In the first half of the game against the Utah Jazz, the Memphis Grizzlies were getting beaten at their own game. In the second half, the Grizzlies showed that they have the ability to claw back in the face of adversity and perhaps secure a decent playoff spot in the challenging Western Conference.
The Jazz big men Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter were dominating on the boards and racking up points against Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Trey Burke already had seven assists halfway through the second-quarter, and guys like Gordon Hayward and Richard Jefferson were contributing nicely in transition and from the outside. It looked like the Grizzlies just didn’t have what it takes to be a playoff team. They couldn’t handle the physicality of the Jazz down low, and everything they normally do right just wasn’t happening.
With consistently aggressive play from Mike Conley and Gasol, and clutch jumpers from Randolph, the Grizzlies stayed within striking distance. Then, they’re classic hard-nosed style of play finally clicked in, and we saw why the Grizzlies could easily make noise in the playoffs. In short, the Grizzlies are never out of the game.
It’s not really in the same way that other teams are never out of games, with the ability to score in massive bunches like the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers. With the Grizzlies, they have so many unorthodox ways of scoring, consistent defense and great rebounding. They never allow themselves to get too far out of reach no matter what the other team is doing.
To be honest, the Jazz should have easily won this game. Favors looked awesome down low, and Burke, although he was inconsistent, looked like a real point guard. The Grizzlies have the winning mentality and some other intangibles that keep them playing for the postseason. I don’t care who you are in the Western Conference; with the Grizzlies’ ability to keep you close and sneak up on you, I wouldn’t want to tangle with that kind of bear in the playoffs.