Grizzlies Rocket to Another Comeback Win in Houston

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The Grizzlies were able to rocket to another comeback win in Houston. Memphis playing in the Toyota Center meant I was able to watch my team live for the first time since I moved to the Greater Houston area. It’s a whole new experience to be in another team’s house. Memphis has a unique brand of basketball on the court but it’s the fans that make the games. I realized that not only did I fall in love with the Memphis Grizzlies I also fell in love with the experience of being in the Grindhouse. There is truly no place like home, especially when home is Memphis. So, growl towel waving I was able to watch the Grizzlies claw their way back to a win against a top three Western Conference team and it was delightful.

The first half was tough to watch. Not only did Chandler Parsons get booed out of the building but Houston was taking the Grizzlies’ defense to town. The Rockets shot 58.3% for the first half and had scored 7 three-pointers. Memphis was down by 13 at the break and the Rockets had led by as many as 16 points. Marc Gasol was deferring to his teammates, Zach Randolph had only scored 1 bucket out of his seven attempts, and it would seem the Grizzlies weren’t going to pull this one out.

Then Tony Allen took over and there was a resurgence of Memphis’ defense. Houston would shoot 25% in the third allowing Memphis to outscore them by 11 points. Tony Allen went 5/5 leading the comeback. He would finish the night as the leading scorer with 22. He scored 14 of those points in the second half, including a nasty dunk he put away.

Tony Allen being the leading scorer is not always my favorite stat, but last night it was what made the game. Allen, the Grindfather, stepped up and led his team to a win.

My Favorite Stats of the Night:

– The Rockets shot 26.1% from the field for the second half. Memphis locked down on their defense and nothing else came easy for the Rockets.
– Troy Daniels shot 50% from the three-point line. He nailed all of his three’s in the second half, including a dagger with 26.1 seconds left in the game to send the Grizzlies up by 7. That shot was the final score of the game for Memphis. Daniels scored 13 points on the night.
– Zach Randolph also shot 50% from three! I don’t care that he only made one, he made one and any time Randolph nails a three it has to get some love.
– The Grizzlies shot 53.9% as a team by the end of the night.

My Not-So-Favorite Stats of the Night:

– Memphis struggled from the free-throw line, again. They only made 18 of their 27 attempts, shooting 66.7%. In tight games Memphis cannot continue to leave points on the court because of missed free-throws.
– Memphis gave up as many turnovers as Allen scored points. That’s 22 too many. The Rockets were able to score 17 points on those turnovers. I recognize it doesn’t have to be said but Memphis must take care of the ball.
– James Harden went to the line 14 times. I know, he gets the whistle, but I still don’t have to like it. He scored 13 of his 27 points from free-throws.

There is a running theme in Memphis. The team rises to the level of their competition and slacks off their competition in games they believe are easy wins. I love being the most clutch team in the NBA. However, Memphis is proving time and again that we have the weapons to be a contender. It seems that there is a level of acceptance rippling through the team that address this fault and I believe that they have the capability to change this cycle. As much as I would miss the heart stopping, hyperventilating inducing games it’s time for this team to be clutch from the minute they start to play.

Memphis hosts the Chicago Bulls tomorrow night for the 15th Annual MLK Jr. Celebration Game. The game will be aired on ESPN.

**Shout-out to and for the stats**

Tabitha Smith

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