffs(dirk and bosh) and durant is going to have 40 point games boy’s starting to heat up. bring it home seeatle supersonics

  11. willie says:

    The heat team..well I can say talented team,but the defense of Bulls new coach will make their talent short or non existent heat will fall short again in NBA final…I do not like both of the team but I prefer Bulls to win east finals
    D Rose will show his MVP talent and the rest of the team will be the supporting cast. When it comes to championship
    between West against the East…will depend on who will win in the west finals..

  12. gilbertgranger12345 says:

    league of tomorrow:
    chris paul, lebron james, dwayne wade, rajon rondo, zach randolph, derrick rose, lamarcus aldridge, brandon roy, kevin durant, russell westbrook, kevin love, danny granger, deron williams

    league of yesterday:

    kobe bryant, allen iverson, tim duncan, steve nash, vince carter, tracy mcgrady, chauncey billups, kevin garnett

  13. HUGO says:

    Empyong says: okc and memphis this two teams are not strong team but they work hard to get into play off okc wish you all the luck and all to team dallas kidd kidd

    Sure that’s why OKC Beat Dallas in Texas in the regular season right?

    • OKCKD35 says:

      regular season has no bearing on the playoffs, see Heat Vs Celtics. that and OKC and Dallas have not played since the trade! Thunder up!

  14. HUGO says:

    OKC THUNDER will win this Championship, Beat The Chicago Bulls on final, Sorry MAv’s and Heat fans it’s the true … the best team a the most youngest team OKC THUNDER.

  15. Memphis Fans Are Dumb!!! “Ohhh The Thunder Cant Stop Randolf”! Wtf Are You Serious .. I Guess Holding Him To Signle Digit Points And 5 Rebounds Is Considererd..”Cant Be Stop” Really Now.. He’s Had Two Good Games This Series..The First Game Of The Series And Game Three When He Had A Ton Of Rebounds…. Who You Guys Need To Worry About Being Stopped Is Kevin Durant!

  16. lake show/griz effect says:

    heat fans yawl r terrible. go griz. talk about this game. the heat r in the next round so we talkin about the griz and okc. i cnt stand people who cnt handle success. yawl weren’t even heat fans at first anyway.

  17. lake show/griz effect says:

    yeah i could of swarn that this is about the memph griz and okc. didn say anythng about the heat. dan heat fans yawl act like yawl cnt handle success. yawl havnt even the conference title yet so leave the heat out of this blog post.

  18. DM8488 says:

    http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/fran_blinebury/05/12/thunder-grizzlies-zach-randolph-struggles/index.html After making 12 of 22 shots in Game 1, Randolph’s shooting numbers have been: 2-for-13, 8-for-22, 9-for-25 and 3-for-9.

    Fran Blineburys post on NBA.COM now please all you griz fans saying thunder cant stop read his article! thenadmit your wrong lol

  19. Felix says:

    Oklahoma City Thunder will finish what my Spurs could not do in Round 1. I have confidence that the Thunder will come back and win tonight. I like them cuz they are in way like my Spurs. Thunder UP! And goodnight Zbo.

  20. KDurantulaFan#35 says:

    OKC is closing it out tonight, period. Memphis burned through all their gas after the triple overtime loss in game 5. Plus their confidence is down. The Thunder have shown no signs of weakness when it comes to the fourth quarter in any game, (including losses.) They just need to finish a bit more stronger is all. Westbrook keep doing what you’re doing kid. Even if they leave you open like any team leaves Rondo open, shoot the ball, sooner or later it will drop! KD all day everyday! OKC in six.

  21. Alex Olivier says:

    OMGoodness!!!

    All things have Ups and Downs…
    This is the downfall of lakers,boston and other Champion team contenders!
    WIsh them “Better LUCK NEXT TIME!!!!”
    And JUST WATCH the NBA Finals Please???

    GO MEMP and HEAT!!!!

  22. fearthebeard says:

    OKC, It is funny how everyone jumped on the heat bandwagon, I hate to break it to you heat fans… Rose will kill you guys. You guys have have NOTHING IN THE PAINT! Chris Bosh? Hahaha. But back to what this blog is actually about, THUNDER UP! Thunder will close the series tonight, Durant is gonna go off, Westbrook will show all the haters how great of a PG he will be for years to come. Z-Bo is good but the Grizz have rode him to long. Thunder Up.

  23. wow for reals? says:

    come on now why are we talking about a boston heat series that just ended? this is about memphis and OKC…..

  24. Italian Guy says:

    Sad to say that maybe these incredible Grizzlies have finished their fuel. Nice rush by Z-Bo and his mates, but I dont think they are going to beat OKC. At leat they can finish their season with great hopes for future!

  25. dextra memphis says:

    memphis will win zach randolph all day they cant stop him!

  26. empyong says:

    defense defense and a team with big heart will be the winner dallas kidd and dirk do your best to be champion at least one ….. good luck and more power

  27. empyong says:

    dallas dallas

  28. empyong says:

    kidd kidd do your best to get first champ troppy ,i wacth since you were in to nets before motombu and van horn ,kidd play so hard man…. from philippines more defense heat is a better team….

  29. empyong says:

    okc and memphis this two teams are not strong team but they work hard to get into play off okc wish you all the luck and all to team dallas kidd kidd

  30. dude says:

    so does anyone here have an opinion about memphis vs okc?

    • Sean says:

      i hope the grizz win but i like OKC so either way the western finals will be good!
      that triple overtime was hands down best game of the playoffs
      gotta love the grizz’s grit if they get two good games from marc gasol z bo and mike conley i think they can still pull it off

      • stof says:

        3OT did show that OKC has problems taking the last-second-shot for the win, missing it 3 times. never the less i do hope they win it in game 7 (griz are winning tonight to take revench for the blowout).
        OKC will destroy dallas and then take the Heat to 7 games.

        Speaking of the Heat, they realy compare to the lakers when they signed shaq to team up whith kobe, same as Lebron joining Wade. Bosh is just a very good roleplayer. This move has established the heat as the new lakers, meaning that now everybody hates the heat instead of the lakers, except their own fans.

    • KC says:

      If Westbrook shares the ball and keeps his team active, the Grizzlies are going to get the rest of the postseason off tonight.

  31. blah says:

    at least Heat fans make sense, can spell, and don’t type in CAPS, Lakers fans are the exact opposite.

    • Sean says:

      my god there is nothing more pathetic then people commenting on other peoples spelling on here you think people really care and make a concentrated effort to type perfect? half the time i cant even tell cuz the print at the bottom is so small get a F#$&ing life and stop commenting on peoples spelling on a a fricken blog site this aint no fricken university spelling blog

    • lake show/griz effect says:

      heat fans aint got a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. we got our rings and yawl got one. ya know one is the lonelyest number ever my guy so stop hatin. yawl heat fans tryin to get where us laker fans already r so just watch the game n quit hatin. n plus i thought this was a blog about the griz. n since im from memphis im also reppin my griz

  32. LBJ-D-Wade says:

    everywhere is full of haters !

  33. Heat Fan says:

    What I think is BS is that noone has even mentioned the fact about how the whole team of Boston except for Allen and West walked out and to their locker room after the game without even shaking hands or congratulating. Before I go on, first let me say **I** personally don’t care. Back in the day most players really didnt do it much anyways. 80′s and 90′s that I watched at least. They were such rivals most of em were too proud to give each othe props for a good game. Its the heat of the moment and its what it is. But this is also the reason that I said when Lebron got blown up for it 2 years ago against Orlando that the negative scrutiny he got for it was completely unjustified.

    We ALL remember how Lebron James got BEAT DOWN for it like he just committed a crime right? I’m sure we all do. How could you guys forget? All you haters out there right? Every sportswriter, commentator, analyst, critic, and alot of current and ex-players were all criticizing him. FUNNY how I haven’t seen not one article, blog, or even glancing MENTION of how Boston walked out on them. JUST as they walked out also in their last regular season game that featured the 23 point BEAT DOWN that the Heat gave em then too. Not EVEN a mention.

    Funny how theres a double standard huh? Its PERFECTLY OK for anyone to do it other than Lebron James. Boston did it. So didn’t Kobe years ago. MANY other players throughout history have done that. NOTHING when they do it. It’s really sad how someones always trying to find any miniscule thing to bring someone down that is so widely praised.

    It is simply the perfect example of how people LOVE to hate Lebron. The actual proof is right here before us. Just the simple fact that I’ve been scouring the Internet for the 2 days following Game 5, and to find absolutely not even one glancing mention of how 3 out of the Big 4, and most of the rest of the Celtics team, walked out on the Heat.

    But thats ok though. Remember how Paul Pierce taunted Lebron by tweeting when they barely pulled out a win in Miami early on in the season? I’m SURE we ALL do. He said and I quote:

    “Its been a pleasure to bring my talents to south beach now on to Memphis”

    Who’s laughing NOW Paul Pierce and you Celtic fans?

    BLAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    • Lakers 3 Peat Quest = EPIC FAIL says:

      WORD!

    • Sean says:

      because boston dont call themselves “the king” and dont throw dust in the air and dance on the court like idiots like lebron does

      • Think About it Please says:

        You have short term memory, Kobe was bashed heavily when he was demanding for a trade and had a bad game. Perhaps you only started watching basketball after the 03 draft?

    • NetsNetsNets says:

      Is this guy serious? Remember when LeBenedict was too scared to go out when his name was called cause he was “using the bathroom”? Please. Miami didn’t shake Boston’s hands when they lost to them 3 times during the regular season. Before you go claiming double standard, dude, realize your whole comment is a double standard.

  34. DWADE says:

    The HEAT will easily beat the Bulls, shutdown Rose and its all over.

  35. Stephen says:

    How did you turn this story into something about the Heat???

  36. DWADE says:

    Beating the Lakers in a regular season and the Celtics in the 2nd round of the playoffs are not special to you? you must be an alien living on Mars. LOL

  37. Kobleed says:

    He just used the word “HEAT” and “LAKERS” and all of you kept blubbering. Losers.

  38. Jake says:

    You realize the Heat really haven’t done anything special yet right?

    • Kitana says:

      well said….

      • OKCKD35 says:

        once again why are all the heat fans in this blog? isnt this about OKC Memphis? Personally i could give a crap about the heat (who we whooped on in miami last time we played) I want to hear all the Grizz fans that have been talking crap all series long, funny how the comments stop after a 27 point spanking, lets close this in 6! Thunder up!

      • dextra memphis says:

        Memphis up youll cant stop randolph he will have 20 in 11 as usaul!

      • DM8488 says:

        zach 12-22 game 1 2-13 game 2 8-23 game 3 9-25 game 4 3-9 game 5 cant stop him? ha i hope he shoots 30 attempts tonite he should be about 9-30? lmao

      • Sean says:

        yea zach was shooting good against the spurs but looks like okcs got his number!

      • OKCKD35 says:

        he can have 20-11 all game long, what you fail to mention is he is shooting less than 40%, keep chucking up the crap, its nice :) and keep crying randolph, go to the bench and put your sweats on!

  39. Brian says:

    I love how you talk like it’s all locked up for the Heat. Keep in mind, Laker fans were doing the same thing after Round 1. Notice they don’t have much to say now. That could be you after the Eastern Conference Finals.

    • Rondow says:

      What do you expect from a heat fan. :P

      • Sean says:

        nothing
        just bandwagonness
        and they are they just wont admit it
        i got friends who never liked the heat now they are big heat fans
        unless u live in florida ur a bandwagon fan all the way doesnt matter if u were a lebron fan

  40. Sigh says:

    This fan is the type of guy that we can look forward to seeing around the internet if the Heat take the place of the Lakers…

  41. DJ says:

    Did you rest the mouthy Randolph? He definitely needed those. Did Allen wash his mouth, too? Needed too. OKC has lots of energy. May they show up again tonight.