I’ve never been more proud of a team. Most people don’t like the NBA because they think it’s all about showboating, so it’s boring to watch. Well not my Memphis Grizzlies. They live their motto ALL HEART Grit and Grind. The Grizzlies have always been the underdog, but have made the playoffs the past six seasons. But this season it was particularly amazing Memphis made the playoffs at all because the Grizzlies were riddled injuries – and injuries to our best players.
In case you haven’t heard, the Grizzlies broke an NBA record this season because they had 28 different players on the roster. All Star Marc Gasol has been injured since the All Star break, All Star worthy Mike Conley has been injured the last two months of the season. Mario Chalmers who was backing up Mike Conley and was playing great went down with a month left in the season. And throughout Zach Randolph, Tony Allen and Chris Andersen all missed games with injuries. Before the injuries, the Grizzlies traded two of our starters. Memphis played with a rotation of D League players never giving the team time to really gel as a team, yet the Grizzlies gave it their all night after night.
The Memphis Grizzlies spent most of the season in 5th place, but fell to 7th place the last week of the season. So as a 7th place team, the Grizzlies had to play the 2nd place San Antonio Spurs who swept us in the first round of the playoffs. The Spurs blew the Grizzlies out the first two games in San Antonio, then the Grizzlies almost won the third game in Memphis but just ran out of steam in the last six minutes of the fourth quarter (both Zbo and Barnes in their late 30s playing more than 40 minutes each). The Grizzlies played great in the first half of game four in Memphis, but got blown out by the Spurs in the second half. Even though the Grizzlies were down by 20 about to get swept, the fans in Memphis gave them a standing ovation, cheering, and proudly holding their ALL HEART Grit n Grind growl towels. Matt Barnes said hearing those cheers was amazing like they were winning the game. Veterans Matt Barnes and Vince Carter played until the very end. Other veterans on other teams may have just sat on the bench not wanting to risk injury when there was no chance of winning, but not my Grizzlies.
Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger’s post game press conference sums up the ALL HEART Grizzlies …