"...after Marc Gasol declined to attack Spurs' center Tiago Splitter with seven seconds to go"
That's the key for me. Mark Gasol is the DPOY, second all NBA team, former all star--yet he plays in a far too timid fashion and is deferential to a fault. Yes, he's a playmaker, but at some point, a player of his caliber needs to take it upon himself to be aggressive. And for God's sake, he needs to dunk the ball instead of trying these soft touches and floaters. We would've won the game right there.
But yes, one can't help but tip your hat to the Spurs, regardless of what team you follow. There is just such a contrast between the two teams in their mindset and late game execution.
Championship teams do a lot of things right, and 2 of those are keeping a lead, and hitting free throws. We failed on both ends, whereas SA didn't. We just have to learn from this and be better for next season. Maybe having JJ Redick will make a difference.
Finally, hate to beat a dead horse, but Herrington will know where I'm coming from when I say that all of this would have been completely different had we drafted Steph Curry instead of Hasheem Thabeet. I just can't purge that from my mind, as much as I try.
True, and what was most discouraging was the look of sheer hopelessness on Randolph's face.
Having said that, he had a poor gm 1 against the Clippers, not even that great in gm 2, and we all know how that turned out.
Zbo was terrible, but I think that he's done more than enough in the very recent past to earn a long leash before anyone talks about yanking him... they just need to make a few adjustments and get him the ball in better position.
Thanks for the summary. In looking for other positives, I am hoping that Hollins will recognize that Ed Davis can do good things on the floor, and hopefully that will mean more minutes down the road in this series.
In stark contrast, I think that this is the worst game I have seen from Darrell Arthur. It's not just his terrible fouls at inopportune times, nor his turnovers; he was the one who left Bonner open for 4 wide open 3's. To my recollection, he wasn't behind any screens or picks, it was just him not paying attention to one of the deadliest 3 pt shooters in the league. To me, that is unforgivable.
At least it can't get much worse...
I predicted it as well after seeing gm 1. But all I care about is the fact that we won. I remember the dark days of the 20 win seasons with Sidney Lowe. I remember the heartbreak as we flattered to deceive in being swept 3 times in a row. I remember the frustration of watching our players flounder under Fratello and the abyss that was Iavaroni's tenure.
Who would've thought we'd be here this soon? There is so much to say, but guys--and I'm speaking for many Grizz fans--all I want to do is take in the moment and soak this in...
I agree about Prince, but I still think that he really had some key buckets for us last night, and I love his poise and defense. Could he do more? Yes. But even the fact that he brings the ball up the court and relieves Conley from ball handling duties without committing turnovers is huge. But yes--I was yelling at Tay to shoot those threes as well.
I have also learned to respect the way Hollins handles TA. Yes, it'd be great to have TA on KD all gm long, but he would foul out early if that was the case, as mentioned above. I think that Hollins does a good job of a)rationing TA's time to allow him to play with maximum intensity without fouling out and b)switching up the defense on KD with equally tough and hard nosed QPon/Prince combos.
Finally, I too have no sympathy for Westbrook, as we have played short handed as much as anyone over the years. But I do get irritated when I read the Thunder blogs saying that this series would already be over if Westbrook was playing. We took 2 of 3 gms against OKC with Westbrook in the lineup.
I still can't get over the buzz of being at that gm last night... I honestly felt like we won the championship.
I agree that we tend to play down to teams, but in the playoffs we are up against the best of the best, so that's not as much of an issue. I think that Gasol explained yesterday the best, ie when OKC played small ball, the bigs had to provide extra help on the perimeter, which forced them out of position to box out and made it harder to secure the rebounds. That makes sense. Is it something that we will have to adjust for? Yes. But in this instance, I don't think that it's a sign of malaise within the team.
As for "choking", all you need to do is look at the free throws down the stretch and see how we handled ourselves with the game literally on the line in both gms 2 and 3 and you'll get your answer; if you think we choked, then you were watching a different game.
What distinguishes this team from others in the past, among other things, is that they have played enough with each other to trust their teammates, which has led to a clear sense of poise in the 4th quarter. We have come out pretty well in gms decided by 3 points or less, and have done well in the postseason in tight games as well. When it's close down the stretch, there always used to be a sense of impending doom amongst Griz fans, but now I think that there is a certain sense of confidence that we will execute and do what we need to do, and that if we lose, it won't be because we shot ourselves in the foot.
My biggest beef with the team has been free throws down the stretch, and we took care of that yesterday.
Thanks for adding some real depth to this question, Chris.
The way he adapted so well--despite his public reservations--to the Gay deal speaks volumes in my mind about how well he can adjust to different situations. That doesn't worry me. What does concern me is his astoundingly short leash with young players who are not allowed a chance to blossom. Wroten is a prime example, I think in this series in particular, he could really do a job on Fisher. But the example of Davis is the one that leaves me scratching my head. He has really shown potential to get the job done, but Lionel pulls him after the slightest of mistakes. I understand that he prefers experience, but he needs to balance that with shooting down the confidence of a promising player.
Regardless, let's attend to the business at hand and win gms 3 and 4.
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By Frank Murtaugh
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