There was something primitive and cathartic about the whole experience. After the game, Tony Allen tweeted that it felt like Game 6. He was right. From start to finish, even when the Grizzlies jumped out to a double-digit lead, the game was tense. Every missed shot by Rudy Gay felt like vindication. Then, in a perfect storm of circumstances, Rudy Gay went all Rudy Gay and this time – thankfully – he was not wearing Beale Street Blue. I think we can all agree that watching Rudy go 0-for-3 with two turnovers and being blocked twice in the final 3:19 was nothing short of beautiful.
It is easy to look at the Raptors’ record and say this was a game we were “supposed” to win, or even “must” win. That superficial analysis ignores (a) how good this Toronto team has been since the trade and (b) how much emotion was involved for both teams. The Grizzlies desperately wanted to beat Rudy after his post-trade remarks. The Raptors desperately wanted to help Rudy show his former team what a mistake they made by trading him.
It was a great win, and starting the second-half 2-0 helps put more distance between the trade and this team. Now that it is over, I think the time has come for us all to stop thinking/worrying/talking about Rudy and obsessing over how he played each night. Now it is time to focus on the 12 men wearing Beale Street Blue and get ready for the playoffs. First things first: let’s pack out FedEx Forum and beat Orlando on Friday.
Grind on, Memphis.