The Grizzlies Playoff Blog Panel: Round 2

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The Memphis Grizzlies will take on the Golden State Warriors today in the Western Conference Semifinals. All Heart has collaborated with another group of fans from GrizzNation for their thoughts and input regarding the Grizzlies and this playoffs series.

Panel Introduction

Marico Sellers is a Memphis native who currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. His love for basketball began at a young age. His father and grandmother were huge fans of the Memphis Tigers. He grew up a Celtics fan but became an instant Grizzlies fan when they moved to Memphis. He joined the Air Force and was stationed in Japan when the team moved to Memphis. He said while he was in Japan,  “I was the only person rocking the old white/teal/black/red Grizzlies jersey.”


Jen Hawkins became a basketball fan after she saw Kobe Bryant on the Rosie O’Donnell Show. She started following the Grizzlies after they moved to Memphis. She didn’t become a true Grizz fan until the triple OT lost to OKC back in the 2011-2012 playoffs. It was her first heartbreak. She currently lives in Nashville and anxiously waits to relocate to Memphis to live close to her GrizzFam!!


D’Angelo DeBerry has been a Grizzlies fan since towards the end of Marc Iavaroni era. He’s also a season ticket holder and has a group on Facebook called The Grindhouse for Grizzlies fans.


Teresa Ulrich teaches elementary music for Shelby County Schools. She has lived in Memphis for five years (moved here for her job) and didn’t even know Memphis had a professional sports franchise.  She wasn’t really into sports, but quickly learned that Memphis loves its grit and grind. After watching her friends post selfies on Facebook from games in FedEx Forum for the last few years, she decided at the beginning of this season it was time to take the plunge. She said, “This was the best first season I could have asked for.”


Cary Calkins is a big time Grizz fan. He became a fan in 2010 when he moved to Chattanooga from Austin, Texas. He was a long time Jazz fan during the Sloan era. He eventually fell in love with the Grizz.”Woooooappppp”


Tristy Miller occasionally writes for Grizzly Bear Blues. She’s a college kid living in GA and has been a Grizz fan for almost 7 years (born in Tennessee). Mike Miller is her cousin and according to Tristy, [this part may or may not be true].


Robert Sternburgh has been a Memphis Grizzlies fan since day 1 and a season ticket holder for 4 years now.

Katee Forbis is a super Grizzlies fan. She can be found talking about her team on Twitter as NBKay. She’s one of Tony Allen’s biggest fans. Katee said “I do my best to represent GrizzNation on Twitter and in my everyday life. When I love something, I love it with everything that I am. The Memphis Grizzlies are no exception. This team has my heart forever.”

Panel Discussion


1) The Grizzlies took care of the Blazers 4-1. What surprised you about that series? 

Marico: The only thing that surprised me was that we didn’t sweep the Trailblazers. I just knew we were going to beat them 4-0 and we almost had it but lost a little steam down the stretch in game 4. We played our style of basketball and when Conley was injured and the other guys stepped up.


Jen: The series in general? Nothing. I expected Grizz to lose at least one in Portland.


D’Angelo: Two things come to mind when I reflect on that series.  1.) We would no longer worry about Conley’s ankle after game 3 since he took an inadvertent elbow to the face that literally broke it and required him to have surgery to fix it. 2.) Lillard (the guy that went on a pouting spree after being left off the all-star selection team) would be so ineffective in this series. Also I want it to be noted that the 2nd year player CJ McCollum almost single handedly won game 5 for the Blazer with a Reggie Jackson like performance that reminded Grizzlies fans of game 4 last year against OKC.


Teresa: I had so much fun watching the explosion and power in the first games of Round 1. The Grizz played with the same intensity that won key games of the first part of the season, like the first game against the Warriors, the triple-overtime victory over the Spurs, the wrestling match against OKC, and the grind it out win over Atlanta in the Forum.


Cary: Not really surprised, we were in control from the get-go. Marc was dominating. C Lee and Beno (Bueno!) stepped up big time on offense.


Tristy: Much of nothing as the beat up Blazers allowed the Grizzlies into often-comfortable situations. Pinpointing something in particular, the biggest surprise(s) was the struggles of Zach Randolph and Jeff Green. With both struggling offensively — both stupidly settling for jump shots instead of using their strengths — the Grizzlies suffered from it offensively. Going against a better offensive AND defensive team in Golden State, this can’t happen, especially if Mike Conley misses games. If so, it could be a short series for Memphis.


Robert: What surprised me the most about the Blazers series is how Courtney Lee just seemed to flip a switch! He struggled the second half of the season, but that series he really turned it on and made great stop and pop, non-hesitation shots, and most of them went in!


Katee: How well Beno played in some of the games surprised me. Not because I didn’t think he was capable, but I guess I was just so focused on what Mike Conley could do in the series. So Beno was the refreshing surprise.


2) How well do you think the Grizzlies will do in the upcoming series without Mike Conley? Why?

Marico: I think we will play well and compete with Golden State but I think it will be difficult to win the series without Conley. Conley is the general of this team. This core has been together for what 6 years now. Conley knows how to play with Gasol, Randolph, and Allen. Mike knows when to push the tempo and when to slow it down. He is quick on defense and puts pressure on the other teams point guard. Mike makes everyone else play better when he is on the floor.


Jen: I will be shocked if we are without Mike for more than one game. He’s too tough and competitive to sit out any longer than what is absolutely necessary.


D’Angelo: There is no question this team is at its best when Mike Conley is healthy and running the show along with ZBo, Marc and Tony. Mike being out leaves a huge void on offense and defense. Luckily the Grizzlies have 2 capable backup PGs (Beno & Nick Calathes) but without Mike I just don’t think we have enough containers for the Splash Brothers. Unfortunately, I think we lose in 6; but, I’ve been wrong before and let’s hope this is one of the times.


Teresa: The series will be tough. They are tough to guard, and Mike Conley is a key to success for our defense (and offense) against the Warriors. I hope he comes back swiftly, but health and rest absolutely first; perhaps the extra rest will give a boost to his right foot? That said, I remember our younger Grizz players putting up quite the performance in the fourth quarter of the last match. Can anyone say #FreeJordanAdams and #Russdiculous? Anything is possible.


Cary: The Grizzlies have to get one without him. The Grizz were 9-5 without Conley in the regular season. Hopefully he can go in game 2!!


Tristy: It won’t go well unless they can find a pair Potara earrings (DBZ reference FTW) to fuse Beno Udrih and Nick Calathes before the game this afternoon. While Udrih can provide offense, he 1) may still be nicked up from injury and 2) can be a liability on defense. And while Calathes can stick with Curry or Thompson on defense, he can be a liability on offense when he’s in the game for long periods of time for lack of scoring and lack of spacing. Against the second best offense in basketball, long spells without points is a death wish.


Robert: Obviously this Warriors series will be grueling even WITH a healthy Mike Conley! I think we have, and will continue to miss our floor general. However,  superb play from Beno and C Lee and even the now 3 point happy Nick Calathes helped to take up the slack vs the Blazers and that trend will have to continue as long as Mike Conley is out.


Katee: I’ve already seen game 1, so it’s probably easier for me to say that I think we are going to struggle. Why? The Grizzlies offense just doesn’t run the way it should when Mike isn’t there to lead it. I also think the starters have so much confidence and trust in Conley, and when he’s not playing, it also becomes a mental hurdle to try and get over as well.


3) Finally, what are your thoughts for the Grizzlies/Warriors match up? Prediction

Marico: I think that Gasol and Randolph will be big in this series against Green/Bogut/Speights. I see C. Lee continuing his hot streak of 66% shooting. I think we will get a bit more from Vince and he will surprise us all. I also think coach should play Russ and Adams in short spurts and their main objective is to play relentless tough defense on Curry & Thompson and if they foul out no problem just wear them down and frustrate them and throw them off their game and just wear them down.

We don’t want Curry and Thompson getting into any type of rhythm. Adams and Russ are quicker than Calathes and Beno. Who knows it may work out? But I don’t think coach will give it a try unless Beno is not better with the ankle issue. I am a diehard Grizzlies fan so with the amount of days in between games I hope Conley will be back for game 3 in Memphis and spark the team and Memphis wins in 7.


Jen: I have no predictions for this series. The Warriors are extremely good and play at a much faster pace than the Grizzlies. Grizz are gonna have to play their very best ball to be competitive. No one wants to hear it, but I think a lot of Grizz fans are overly confident about our chances. But I sincerely hope I’m wrong.


D’Angelo: It’s going to be a huge clash of styles since GSW likes to get up and down the court and shoot when they cross the half court line. The Grizzlies, however, like the slow grind it out pace and like to feed our 2 all-star big men in the post and let them go to work. What makes GSW so dangerous is that they can score at will and also stop you from scoring on the other end. As I said early I believe, the Warriors will end up winning this series in 6 games barring injury.


Teresa: Warriors in 6. They aren’t at the top of the league for no reason. Steph Curry is a top candidate for MVP for a reason. I can respect that. But you can bet the Grizzlies will not make it easy for them, especially if Mike is able to return sooner rather than later.  Even if every logical brain cell tells me the Warriors will be victorious in this round, my heart still screams, “BELIEVE!”


Cary: Grizzlies in 6 or 7…Our 3 headed/hearted bigs have to beast an d feast and we just got to stop their trey jackin’ jive to an extent. Steph Curry will probably get his; either he and/or Klay have to be contested…Go GRIZZLIES !


Tristy: As I’d like to be optimistic going into this series, this is a rare moment where the Grizzlies will have to prove me wrong, especially if Conley misses the first two games. Without Mike, everything that typically goes wrong — ZBo playing poorly, Jeff Green being Jeff Green, Vince Carter being Vince Carter, Calathes struggling on offense, etc. — would have to go right and given the odds, that may not be in Memphis’ favor. With Mike, it’s a different discussion, but I won’t change my tune on this series in that regard until I see Mike on the floor. So I guess I’ll go with my mind: Warriors in 5.


Robert:  I believe this match-up with Golden State will not be the blowout that the national media is predicting. I believe that Memphis will however have to get better play from our one area where we have a clear advantage… our bigs! Our whole offense should run through Marc and Zach. Pound that paint until the Warriors are beat up down there.

Tony Allen will have to be aware of the Warriors ability to spread the floor and stick to Curry and/or Thompson like super glue. This series instead of just turning the water off, they need to burn down the entire water company! It would also really help if Vince Carter could be Vince Carter and give us some type of threat from long range. I will predict Grizzlies in 7! It may just be that it’s against some personal law to choose against my team but I really feel as if Golden State will eventually die by the 3 and our slow, methodical play will throw the Warriors offense out of sync and Zach and Marc will dominate in the post. Lord I hope so!


Katee: Grizzlies in 7 games.

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