Grizz Show Bite At Just The Right Time





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — As we lurch toward the playoffs, no more voting, please.

We have a winner. We have the proverbial Team Nobody Wants To Face.

Drum roll?

We present the Memphis Grizzlies for your strong consideration. Right here and now, the Grizzlies are top-five in the NBA, in terms of the sizzle factor (they’ve won eight of 10), the coach factor (Lionel Hollins, one of my personal faves, is in the discussion for Coach of the Year) and the X-factor (Zach Randolph is still on the mend and … Gilbert Arenas?).

This team is peaking at the right time and is showing few if any signs of breaking down or being a tease. The goal for the Grizzlies is simple: Do a repeat of last year’s surprising playoff run, but this time, win Game 7 against the Thunder (or whomever) in the West semifinals.

Does that sound reasonable? Doable? Inevitable? Maybe all of the above.The Grizzlies’ candidacy for the TNWTF got a big boost last night with a gutsy win over the Clippers, and now the Grizzlies are just a sneeze behind both L.A. teams in the standings. With the exception of 20 turnovers, which is uncustomary for Memphis, they played a solid game against the Clippers and pulled away, writes Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

Randolph notched his third straight double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds) as six Grizzlies scored in double figures. Center Marc Gasol’s 18 points led Memphis to its third straight win overall, and fifth in a row at home.

The Griz shot 50 percent but set the tone early by playing physical defense, crowding Clippers forward Blake Griffin and not allowing Chris Paul to freely toss a bunch of lob passes for easy scores.

“It seemed like our crowd was waiting for something to happen,” Griz forward Rudy Gay said. “We knew if you let Chris get into a rhythm and throw alley oops its hard to stop them. But we punched first.”

Los Angeles shot in the mid-to-low 30s for most of the game and finished with 40.5 percent shooting.

Gay called it a statement game for the Grizzlies in what was a possible first-round playoff matchup. The fifth-place Griz moved to within a half game of the fourth-place Clippers.

Geoff Calkins of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal pretty much summed up the feeling in Memphis right now: get the Growl Towels ready.

The Grizzlies throttled the Clippers, or rear-ended them, or pick your own adjective. The final was 95-84. It was never really close.

“We didn’t want them coming in here and steamrolling us,” said Gay, so the Grizzlies steamrolled them instead.

The night felt like the playoffs. That included the crowd. A tip of the hat to — as we say in the South — all y’all.

It’s almost as if everybody in the city can feel what’s coming.

The players, the employees and the folks in the seats. Time to dust off your year-old growl towels.

For the better part of two years, the Grizzlies have been coping with one serious injury or another. But now, finally, they are becoming what fans barely dared dream they could be.

No, Randolph isn’t yet the player he was at the end of last year. And Tony Allen has missed a couple games with a torn-up mouth.

But all you have to do is look at what the Grizzlies are sending in from the bench these days and you’ll understand the potential of this team.

Here’s why you must like the Grizzlies. Not only are they playing their best ball right now, in the shadow of the postseason, but they still have upside. As Calkins mentions above, Z-Bo is coming off the bench until he gets his legs back after tearing his right MCL back in January. You know how effective he is in the low post.

Elsewhere, the Grizzlies are the picture of health, with the possible exception of Allen, who missed the Clippers’ win after suffering a nasty cut to his mouth against Dallas. He’ll be ready when it counts, though. Unlike last season’s playoff run, the Grizz have Gay healthy as the playoffs near. He’s fit in perfectly with the crew that went on the run last season (which was a big question surrounding the Grizz in the preseason) and is leading the team in scoring.

So there’s some firepower on this team. They’re getting a lift in spots from O.J. Mayo, who was trade bait last month, and Marreese Speights, a reject from the Sixers who has held down Z-Bo’s starting job admirably since Jan. 10.. They anticipate a hand or two from Arenas, a pickup that didn’t cost them anything and might be the best bargain signing of the season.

Among their remaining games are two with the Hornets, one with the Bobcats and one with the Cavaliers. If the Spurs rest their Big Three this Thursday, then that’s another very winnable game. Basically, the Grizzlies could leap into the No. 3 or 4 spot if all goes their way. But that’s really beside the point.

They don’t seem too worried about who they’ll get in the first round. Maybe it should be the other way around.

“We’re getting into playoff mode,” said Z-Bo. “It’s coming, for sure.”

For the better part of two years, the Grizzlies have been coping with one serious injury or another. But now, finally, they are becoming what fans barely dared dream they could be.

No, Randolph isn’t yet the player he was at the end of last year. And Tony Allen has missed a couple games with a torn-up mouth.

But all you have to do is look at what the Grizzlies are sending in from the bench these days and you’ll understand the potential of this team.


38 Comments

  1. Countess says:

    WHO IS GARNETT?

  2. They call this redundant Shaun, its either your editor made the mistake or he seem likely trust you, of your knowledge in writing. Hays, I was already enjoying reading your article, then this… By the way watch out for the grizzlies, I think the Garnett era will now be forgotten…

  3. sedricj. says:

    Grizz Nation is ready for playoff basketball ! we could go all the way this year! LA its OVERRR!!

  4. Jason says:

    As a Memphis resident and native I’m just proud man I think the city deserves it… The Grizzlies have really helped the local economy and make Downtown more than just Beale Street again. I’m going to have to break the piggy bank and catach a playoff game or two this year now that I can… Shot out to Spreights he came in and held down some big shoes to fill and he’s earned all the playing time he’s getting and Conley has done really well to improve his instincts at the 1. Go get em Grizz!

  5. prix says:

    GRIZZLIES SUK!!!!!!!!! THEY WILL LOSE IN THE FIRST ROUND CLIPPER TOWN WILL WIN TITLE LOLOLOL

  6. Is Darrell Arthur available in the playoffs?

  7. HeatWade says:

    i’m betting on this Grizzlies team this playoffs.

  8. Ben says:

    i don’t care what anyone says the grizzlies are gonna walk away with a ring this year they are number one right in the league i think they got off to a rough start at the begging of the year but right now i think it would be safe to say that no team can play a seven game series and beat the grizzlies i mean everybody is always talking about the heat, the bulls, and okc but why don’t ppl talk about memphis sure the heat have a power three and i guess u could say the thunder and bulls do too but the grizzlies have a power 8 (rudy gay, oj mayo, marc gasol, zack randolph, mike conley, tony allen, marreese speights, and gilbert arenas) now tell me what team has a power eight just saying

  9. Choker says:

    Grizzlies are threat in any team in the League….. Heat, Thunder, Spurs and even Bulls offense can be shut down

  10. B. Carroll says:

    They are still missing Darrell Arthur who is a much bigger upgrade from the back up 4/5 than Dante Cunningham. Lionel Hollins deserves a ton of credit for his “play for each other” approach that typically doesn’t work well in the league. Randolph, Gay, Gasol, and Conley recently got contract extensions. In a league where dollars make sense that is huge in terms of what it takes to get the others to buy in. This team can beat anyone in the league and this team’s only achilles heel’s are their much improved 3 point shooting and their ability to score down the stretch of close games. No one wants to see this team thrive b/c they stand for all the right things in basketball — with a few people with checkered pasts that the national media would rather bury than praise.

  11. Stephone says:

    The Grizzlies are playing great basketball now & as I see it no one wants to see them in the playoffs. If anyonw saw the game last night, you saw that te referee were giving Chris Paul a lot of flops. Normally by the refs were favoring the Clippers, they would have given in to the ref, but the Grizz kept playing & that will let you know a sing of then team of the future. Remember the Oklahoma City Thunder was in the same posotion last year with the 4th seat & look at them this year. Marinate on that!!!!!

  12. bowcheck says:

    I know that this year, we re going to make a nice playoff run and make some noise but we re not going all the way but next year we re gona win it all

  13. Tom says:

    already wrote this somewhere here.
    healthy Grizzlies are one of the hardest to beat.
    they did it last season from the 8th spot (Beat the Spurs) and their lose 3-4 to OCK could have been a coin toss.

    Arenas helps them, but they have to play like a team, from the inside with the younger Gasol, and Randolph.
    It really depends on Randolph, he has to play better, not like last season, but much better than now.

  14. Spurs4Life says:

    Im tired of hearing about the spurs are to old, the only old players on the spurs are Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Stephen Jackson and they all are playing well, Tony Parker is in his prime and the rest of the team are young guns who are playing outstanding ball, I think many will be suprised when the Spurs win it all but as always the spurs are underestimated because we don’t have that one flashy player, we play as a team and we will prove that this year.

    • I've seen alot of that going round too says:

      But the Spurs are definitely best in the West (so far). It’s a flip of a coin between OKC and Grizz’ for next best out West. Form to date puts OKC ahead, form going into the playoffs? Well, can’t see a better case for it right now in the West than the Grizzlies.

  15. Lucas says:

    Gooo Grizzz!
    Grit and Grind is what wins championships, and we will win it all!

  16. Ryan B says:

    GO GRIZZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Grindhouse is ready for any and all teams that dare step into it.

    One (in my opinion) ridiculously impressive statistic that nobody seems to be mentioning is that the Grizzlies held the Miami Heat to just 12 points while forcing 10 turnovers in the first quarter of their game Friday in Miami. THAT is Grizzlies basketball. Blue collar, hustle, old school basketball. GRIT GRIND BABY!!!!

  17. kobe says:

    ONE TEAm u do not want to face come playoff time..scary team

  18. DANITo says:

    I THINK I GRIZZLES ARE THE ONLY TEAM WHO CAN BEAT OKC IN TEH CON FINALS. IF THEY MEET THEY CAN BEAT OKC EASILY IF THEY DONT HAVE INJURIES. LAKERS AND SPURS ARE TOO OLD TO CATCH UP. GRIZZLES GONA WIN IT ALL THIS YEAR. ITS GONA BE A SURPRISE. NO TEAM CAN MATCH WITH THEM CUZ THEY HAVE INSIDE AND OUTSIDE GAME. IF THEY ARE FULLY LOADED

    • Mike says:

      Easily…!You are dreaming on a daylight……

    • Mike says:

      For your information. This year OKC beat Memphis 3 out of 4. The last game wasn’t decided until OJ Mayo hit the three pointer at the last minute.

  19. ball86 says:

    i think the clue in this grizz is the balance. balance between back and front court and bench and starter players. In my opinion they have the deepest bench with the nuggest and one of the best lineup among w the OKC and LA, the only thing they can miss it’s a superstar, someone unstoppable. But even w/out that they could reach the finals and why not the ring.

  20. Mahmoud says:

    The grizzlies have been doing great ever since they got gilbert arenas, i knew it would be a good move, in ur face gil haters

  21. omi says:

    I’m a BIG fan of MEMPHIS and the team are getting ready for the playoffs.. sooner or later Z-bo would get on his feet and do some damege inside togehter with Marc Gasol… This is very LEATHAL a healthy Grizzlies team can make it to the Finals.

  22. Da'man says:

    yep…they beat the Thunder and the Heat, 2 of the top 5 teams in the league with their still recovering. This could be legit.

  23. SimplyMe says:

    Go Grizzlies! This is a team that I can see going really far in the playoffs. They are that team no know wants to face.

  24. grizzles are the truth i like z bo off the bench areanes is playing good off the bench and conley is playing good, gay for mvp hes been ballin all year, gasol man there deep and getting hot at the right time watch out in the wild west.

  25. Raul says:

    I’d like to see a Spurs-Grizzlies Western Conference Finals…I think they are the best TEAMS in the West right now.

  26. DefenseisthekeytoCHAMPIONSHIP says:

    A healthy Grizz is a great contender. They can play a great defense with Zach, Marc and Allen and with the help of Conley ofcourse. Not a big surprise if they reach the 2nd round in the PO

  27. SDF05 says:

    I am not a Big Fan of the Memphis Grizzlies,but i like how Gilbert Arenas still has his deadly 3-Point Shooting. Bring it on Memphis!!

  28. wells says:

    Completly agrree with the article, despite of the good relation between role players (rudy, conley,marc, z-bo,o.j.) i.m.o. the step forward to equilibrate the team that marc gasol had done during Zach absence (more shots more responsibility) and now with zach bach (less shots, minutes and protagonism) is the clue. I think everyones wants to see this grizzlies come through the PO

  29. Ivan says:

    I won’t argue, not with Z-Bo, Mayo, Gasol and Rudy Gay in the lineup. Add to that list Conley, Tony Allen Speights and Arenas … and h3ck yeah! The other W.Conf’ teams should be very afraid come playoff time. I’m pickin’ this Grizzlies outfit (stayin healthy) to definitely go 2nd Round.

  30. Peroul says:

    ‘For the better part of two years, the Grizzlies have been coping with one serious injury or another. But now, finally, they are becoming what fans barely dared dream they could be.
    No, Randolph isn’t yet the player he was at the end of last year. And Tony Allen has missed a couple games with a torn-up mouth.
    But all you have to do is look at what the Grizzlies are sending in from the bench these days and you’ll understand the potential of this team.’

    Why did you put that twice?

  31. Jon says:

    I’m on board! Hangtime Grizzlies!!