Last night’s 86-70 win over the Utah Jazz wrapped up one of the most eventful and successful regular seasons the Memphis Grizzlies have ever seen.  We saw ownership changes, record winning streaks, an ugly losing streak, blockbuster trades, and a ton of grit and grind over the past 6 months. My fellow bloggers and I from GrizzGrind put together this little season recap to cover some of the highs and lows from the franchise best 56-26 season.

 

Game of the Year

Jonathan: February 27 home win against Dallas, where the Grizzlies matched their largest comeback in team history by overcoming a 25-point deficit in the second quarter. This amazing comeback included an incredible 36-4 run bridging the second and third quarter.

Wes: 03/20 vs. OKC- In my opinion this is easily the game of the year, but unfortunately, it also took a couple of years off my life. After OKC took the lead in the 4th quarter and with time winding down, Jerryd Bayless hit a 3 to tie the game and eventually sent the game to OT, where Marc Gasol tipped in ZBOs miss at the buzzer to win the game. Also the quote of the year came shorty after Marc Gasols game winner in the post game interview. "I just tipped it and it went in. Shit."

HPS: January 11 v. San Antonio- This was two great teams playing at their best.  Tony Allen was at full-throttle, getting steals and running out in transition. Marc and Tim Duncan went at each other like two prize fighters, each giving as good as they got. Tony Parker executing with surgical precision (and hitting a ridiculous 3 to send the game to OT), Rudy Gay throwing down hammer-time bam bams that sent Manu Ginobli into convulsions.  Darrell Arthur knocking down shot after shot.  There truly was a playoff atmosphere in the building. The roof was busting at the seams the entire night and finally blew off when DA threw down a monstrous dunk to seal the game in OT.

 

Worst Loss

Jonathan: The most inexplicable loss is probably the loss at Washington. The most infuriating was the loss two weeks ago at the Lakers. The most painful is clearly the loss at home on April 13 to the Clippers, when we controlled our own destiny for home-court.

Wes: Phoenix. Pathetic display of grit and grind.

HPS: There were a few ugly ones to see: Phoenix, Washington, the 3-straight L’s by 20…but when you’re at home on the last weekend of the season playing the team your fanbase hates the most (by far) in a must-win for home court advantage and you only manage 14 points in the 4th quarter….

My blood pressure is rising just thinking about it.

 

Play of the Year

Jonathan: Gasol's tip-in to win the game in overtime against OKC. He just tipped it and it went in. Shit.

 

Wes: Marc Gasols absolutely ridiculous circus shot and-1 vs. Golden State. If you saw it you know what I'm talking about. Can you tell I reeeeally like Marc Gasol yet?

 

HPS: I started thinking about this and I really had trouble narrowing it down.  There’s Conley’s game-winner against the Spurs, Gasol’s tip-in against the Thunder, Tony Wroten pinning Kobe Bryant’s shit on the backboard (may have actually gone with this if I could find some better video), but I went with the Bayless block, Ellingthon 3 combination against the Heat in November.

 

I also wanted to mention Marc Gasol ‘s excellent footwork on the defensive end…

 

Bonehead Play of the Year

Yeah we don’t have to break this one down between the three of us.  This may be the dumbest play in franchise history.

 

 

Transaction of the Year

Jonathan: Has to be the Rudy Gay trade - we shed nearly $30,000,000 in future salary obligations, obtained an ultra-talented power forward for the future and got exactly the kind of complementary player we needed in Prince. Most of all, we don't have to watch Rudy Gay play basketball anymore.)

Wes: Bye bye, Rudy. Shed tons of payroll AND getting Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis, and Austin Daye in return was awesome. Also allows us to re-sign The Grindfather, Tony Allen, while having room to give him a small pay bump. PLUS, no more Rudy isolation plays! WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!

HPS: The Speights/Ellington/Selby trade for Jon Leuer.  It was the deal that led to the Rudy Gay deal. Plus it let me write this…

 

Grizz Killer of the Year

Jonathan: Jamal Crawford - in two of the three games we lost to the Clippers, their super-sub was their leading scorer and our bench unit had no answers

Wes: Kobe Bean Bryant. I feel like this should be someone I really hate that lit us up this year. Who fits that description better than Kobe? Although we took the season series 2-1, Kobe Bryant averaged 28 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal in the 3 games played against the Grizzlies.

HPS: Tony Parker.  In 4 games, Parker has averaged 25.5 points (two games with 30) and 6.5 assists on over 50% shooting.  He hits huge shots (see the 27 foot 3 to force overtime on January 11) and single-handedly keeps them in games when their senior citizens have to rest (see Grizz 92-90 win on April 1). He’s apparently the only Frenchie that doesn’t know the meaning of retreat (HEEEEYOOOO!!)

 

Grizzlies Tweet of the Year

This was really tough. The #GrizzNation Twitter goes hard to the paint.  I couldn't narrow it down to one so I went with my two favorites.

After Marc's game-winning tip against the Thunder...

During the last Grizz-Spurs game at the Forum...

Unsung Hero

Jonathan: Quincy Pondexter - the man has not been the same offensively since the knee injury, but worked hard to get back and has played outstanding defense against opponents wings all season. He doesn't get the credit he deserves. This may sound like blasphemy, but I am entirely at peace with the Greivis trade because of what Quincy brings to the team.

Wes: Quincy Pondexter, although he hasn't been the same since coming back from his knee injury, the guy worked his ass off in the off-season and has become a vital contributor to this team. QPON is what grit and grind is all about.

HPS: Jerryd Bayless. After looking lost for extended parts of the season, since the Rudy Gay trade Bayless has morphed into the player Grizz brass have been dying for the past two seasons.  He can come off the bench and bring instant offense plus his ball-handling ability can give Mike Conley a chance to breath.  Since the All-Star break, he’s averaging 11.4 points and 3.1 assists in 25 minutes per game.

 

Team MVP

Jonathan:  Mike Conley - slowly but surely, Conley has become a rock for this team. He has learned the NBA game and knows when to assert himself or when to distribute. His statistics on whole will never wow you, but the leadership he provides this team is priceless. Lost in the shuffle is the fact that Mike has quietly become a very solid defender at a position that offers real challenges every night.

Wes: Marc Gasol- While not putting up insane numbers (14 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal per game) Marc has had a sensational year and should make the All-NBA team and is, in my opinion, the front runner for Defensive Player of the Year. His basketball IQ is off the charts and his leadership on the court is invaluable. Not to mention he is the best passing big man in the league.

HPS: Marc Gasol.  I’ve gone back and forth between him and Conley for a week.  There are excellent arguments for each but I just can’t get passed Marc’s defensive numbers. Per NBA.com, the Grizzlies average 95.8 points per 100 possessions when Marc is on the floor, the best in the league. When he sits, that number rises to 102.8 points, barely above the league average.  His presence in the post lets Mike and Tony be so aggressive on the perimeter. Plus watching him direct the offense from the high post is pure basketball pleasure.

 

 

More Season Recap and Playoff Coverage Coming from GrizzGrind

-A Season in Twitter

-Through Enemy Eyes: How a Clippers Fan May View the Grizzlies

-Why I Hate the Clippers