Sixers fall in a brutally entertaining 15 round slugfest. A 100-103 loss to the Bump and Grind Memphis Grizzlies…
The GrowthPlates editorial staff got to watch this game in person, and in a credit to the home team’s effort level, the managed to generate a play-off like atmosphere in a half empty building.
Facing the toughest and nastiest team in the league, The Sixers doppleganger tendencies were on full display again as the usually soft and cuddly hometeam traded body blows with the burly Memphis line-up for 4 full quarters.
Coach Collins and Coach Hollins have been facing off for quiet some time…
Much to the consternation of Doug Collins, if they played this hard every night, they would win a lot of basketball games.
But Collins was proud of the effort nonetheless.
“I’m not disappointed in them, I’m disappointed for them. We played well enough to win that game, we just couldn’t finish it”
The game played out in distinct tripartite form
ACT 1: The Sixers Charge
The revamped starting line-up picked up where they left off against the Knickerbockers, completely on fire. The Grizzlies were caught flat footed on the 2nd night of a road back-to-back, with the Sixers exploiting the advantage by pushing the pace almost every possession
This gives you a sense of what the Sixers “offense” is probably supposed to look like, with A Young/Young dribble handoff leading to a drive to the rim.
Against the deflated Grizz D, the Sixers play for the first 6 minutes without missing a field goal, go 6 for 6 at the rim and drawing 7 free throw attempts ALL IN THE FIRST QUARTER. This staked them to an unbelievable 17 point 1st quarter lead.
This incredibly awkward dance party was the result…
ACT 2: The Sleeping Bear Awakens: Marc Gasol
After a reeming from Coach Hollins the Grizzlies are reminded that they are a bunch of bad S-O-B’s who don’t take lip from no one.
The Barcelona-born, Memphis-bred Gasol immediately took the fight to the Sixers bigs. First, bull rushing Lavoy Allen right back onto the Sixers bench and then delivering a stirring dissertation entitled “My Hook Shot, Myself…“. He could have charged tuition.
Conjuring visions of a young Arvydis Sabonis, Gasol scored on a bevy post ups, short set shots, and trips to the line (and, what the hell, a 3pointer while he’s at it). He goes for 14 points in the quarter as the Grizz climb all the way back to take a 3 point halftime lead.
ACT 3: Sixers Don’t Quit
Have just seen a 20 point swing in all of 15 minutes, and facing a clearly superor oppenent the Sixers could have easily packed it in. But one man was not going to let that happen.
Subbed in for a flailing and frustrated Spencer Hawes, the calvary arrived in the person of Kwame Brown, doing the one thing he is absolutely qualified to do:
Be really, really, big and push people.
Kwame, displaying his famous leadership, rallied his flagging comrades, confusing both teams by shouting “St. Crispain’s Day! These wounds I had on Crispain’s day!” as he met the mighty Gasol, and set the stage for 24 minutes of back and forth haymakers.
Kwame even recieved a mild ovation (I kid you not) from the Sixers crowd when he went to the bench at the end of the 3rd.
(Editors Note: he still has the worst hands in the league, really more like a pair of tongs than what you and I understand hands to be. This was most vividly demonstrating on an oncontested “tip” in the 3rd in which kwame punched the basketball into the air, missing the rim by a good 20 feet)
Sadly, the last blow was landed by Memphis pretty boy Rudy Gay, getting the game saving rebound and game winning putback with seconds to play
THE INDIVIDUAL BATTLES
Thad Young vs. Z-Bo
Thad Young submitted perhaps the defensive performance of his career, completely shutting down the dangerous “Dancing Bear” Zach Randolph.
Giving up 50lbs to one of the leagues best post scorers, what could Thad do?
Deny him the basketball. Young bedeviled the slower Randolph with a bevy a fronts and half fronts, slipping away from Randolph’s futile efforts to pin him down. Thad Racked up 4 steals and held Z-Bo to just 4 points while scoring 23 himself.
Rudy Gay vs Evan Turner
Both players had great lines, 26pts/7reb/5ast for Gay, 27pts/3reb/7ast for Turner, but the rebound edge for Gay would prove decisive in this contest.
Turner failed to box out on the game winning bucket, and (as usual) struggled to defend the taller Gay.
Here’s the game winner again, watch the Gay/Turner rebound battle unfold from the top of key…
Marc Gasol vs. Sixers Centers
This wasn’t close, Kwame Brown heroics not withstanding. Marc Gasol ran an absolute clinic, reminding hoops fans what the Center position used to look like in the NBA, scoring 27 points out of the high and low post.
While he was at it he racked up 7 assists and the game icing block on Nick Young.
Good Game. Tough Loss.
No moral victories, but if the Sixers played well enough to win, and if they keep it up, they might actually start winning.