Grizzlies Playoffs Blog Panel by GrizzNation: Part 5

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Game 5

Game 5

Part 5 of the playoffs panel discussion by GrizzNation starts now!!

1) What are your thoughts on the Game 4 loss?

Alec: I put the blame on Coach for this loss. I’m a CDJ fan but that bizarre line up he put out there with 8 minutes to go is still baffling me. Why on earth would you throw Jon Leuer out there when he hasn’t cracked the rotation in months? That is not a knock on Jon either, I like him and his game but he hasn’t been in the mix most of the second half of season and get thrown into the fire in the 4th quarter of a closeout game on the road. Made no sense to me. This was the turning point. We had a 10 point lead and Portland erased it and gave the crowd it’s second wind.

Elizabeth: I thought that the Blazers were going to come out with a vengeance with every intention of not losing again to the Grizzlies on their home floor in front of their fans. Who doesn’t want to save face on their own court? Well, the Blazers unfortunately made my prediction true. They showed up, especially Lillard and McCollum. Freed from the defense of Mike Conley, Lillard broke out with 32 points and 7 assists when he had previously in this series averaged 24 points and 3.7 assists. In Game 4 the Blazers were simply the more desperate team and they played like it.  

Kathy: We never found our rhythm in Game 4, partly because the Trail Blazers played better defense against us. Couple that with their outstanding offensive performances from players like McCollum and Leonard and our inability to force them to play Grizzlies’ basketball, and the outcome is not surprising. We rushed too much and settled for too many jumpers. We needed to settle down and focus, but it never really stuck. When we got into real trouble, our shots weren’t falling and theirs seemingly could not be stopped. We let them have a little room to breathe, to hope — and it killed us.

Jamar: I feel like Portland did what they had to do. We fought the best that we could without Conley, but it was hard. With Conley out of the lineup, Lillard knew that he could more aggressive and go to the paint. Conley could hang with Lillard off of screens. Tony is a great defender but he is slower than Lillard. So is Beno. Nick does a decent job at keeping Lillard out of the paint. But with Lillard scoring, that also caused him to get more engaged in the game. He passed the ball and got quite a few assists. Even with all of that being said, the Grizz still played well for the most part. Even after being down for most of the first half, they still fought back and even took a nice lead in the second half. But for some reason the offense became stagnant in the 4th, allowing Portland to go on a huge run to end the game. I know some fans want to blame the refs, but that was our game to lose.  A 10 point lead with 8 minutes to go, normally a team can go ahead and close out a game with that type of advantage. But Portland stepped up, made plays, and had a more balanced offense. Instead of Lillard and Lamarcus doing all of the work and others also stepped up. So while it is disappointing that we didn’t close the series out, Portland was playing for pride. In my opinion they threw their best punches on Monday night. I expect them to fight again tonight, but honestly the team doesn’t have a “why not us” mentality. They don’t believe that they can be the first team to come back from being down 0-3. Lillard said it in his interview. He said they don’t have a why not us mindset, but they do have pride. So I feel like this series will come to an end tonight.

Constance: I think we did not keep the pedal to the medal all the way to the end. This is the playoffs. No lead is safe. You have to play until 00:00. I’m a firm believer in that!

Jason: I was not very disappointed with the Game 4 loss considering Conley was out. The team played pretty well up until the end. Had Calathes made one of the few layups he missed it at the end, and had the Jeff Green foul been called on Batum, that game may have been completely different.

2) Which player or players need to step up in Game 5?

Alec: Zach and Marc need to both step up in game 5. They struggled in game 4 and I expect them to put the team on their shoulders and crush the Blazers at the Grindhouse!

Elizabeth: With Mike obviously being out for an indefinite time – #GetWellMike – our point guards have to step up. We know Beno is battling back from injury but we need him to continue to do what he does. We need Beno and Nick to lead the team in the best way that they are able. We are lucky to have capable backup point guards. The backup PG trashcan has been dismantled and all of GrizzNation should be ecstatic over that fact. We just have to bide our time until Mike gets back. We also need Courtney Lee to continue with the hot streak he has been on, Jeff Green has to get better both shooting and health wise (playing through back spasms cannot be easy), Zbo to find his groove, and the whole team to just continue to work together and trust each other until our floor general Mike Conley gets back.

Kathy: With Mike Conley out, everyone needs to step up. Hopefully, Z-bo will take the court in beast mode and we can get good numbers from the now-soaring Courtney Lee, Vince Carter, and Beno Udrih. We need our guys to communicate, execute good ball movement, and control the pace of the game. They can’t let the Blazers have even a moment of hope — and they certainly can’t let the Blazers get into their heads.

Jamar: We really need everyone to step up. Our starters, our bench, everyone. Conley is still out. So we need some extra scoring from somewhere. Lee has been having a good series. We definitely need our bigs to take over. Marc still isn’t shooting the ball particularly well, but in front of the home crowd, I feel like his touch will return. I can see Marc and Zbo combining for 60 points tonight. Our bench also definitely needs to step up as well. I’m fully expecting Green and Carter to have good games as well. This is a veteran team though. They know what’s at stake. Rest and getting ready to play Golden State…..or hopping on a plane and heading back to Portland facing a rejuvenated team. They don’t want that. So everyone will work together to close out this series tonight in the Grindhouse.

Constance: All of our players need to step up! We are down one of our core 4, but that won’t stop us from accomplishing our mission. The prize is the championship and we are focused on winning that! Courtney Lee played great in game 4. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol will definitely factor big time into game 5!!

Jason: I would like to see a strong effort from our bigs. They haven’t been terrible this series, but they haven’t been particularly great this series either. I would also like to see Vince Carter start getting more shots to fall.

3) Do you think the Grizzlies will close out the series in Game 5? Why or why not?

Alec: Absolutely expect a W in game 5. The home crowd will be live and our guys know that all the extra rest they can get before round 2 is valuable.

Elizabeth: I believe the Grizzlies know that they squandered an opportunity in Game 4 and will be out to avenge the loss. The conclusion of this series is inevitable in my mind…Grizzlies win and advance to Round 2. However, the longer the Grizzlies let the Blazers confidence grow, the tougher it will be for Grizz to finish this series. In order to finish Game 5 with a win, Grizz must play their brand of basketball (aggressive, tremendous defense, rebounds, second chance points, pounding the paint). If we play our brand of basketball, then we will be getting ready for Round 2 and Golden State on Sunday instead of having to go back to Portland. #GritGrindGrizz

Kathy: The Blazers will take the court with just as much intensity as they did in Game 4: They are still fighting for their very lives! We have got to exceed their intensity without getting jumpy or nervous. Focus and execution (one flows from the other, I believe) are critical for us. I do believe we’ll close them out tonight because Game 4 was such a sobering experience for our guys. With a passionate Grindhouse behind them and proper leadership on the court, I believe we can win tonight. Even if we’re in danger at some point during the game, we must remain calm and focused, executing the Grit and Grind like only the Grizzlies can!

Jamar: Yes I feel like the Grizz will close out the series tonight. They don’t want to fly back to Portland. Golden State is a fast paced team. Our guys know that one of the worst things we can do is allow this series to go on and on….and face a well rested Golden State team after we’ve only had a day off. Also the Grizz play really well in the Grindhouse during the playoffs. They are very hard to beat at home with the rowdy members of GrizzNation cheering them on! I expect the series to end tonight.

Constance: Yes!!!!! We know we need to close out this series, rest, and get ready to take on Golden State. The quest is still in full effect!! This is the road to the Championship!!! GO, GRIZZLIES!!!

Jason: The Grizzlies will definitely close out the series tonight. The Blazers have proven time and time again that they cannot win in the Big Mailbox. And I’d imagine the Grizz will have a great team effort that will ultimately equal a double-digit victory.


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