I wanted to put this up in the meager time between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the playoffs, but was too bogged down. With a two-day break before Friday's Game 6 and coming off a rousing win last night in Los Angeles, let's take a moment to remember some of the high points of what was an eventful and thoroughly enjoyable regular season. I'll return with a Game 6 preview on Friday morning. Let me know what I missed:
Not a “moment,” but I couldn't find a clip of Tony Allen's extraordinary defense late in that home loss to the Pacers, which I wanted to use. So I'll lead off with this, Gasol adding to a Grizzlies' trophy case that already included a Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, and Sixth Man of the Year award.
9. Rudy Tracks it Down, and Throws it Down (vs. Spurs, Friday, January 11th)
Rudy Gay's massive contract and middling production necessitated a trade, and the Grizzlies have been better as a result. But that doesn't mean he didn't have more than his share of great moments. The best this season came in what I still think was the (regular) season's best game, a home overtime win over the Spurs.
8. Gasol to Allen, Pt. 1 (vs. Knicks, Friday, November 16th)
Watch closely and you can see Gasol visualize this play as soon as he crosses mid-court:
7. Z-Bo's 38/21 (vs. Suns, Tuesday, December 4th)
It looked like something of a mirage at the time. We didn't know. Now we know.
6. Sequence of the Season (vs. Heat, Sunday, November 11th)
Maybe the most celebratory homecourt moment of the regular season, with two newbies coming up big. Bayless tracks down Ray Allen in transition for a block at the rim, setting up a Wayne Ellington three — one of seven in the game — at the other end.
5. Gasol's Game-Saving Block (at Sixers, Monday, January 28th):
Nick Young exploited inattentive Rudy Gay defense to hit three three-pointers in about a minute in the Clippers' Game 1 comeback last spring. Young, now a Sixer, was about to do it again in this road game. But this time the DPOY wasn't having it.
4. Conley's Game Winner (vs. Spurs, Monday, April 1st)
The “my baby's all growns up” moment of the season.
3. “It Went In ... Shit.” (vs. Thunder, Wednesday, March 20th)
Gasol's game-winning tip, followed by the season's best post-game interview.
2. Gasol to Allen, Pt. 2 — The “Allen-Oop” (vs. Wolves, Monday, March 18th)
This is probably an unconventional pick to be so high, but I just love this pass from Gasol so much. It's incorrigible.
1. “Bust His Butt, Marc” (vs. Thunder, Wednesday, November 14th)
This was a multi-level event. First was Gasol putting Scowling Kendrick Perkins in the spin cycle for one of his best post-moves of the season, inspiring Zach Randolph's inaudible exhortation, “Bust his butt, Marc!.” Perkins, memorably, took umbrage with this, resulting in a plainspoken retort from Randolph: “I'll beat your ass.” It continued in the locker room, thankfully without real incident. Underrated bit: Gasol's faintly audible, plaintive, tsk-tsking “Zach!”